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Loja Ecuador Guide

This Loja Ecuador guide is sent to us by Dario Espinosa who lives in Loja.

Recently Dario placed an advertisement entitled Ecuador Luxury Villa in Loja Ecuador at our site.

His ad offered rentals of the  luxury Villa Serena.  The villa is built around a magnificent courtyard with a fountain and wide corridors.  See how to obtain a 20% discount on Villa Serena rentals below.

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You can see many similarities in the colonial architecture of Villa Serena and our hotel Meson de las Flores in Cotacachi.

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Shortly after the ad appeared Dario wrote:

Thanks Gary.  I have received several inquiries as a result of your e-mails.  Looking forward to the article about Loja next week.  I really would love to see more foreigners starting to discover Loja.  It is such a lovely city.  I would love to see them buying old colonial homes and restoring them.  I will be happy to assist them with that for free, just to see the architecture of Loja in good hands and preserved.  That is basically why I am selling Villa Serena.  It has a lot of sentimental value to me because it was my family house, but if I sell it I will use the same money to continue buying old properties and restoring them.  Besides, I really enjoy doing it.  Regards,  Dario

This brought two thoughts to mind.

First since we are trying to help readers know all of Ecuador better, Dario might be able to tell us more about Ecuador.  Second, there may be some business potential fixing up property in Ecuador. I know this has worked well for me in Cotacachi where we fixed up our hotel and  Casa Blanca.  See more on Ecuador condos for rent at Ecuador Patience.

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Photograph of Loja, Ecuador by Milton Ramirez (see a link to more Ramirez photos below).

So I asked Dario if he would create a Loja Ecuador guide for us.

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Loja at sunset picture at Tripadvisor. See link below

Here is what he shared.

Loja a hidden gem in the south of Ecuador.

The city of Loja is located in the south of Ecuador at 6,200 feet above sea level in the Cuxibamba  valley.

In September 2008,  Travel and Leisure magazine said “The remote village of Loja hidden in a small valley in the high Andes, looks very much like a South American Shangri-la. This is one of the best preserved colonial cities in South America, it remain off the beaten path, unlike Quito and Cuenca.”

This is a fairly accurate description of the lovely city of Loja.  There are approximately 150,000 people living in this wonderful city.  Because of its relative small size, almost everything is within walking distance.

Cars are more a luxury than a real need. Taxis like in most Ecuadorean cities are always available and the rate almost any place around the city is $1 US.  Incredible!

Surrounded by magnificent mountains and two rivers, the city of Loja is considered the Music Capital of Ecuador.  Culture has always been a very important factor in the life of its citizens.  Loja has beautiful churches, museums, two universities, the oldest highs school in Ecuador was founded in Loja. The music conservatory has produced some of the most acclaimed musicians in Ecuador.

On weekends, the city comes alive with live music and dance in its many cafes and bars.

For the last 20 years, Loja has been the pioneer city in Ecuador when it comes to protecting the environment.  Loja’s Municipality has a recycling program that has been copied by other cities in Ecuador and South America. Loja is the cleanest city in Ecuador and it was designated “Ciudad Ecologica” and received international awards for its commitment to environmental protection.

Safety is a major concern for foreigners looking to retire in a foreign country.  Crime rate in Loja is extremely low.  Citizens in Loja feel safe walking around the city day and night.

With more than ten private clinics, and two large hospitals, Loja offers first class medical facilities. Needles to say, medical expenses in Ecuador are extremely affordable.  As an example, an appendectomy and three nights at the best private clinic in Loja in a private room costs $1,100 US. The same procedure and the same accommodations at a medical facility in the United States will be above $12,000 dollars.  Many doctors in the city are educated abroad. Loja’s private clinics offer the latest equipment and technology to treat almost every medical condition.

Moving to Loja and staying in contact with relatives and friends abroad is easy. Loja offers excellent internet and telephone services.  You can also have access to Cable and Satellite TV with a variety of international TV stations.

