Vilcabamba, known as the “Valley of Longevity” in Ecuador, is a destination that attracts travelers in search of the serenity of nature and unique experiences. Among the numerous wonders that this region offers, the 30-meter waterfall of “El Palto” stands out as one of the most popular excursions, for those looking for a different activity on foot or on horseback.
Starting the adventure towards El Palto
The adventure begins taking as a reference point the Vilcabamba tourist office (on Diego Vaca de Vega street, right in front of the Central Park), from this point travelers can undertake this exciting experience heading east to Yamburara high in the valley of the Yambala River. The 4 km walk from this point provides stunning views and an unrivaled experience of the natural environment surrounding Vilcabamba.
For those wishing to optimize their time and energy, a convenient option is to take a taxi (around $3) that will take you directly to the trailhead at Upper Yamburara. This approach offers a faster and more convenient alternative, especially for those who prefer to avoid a vehicular path that can become very dusty.
On the route to El Palto waterfall
The beginning of the trail is easily recognized by a concrete bridge over the Yambala River and a sign indicating the Podocarpus National Park.
The scenic beauty provides the framework in which this exciting adventure will unfold. Following a well-defined path, hikers must advance upwards to the crest of this first mountain in a section that can be advanced in approximately 15 minutes, and another 30 minutes to reach a green metal gate (an important point on the path), At this point you should take the path that branches to the left, not the steep path to the right.
The Beauty of “El Palto”
The journey continues through fields, passing through farms, streams and picturesque landscapes before reaching the majestic El Palto waterfall, the peak of this unique experience.
Connection with Podocarpus National Park
While you enjoy the magnificence of “El Palto”, do not forget the intrinsic connection of Vilcabamba with the Podocarpus National Park, with a clear example of what the Birds of Vilcabamba and their interrelationships due to the proximity of the Park.
This park, with its lush biodiversity and unique ecosystems, is a natural treasure worth exploring. Its trails offer the opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich flora and fauna of the region, providing a fascinating contrast to the waterfall experience.
Exploring Alternative Options and Additional Tips
It is essential to remember that the return route must be followed by the same route, as the alternative hike down and across the Yambala River is considered very difficult and dangerous, and it is recommended that this be reserved only for people with climbing skills.
The safety of adventurers is a priority, and following the same route back guarantees a safer and more pleasant experience after enjoying this spot in the Sacred Valley of Vilcabamba.