Descanso del Toro LIVE MORE THAN A HUNDRED YEARS ENJOYING IT Texto y fotos: László Károlyi * Visit Descanso del Toro´s website by clicking on the logo It is said that at present, an average individual receives more information in a day than what a person from year 1800 received in his whole life. Ecuador has the privileged virtue to hold geographical areas where its inhabitants enjoy great health and longevity, as is the case of the Vilcabamba Valley, famous worldwide for its quality and life expectancy, located at a moderate altitude, with temperate climate and, above all, natural sources of water with alkaline properties that apparently not only prevent many diseases, but also, in combination with other geographical and climatic factors, lengthen the life of its inhabitants. In different trips made to this magical valley I have been able to chat with some of the oldest of its inhabitants, and it is surprising the physical activity that they deploy. Among many anecdotes I remember that while talking with the youngest elder I met, we walked through a beautiful coffee plantation, and on a nearby hill we saw a person who with great vigor carried a thick wooden trunk. I asked who that man was, and my friend told me “it’s my father, he’s 100 years old”. Of course the lifestyle to follow is one of an integral physical activity, where all muscles and body parts are used daily, avoiding peaks of effort or peaks of sedentary moments, emphasizing high consumption of water and long hours of pleasant sleep, in a geographical context in which the noises at night lull us like the stories that our mothers used to tell us at bedtime. This is the scenario at the beautiful hotel Descanso del Toro, which has 25 beautifully designed suites, equipped with oceanic Jacuzzis and privileged views of the stunning landscape of the valley. The hotel’s Spa is definitely in a category of its own since it holds one of the largest and most beautiful gardens of any hotel in the country, plus cabins for massages from which you can enjoy the incredible landscape while you listen the birds sing and enjoy flower aromas. Horseback riding through the countryside to the banks of the rivers in the Vilcabamba Valley is undoubtedly a unique experience that transports us to another dimension; one in which time suddenly stops and everything is so fantastic that it seems surreal. The Valley’s foreign residents come from all over the world and include astronauts, poets and film actors, who narrate personal anecdotes that go from UFO sightings to conversations with creatures from other planets. Definitely, the level of rest and physical recovery that one perceives after spending a few days in this charming place is amazing. Four types of craft beer of the highest quality are made here, plus a gastronomic proposal nourished by local products that are organically grown and irrigated by natural spring waters that are found only in Vilcabamba, complete a most wonderful experience.