Tuesday, July 25, 2017


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.

19 comments:

  1. What a great and informative entry! Thank you! My wife and I may retire to Ecuador. This is one of my favorite accounts of Loja.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great idea Diana.. you should be hired by the city for all you do to be sure folks are well informed and not surprised by the inconsistent information regarding Loja

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you LifelongLearner! Check back soon as there are more pages coming!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Congratulations Diana. Great job. You are the ambassador of the city.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you La Gringa for all of the lovely fotos.

    I will be visiting / touring Loja next week with a first time EC visitor and hopefully future expat.
    I hope to meet some of the Loja Expat community while there if possible,

    All the Best,
    Journeyman Jack

    ReplyDelete
  6. It was great meeting you and your visitor, Jack! I hope you got to see some of the amazing natural beauty here in our city before heading back north. Best of luck in your journeys and we'll see you next time you're in town.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Muchisimas gracias, la gringa de loja, for your informative-and informal-posting about your city. Yours was one of the few that gave me a genuine picture of Life in Loja, and of yourself, of course. I have traveled all over Central and South America in search of a retirement home, one which did not involve a walled community of gringos in Costa Rica (a grossly overvalued destination) and Peru and find myself returning to Ecuador once more, but not an overwhelming city such as Cuenca, nor an overheated swamp such as Guayaquil (I already possess that here in Florida). I want to be in the mountains where the days are balmy and the nights cool, in a community small enough so that I can become part of their society (I speak fairly good espanol), yet one where my limited but steady income can afford me a comfortable life. Loja sounds enticing, and I am grateful for your informed commentary. If you can recommend other sites with more information, please tell me, but I am sure you are already overwhelmed with requests.
    Thank you once more, La Gringa, y
    Saludos de Florida
    Scott Mock

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your message Scott and I am happy you are finding the information here helpful. If you are coming from Florida you may find the city of Loja to be pretty chilly. We are from Colorado and we are much colder here than we were there, partly because there's no heat in the homes and buildings and partly because it is so humid so you really feel the cold. Loja is insanely beautiful, so some of us put up with the cool wet weather to see that beauty everyday. But if you want a small city with balmy daytime weather and cool nights and no obvious gringo community, you may want to check out Paute and/or Gualaceo about 45 minutes east of Cuenca. Other options would be Malacatos, about 30 minutes south of Loja -- much warmer and drier than Loja and not many gringos -- or Yunguilla Valley, about an hour south of Cuenca, or the towns in the valleys east of Quito which are a fair amount lower elevation than Quito and thus with very pleasant climates. Also Ambato which is even bigger than Loja (so, big with over 200,000 people...) which is about 2 hours south of Quito in the mountains. The best is just to come and try it all out to see what works best for you!! Good luck!!

      Delete
  8. Thank you so much for the well-written, informative, and faithfully-honest account of life in Loja. Accurate information on the city has always been hard to come by.

    Loja was one of my first stops in Ecuador, and on that very first day, we met a group of friends who welcomed us in for drinks, and even took us to a Pueblo Nuevo concert the following night. Over the following five years, we met some fantastic people, and continued to love the town.

    But we were a small minority, expat-wise.

    I did tours for a while, for potential expats who were interested in moving to Ecuador. During that time, almost no one was interested in Loja. At that part of the trip, travelers wanted to either move on to Vilcabamba, or return to Cuenca.

    For a small minority (who speak Spanish and truly can integrate), Loja may indeed be the perfect place in Ecuador. But for the other 98%, it probably won’t be what you’re looking for.

    Well done!

    Lee Harrison

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment Lee. I'm so glad you've had great experiences here in Loja. I've seen many North American expat retirees try to settle in Loja only to leave a year or two later and many struggled greatly while here. Most expats are much happier in a place with other expats to talk to and do things with. There's no shame in that. People from all over the world seek out those who came from the same place when they get to the new place. The city of Loja is insanely beautiful, though, so I hope people will continue to visit and get to know the city a bit, especially the parts away from the more urban areas where you can really see the natural beauty.

      Take care, Lee, and may you find happiness wherever you go.

      Delete
  9. Hello, I appreciate all the information here! I do have a question related to Internet speed (s) in Loja. We do IT work online and need at least 25mbps up/download. Is that available in Loja? Thanks in advance for any help/info.

    All the Best,
    Heather & Jeff

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Heather and Jeff, It's possible that in the future Loja will have those kinds of internet speeds. Supposedly they are currently installing fiber optic cable in the more urban parts of the city, but these projects can take years, and, well, I'll believe it when I see it. For now the places in Ecuador with (relatively) fast internet are in and around Quito, possibly in Guayaquil and parts of the coast. Oh, and it seems internet options in Cuenca have also improved considerably in recent years. Best of luck to you!

      Delete
  10. Do you have recommendations for a doctor that specializes in hernias? At least we think that may be the need...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Suzanne, so sorry to hear you or a loved one may have this medical need. In Loja, the best chance of finding a great doctor for this will be at the San Agustín clinic. They have very good doctors and will be able to get you the care you need. They are on Calle Azuay at 18 de Noviembre. There's a second entrance on 18 de Noviembre next to the Zerimar. Best of luck to you.

