Vilcabamba is known as the Valley of Longevity- supposedly there are multiple residents here aged at 120 years. Whether or not that’s true, it is a stunning valley full of hiking trails and georgous backpacker resorts. By deciding to come here we agreed to splurge a bit. Where as we ususally look for hostels in the $5-8/person range, the Vilcabamba hostels run closer to $10-14/night. But if you could only see this place! It’s called Izhcayluma, which means two hills in Quechua (indiginous language of Andes). We are about 2 kilometers from town, perched on a hill with beautiful views of the valley. Laying in the hammock on our balcony, we look out into untouched arid hillside, chock full of birds. We even saw a lemur pass by yesterday. Today we went hiking around the valley, following the irrigation channel which carries fresh, mineral rich drinking water straight from the mountains. We tiptoed past dozens of cows (they didn’t seem to mind us, but we tiptoed anyway- nothing like a gigantic pregnant cow with big horns staring you down from one foot away…), bannana tree crops, sugar cane fields, and so many beautiful birds. We chose one of the easiest hikes, listed on the first page of our hostel provided guide book. It claimed, “Losing the trail is extremely difficult, though not impossible.” We lost it. We must have been distracted by our attempts at scaling the cactus studded mountainside in order to keep a good few feet between us and the cow horns because somehow we missed the dang Iron Gate that was to signal the turn off point. Eventually we found our way to the main road, but we had just about doubled the length of our intended hike. Oops. =) In a few more days we’re off to Peru.