The Vilcabamba Valley rises from 1600mts to the highest peak in the Podocarpus National park at 3700mts, a rise in elevation of 2200mts. in just 15km′s.
Set in the middle of a spectacular mountain bowl "Las Palmas" cloud forest reserve borders and forms part of the Podocarpus park.
Hidden trails explore choicer parts of the preparamo or midrange cloud forests and lead to various waterfalls.
An ancient trail, frequented by animals crossing the Cordillera, leads up to one of Vilcabamba's "sacred lakes" providing the only natural and undestroyed access to the Podocarpus National Parks Lake & Paramo regions from Vilcabamba.
Over 160 species of bird have been recorded on "Las Palmas" cloud forest reserve. In equal abundance is the flora & fauna, with many endemic species. Orchids abound.
While animals are generally shy and difficult to see, sightings of the rare and endangered Spectacled bear, ocelot, puma, coati and pudu deer have been made on the reserve. The Tapir, though leaving ample sign's, remains elusive. Las Palmas provides a safe haven for these and an undocumented number of other mammals.
By visiting Las Palmas you are helping the natural resources of an area to be used in a sustainable way, so that they remain intact for the benefit of future generations. Visitor fees help contribute to the continued existence of the reserve.
As the first pioneering ecotourism project of it′s kind in Vilcabamba, Las Palmas has prime location and access to the Podocarpus National Park.
Located in the least disturbed and most biologically diverse part of the Vilcabamba valley, the reserve has been providing a bufferzone for the neighbouring park for the past 25 years, effectively closing the area to hunting, wood cutting and further destruction of the forest and helping protect the Vilcabamba watershed.