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Vilcabamba Glimpse #68

Six Years in Vilcabamba, Ecuador

I first came to Vilcabamba in June 2005 to look for a home. As it turned out, I purchased Hacienda San Joaquin (HSJ) which was an overgrown 660-acre hacienda at an elevation of 5,000 feet in Ecuador's Andes Mountains. After considerable planning, the extraordinary physical transformation of the hacienda began in late November 2005. My work at HSJ has been non-stop since then. As such, my experience within Vilcabamba has been and continues to be unique. Almost all of my time is spent at HSJ to fulfill my varied responsibilities as its developer and as a designer and builder of many custom homes and other facilities. Since I moved to Ecuador in 2005, I have been out of the country less than two weeks. One of those weeks was for my honeymoon. I married a lovely Ecuadorian woman, Susana Rojas, in 2009.

Most of our properties at HSJ have been sold. Our owners are from all over the world. What they have in common is a desire for a healthy life in an extraordinary setting that possesses one of the world’s best climates. They also seek to maximize the value from their funds in the purchase of their properties and in their day-to-day expenses. One can build a very high-quality home here for a fraction of what it costs in the First World. Land prices are not cheap but are far less expensive than comparable properties in the First World. While the majority of our properties have been sold, we still have beautiful properties and re-sales available. Many say HSJ is the finest development in Ecuador.

Downtown Vilcabamba is about a 10-minute drive from HSJ’s entrance. The town is a busy place on weekends as many Ecuadorians from nearby Loja, 24 miles away, visit. Numerous Lojanos have weekend homes in Vilcabamba to take advantage of the beauty and especially the climate which is far superior to Loja’s. Susana and I often have lunch in Vilcabamba on Sundays. Delicious meals in a variety of restaurants are inexpensive. Fruits and vegetables are abundant in the markets in Vilcabamba and even more so in Loja. A large avocado costs about 35 cents. Mangos are about the same. Two dozen roses cost about three dollars. The year-around favorable climate in Vilcabamba enables those who are so inclined to grow a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and flowers.

Because of the climate and low cost, living is easier here than in many other places in the world. The climate is perhaps the most remarkable feature. There is no need for heating or air conditioning. One dresses lightly during the day and sleeps with a blanket at night year around. It’s very green here for about six months when there are regular rains, mostly in the evening, and less green for the other six months. The temperature remains constant throughout the year. The sun varies only 15 degrees as we are not far from the equator. There is no daylight savings time. Everything remains fairly constant. It’s healthy. People live longer if they take advantage of what is here. It’s another era in Vilcabamba, more like the way it was in the 50s in the United States. Ecuadorian are warm people. Their lives are centered around their families.

Best, Joe
Joe Simonetta
Hacienda San Joaquin
Vilcabamba, Ecuador
In Ecuador: 09 119-1758
From the United States: 011 593 9 119-1758

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