      Delete
  11. Thank you very much for your information, especially the misconception pages. I've read writing by Laura Lee in International Living communication and I've chatted with her a bit, and I don't mind cool evenings, but after a lifetime in Seattle and now 5 years in Los Angeles, I don't think I want that humidity and wet as much as you're reporting in Loja, especially based on climate change. I'm pretty adaptable, too, and am TEFL certified, so that's how I really found you, your teaching English in Loja page. Anyway, I've made notes on what you've said in comments regarding climate and probably will stick closer to Quito or Cuenca. I love the idea of the City of Music and blending in with the local population, but for my first foray into Ecuador it's probably not practical. We're not retiring yet (we're 48) so will be working online or I will teach English if I need to for visa purposes. But we want to retire there or someplace like it. Thanks for all the information. --Wendy Hughes-Jelen

    ReplyDelete
  12. Everest Base Camp Trek is one of those journeys that create your vacation dreams return true. Hiking on the legendary foothills just under the mighty Mount Everest 8848m with exciting views of the master peaks will solely be found within the Everest Region. This celebrated trek is thought worldwide for its trailblazing routes & the landscapes speak to your senses. On this trip you furthermore Mera peak out at the celebrated Kala Patthar (5,600m/18,373ft) read purpose for a few grand direct views of the very best mountain in the world. Everest Base CampTrek additionally includes different celebrated eight thousand peaks like Mt mountain peak (8,516m /27,940ft), Makalu (8,485m /27,838 ft) Cho-Oyu (8,201m /26,906ft). The culture of this specific space is of nice notebook stuff & interacting with the native of us puts a lot of zest into your venturesome journey as you walk through the Khumbu region of the Asian country. This legendary path could be a psychological thriller for top & wild hikers World Health Organization want the tread the methods wherever legends walked before on their thanks to conquering mountain peak, some did some didn’t however the Everest Base Camp Trek path keeps those legends alive for many trekkers World Health Organization head to the present region. The trip begins with a stirring mountain flight to Lukla, one among the world’s highest mountains; & as shortly as you set down at that altitude, the remainder is history. Your hike takes you to the favored village city of Namche, referred to as the ‘gateway to the Khumbu’’ & from there on you rehearse quiet monasteries with the acknowledge Sherpa of us World Health Organization inhabit this region & their culture is price noting. On the way, we have a tendency to visit the Sagarmatha parkland, home to some rare fauna & flora, this additionally wherever we have a tendency to adapt for a few time. We head deep into the Khumbu hiking into the forest of shrub, birch trees & pine, with colorful villages wherever we have a tendency to square measure sincerely welcome by the Sherpa community. we have a tendency to square measure pleasantly stunned to return across a hospital-based mostly in Khunde and health post at Pheriche that shows this region not solely cares for the locals however also are able to look out of trekkers World Health Organization have altitude issues. Doctors square measure invariably at the post for aid treatment. The Everest Base Camp Trek is arduous however varied teahouses square measure found on the paths providing smart grubbed to shelter from the generally harsh climate. Our trek culminates at base camp so we have a tendency to create a path for Namche as we have a tendency to hike back to Lukla to rendezvous for our flight to Katmandu. we have a tendency to add an additional contingency day for inclement weather which will delay flights. It’s recommended to be pretty acceptable to undertake this journey; you only want some smart hiking exercise before doing this trip. And Nepal Base Camp Treks can do the remainder to allow you AN action-packed odyssey of a period.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Annapurna Base Camp Trek is an amazing walk through diverse landscapes and culture complete with rich mountain views. This route lies in the Annapurna region of Nepal which is the very much beautiful place in Nepal. The trek is incorporated diverse terrain, culture, and wildlife. It is a popular choice among diverse outdoors enthusiasts, from a solo female traveler to hikers traveling in groups to Nepal. Their beauty is indescribable and they draw your attention and walking further leads to the Lush forest to waterfalls. We get the chance to see wonderful views of the mountain, landscapes, small villages, the beautiful scenery, and the small waterfalls of this route. The fabulous mountain scenery and the rich cultural diversity traverses across a wide spectrum of lush rural farmlands and pretty villages. We will walk through terraced rice paddies, lush rhododendron forest and high altitude landscapes with the Annapurna region in view most of the time. Many villages perched on ridges tops surrounded by ancient terraced fields. We cross the mountain passes, fascinating mid-hills, colorful villages and slowly gaining an altitude to the base camp of the world’s greatest peaks. The steep sides are covered in the Lush forest and it is the most dramatic treks in this region.
    Annapurna Base Camp Trek is one of the most popular walks on the earth. The starting point of this trekking route is Pokhara city which is also known as the city of the Lake. While trekking in this route, we will pass through the many suspension bridges and a small natural hot spring of this route. At the time of trekking, we get chance to know about the culture, traditions, and lifestyle of the Gurung, Magar, and Thakali people who are the local inhabitants of this route. We will have great chance to see the wonderful vies of the Mountain which includes Dhaulagiri, Machapuchhre, Annapurna south, and many other mountains of this region. During the time of trekking, we get the chance to explore the Annapurna Conservation Area which is home to many rare birds, animals, flora, and fauna. The best season is February to April and October to December for trekking in this route. The Annapurna base camp trek is one of the beautiful treks in the Annapurna region. The good trail is often neatly stepped, as far as the prosperous villages of Chhomrong. After a good scenic walk reaching the Base Camp with ample time to marvel and enjoy the mountain views.

    ReplyDelete