Thursday, November 15, 2018

Note:  Before I tell you more about Loja below, here's a link to the book documenting my first three years in Ecuador -- the first was in Cuenca and the rest in Loja.  The book was originally to share what we endured to get our residency visas, but since that took more than three years, it ends up explaining much about how things are in Ecuador for a North American building a new life here.  If you want to check it out, you can see the book on Amazon by clicking here

All About the City of Loja

(all pictures below taken in the city of Loja)

Loja, Ecuador, in the southernmost mountain province of this amazing, diverse and extraordinary country, is a city of magnificent beauty.  In recent years it has been promoted tirelessly by organizations that cater to expats as a great retirement location for people from the U.S. and Canada. This has caused much confusion and difficulty for some who have believed the things they were told.  Almost everything I find written in English about Loja in books and on the internet is incorrect or at best misleading.  Much of what is written appears to be from people who have never even been here. 

As a North American living in Loja, a city which so far has no North American expat community*, I was getting so many questions about Loja that it was taking more than 40 hours/week to respond to everyone.  I am not retired and still need to work to support my family, so this added time commitment was quite a strain.  So, I started a Facebook page with the hope that instead of answering the same questions repeatedly, I could answer each one time and then it would be archived for the hundreds of others who came next needing the same answers.  On that page there are many hundreds of hours of postings of information, so for those of you interested in learning more about Loja it may help you tremendously to join and scroll through months (or years) of postings (or you can search by topic with varying success depending largely on how well the Facebook search engine is working on any given day).  There are also many pictures there of the city.  Clicking here should get you to the page.

* Please click here for a discussion of the presence, or lack thereof, of North Americans in the city of Loja.

You can also check out the Frequently Asked Questions page and a Misconceptions About Loja page.

For those interested in Vilcabamba and/or Malacatos, that is a completely different story.  (These towns are in the PROVINCE of Loja but not in the city.)  There is much good information on the internet about Vilcabamba as well as a plethora of Facebook groups, due to the large expat population living there.  There is much less on Malacatos, but it has a climate (weather-wise) similar to that of Vilcabamba and a small (but growing) expat community.

Those who truly want to see the prettiest parts of Ecuador (whether you are currently living in another part of the country or on a different continent…) should strongly consider a visit to the city of Loja.  But to really experience it you’ll need to get away from the very urban part of the city, which is much easier to do in a private car.  A taxi driver could take you if you spoke Spanish and knew where to ask to go.  For those wanting help with translation or just wanting a tour of the city, there are facilitators you can hire for this.

Ecuador, while small in size, is tremendous in diversity.  If great restaurants, a vibrant nightlife scene and/or beautiful historic buildings are your thing, you will find a lot more of that in Cuenca and Quito.  Guayaquil, the country’s largest city, also has an energetic nightlife and many beautiful and interesting areas along with a tropical climate. If you are looking for a warm beach, Ecuador has a long beautiful coast line with a variety of options from towns with lots of activity to small, out of the way ocean front villas that offer great tranquility.  And if trekking through green jungles or paddling remote rivers is your thing, you may want to consider Ecuador’s Amazon region.  Loja is a great city for those who crave natural beauty, incredible parks, hiking opportunities everywhere, sunsets, rainbows, and peaceful rivers in a cool and often rainy climate.

Wherever you end up, may you find your perfect haven and live your days and nights in peace and joy.

Looking for more photos of the city of Loja?  This page has 14 photos and this one has some nice ones as well.  Just scroll through the posts to see the pictures. Added in June 2016 is another post with 14 more photos of Loja including more pictures with people in them (as most of the photos on these pages are scenery pictures...).

Need help moving into or out of Ecuador?  Journeyman Jack has a business that can get you to or from Quito (or anywhere in Ecuador) and help you with whichever details you need.  See his website here.