Loja has plenty of stores with all sorts of merchandise and supplies. Supermarkets are very well stocked with American and European brands. The green markets offer fresh produce at incredibly low prices. You can walk to the markets and buy fresh products every day.  Or if you prefer, you can have your maid do it for you.  Labor is extremely affordable in Loja and most of Ecuador. Having a maid is not a luxury while living in Ecuador. For $200 to $300 a month you can have a person come to your home to cook and clean five or six days a week.

People are friendly and the majority of the young generation of citizens in Loja speaks some English. People in Loja feel good about foreigners and are always willing to help when needed.

After all these positive remarks about Loja you must be wondering about real estate prices.

Loja offers a variety of properties for every budget.  There are many new condos and town houses as well as beautiful colonial homes that can be restored.

Prices are very low compared with other cities in Ecuador. As an example, a brand new two bedroom condominium can cost between $40,000 and $60,000 depending on the type of building and how close you are to downtown. A three bedroom apartment could cost between $50 and $80,000. A luxury penthouse apartment with  five bedrooms, 5 ½ baths, two terraces, two parking spaces, a large storage room, two living rooms, dining room, laundry room, kitchen and a bar is offered at $250,000.

Finally, with a fantastic mild weather all year round, there is no need for heat or air conditioning. You will not find one single house with heaters or AC units. It never gets too cold or too hot.  During the day you can wear light shirts and t-shirts and at night a light sweater or a comfortable jacket and you will be fine. Loja enjoys a temperate spring-like climate all year long. Temperatures fluctuate between 16° C (60° F) and 21° C (70° F), with an average daily temperature of 17° C (63° F).

Visit Loja in your next trip to Ecuador and you will fall in love with this magic city and its friendly people.  Dario Espinosa

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Photo of Independence Square also known as San Sebastian in Loja shown at Travelpod.com See link below.

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One interesting, low cost hotel in Loja is Hotel Escuela La Casa Lojana.  The hotel is part of a University and is a school for the students of hotel management and tourism so your enjoyable stay is an education for the students.

Hotel Gran Victoria in Loja is a very nice, elegant boutique hotel.   For those who prefer chain hotels, there is a Howard Johnson Hotel Loja at Avenue Zoilo Rodriguez.

For the experience of living in your own mansion a rental at Villa Serena offers the most exclusive and private accommodations.

Loja Ecuador’s La Toma  airport’s code is LOH.  The airport sits at 4,000 feet and has a 6,700 foot runway.  La Toma airport is 45 minutes from the city center. A taxi will take you there for about US$4.00. The bus to Loja from the airport is one dollar.

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This photo of Loja Ecuador’s airport is from jetphotos. See a link to more Loja airport pictures below.

There are flights to and from Quito in the early morning and late afternoons.  Flight availability is about to get better as Aero Cuenca will begin operations September 14th.   Aero Cuenca is a new airline and will fly between Quito, Guayaquil, Cuenca and Loja with an Embraer 145, (30 person capacity). Aero Cuenca reports that they will have a Loja-Quito flight twice a day.

A round trip ticket from Quito to Loja is about $150 Dollars.

Of 70+ countries that Merri and I have lived and worked in over the past 41 years, Ecuador is one of the countries we have chosen to live in part time.  Great weather, friendly people, good law and order, low prices and easy access to Canada and the US have attracted growing numbers of North Americans to live here.   Prices are escalating in some of the more popular sites and facilities becoming crowded.  There are still relatively unknown, but beautiful places in Ecuador… including Loja.

Gary

Ecuador Living subscribers can receive a 20% discount on Villa Serena rentals in Loja Ecuador.  Learn how to get an Ecuador Living password for this discount and how to subscribe to Ecuador Living and get this report here.

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See more photos of Loja Ecuador at Travelpod.

See more Loja Ecuador photos at Tripadvisor

See more Milton Ramirez photos of Loja Ecuador here

See more Loja Ecuador airport photos here.

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