Loja Ecuador Pros & Cons for Expats & Tourists

Nestled within the picturesque landscape of Ecuador lies Loja, a city that has increasingly captured the attention of both tourists and long-term residents.

Having lived in Ecuador for several years, we finally made it to the city for a deeper exploration to discover why so many people recommended we spend time there.

In this article, we provide an overview of this beautiful Andes mountain city and cover both its strengths and its areas for potential improvement.

Advantages of Visiting or Moving to Loja, Ecuador

Here are the advantages we noticed that make Loja a compelling destination for both settling down and short-term exploration.

Affordability

Loja Yellow Church and ParkOur experience in Loja underscored its cost-effective nature. Specifically, our centrally located Airbnb and the day-to-day expenses like food and restaurants were similar to Cuenca.

For instance, a typical “almuerzo” or lunch special, encompassing a substantial soup, arroz con vegetales (rice with vegetables), potato, and tea, cost us just $3.25.

Additionally, our visit to the local mercado highlighted affordable prices reminiscent of Cuenca. We purchased several things like regional coffee and fresh produce for less than $8 in total.

Architectural and Natural Beauty

Loja boasts an elegant blend of natural and architectural sights. The streets, adorned with trees, also showcase diverse architectural styles from old colonial to 20s Art Deco and 60s boxy utilitarian.

Historical sites, such as Plaza de la Independencia San Sebastián, commemorate pivotal moments like Loja’s Independence Day in 1820.

Recreational Spaces

Parque Recreacional Jipiro In Loja EcuadorThe city offers an array of recreational spots. The iconic “la Puerta de la Ciudad” stands in proximity to the bustling mercado, while numerous parks pepper the urban landscape.

Noteworthy is the Parque Recreacional Jipiro, which offers serene nature trails and scaled-down versions of globally recognized structures like the Taj Mahal and The Eiffel Tower.

Cleanliness

Loja prioritizes urban hygiene, with the ‘Green Team’ street cleaners ensuring streets and pathways remain pristine.

Buses are not allowed in “El Centro” or the historic center, which not only improves air quality but also reduces noise levels.

Family Orientation

Loja exudes a family-friendly aura. From recreational areas like Pucará to schools catering to various age groups and prominent universities, it’s evident that families are a core consideration in city planning.

Pedestrian Accessibility

The city’s design inherently promotes walking, which might account for the general fitness enthusiasm among residents.

Additionally, amenities such as gyms, dance studios, and public outdoor exercise equipment are easily accessible.

Retail Diversity

Loja Centro MercadoWhether it’s boutique malls, organic stores, or fashion outlets, Loja provides an expansive shopping experience.

The pedestrian-friendly outdoor mall in El Centro is a popular place to shop and hang out.

Healthcare

The city is reputed for its healthcare facilities, with renowned institutions like Solca, specializing in oncology.

There is a public IESS hospital near the park in the center of town, as well as several other general clinics and hospitals located around the city.

Local Hospitality

Engaging with the locals was a heartening experience, marked by their genuine warmth and friendliness.

Downsides of Loja, Ecuador

No place is perfect and Loja has a few drawbacks that might cause some challenges.

Geographical Constraints

At times, natural events like landslides can disrupt connectivity between Loja, Cuenca, and the nearest airport located 45 minutes west of the city in Catamayo.

Limited Options for Special Diets

Restaurants in Loja could benefit from a broader spectrum of dietary options. If you’re plant-based, vegetarian, or gluten-free, you might find it difficult to eat at most restaurants.

Water Consumption

In the video, we talked about tap water not being potable. However, since posting this video, several viewers who live in Loja told us that the water is drinkable out of the tap in most parts of the city.

If you’re a tourist on a short visit or staying in an older building, you might want to err on the side of caution and drink bottled or filtered water.

It Can Be Rainy

Loja Cloudy Sky with Mountain ViewDuring our week in Loja, it rained most days, and sometimes it was a hard rain. As a result, it’s lush and green, and you’re likely to see a rainbow or two.

Lack of English-Speakers

If your Spanish is rusty or non-existent, you may want to start studying or download a translation app because we met very few locals who spoke English during our time there. You’ll find a lot more English speakers in Cuenca.

Final Thoughts…

Loja, with its myriad attractions and minor challenges, is a city that’s worth experiencing firsthand.

Whether you’re considering a short visit or a more extended stay, Loja has its unique charm, echoing the diverse beauty of Ecuador.

We still think Cuenca was the right choice for us, but life in Loja would have been amazing as well.

Watch Our Loja Ecuador Pros & Cons Video

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JP Stonestreet
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Hola todos! Welcome to my author bio page! Let's see. Where to begin... I grew up in the country on a lake outside a small Kansas farm town. As soon as I could, I got the hell outta there! Since then, I've lived and/or worked in Kansas City, Washington D.C., Denver, San Francisco, and Ecuador. I started and sold a dotcom, wrote a book about it, started a YouTube channel, and now I write a lot. Amelia and I have embraced the Unconventional Life and we want to help you do it, too!

4 replies
  1. Roger Jackson
    Roger Jackson says:

    Thanks for the Loja video.
    I am planning to spend a month or 2 there as my home base and explore. Just getting to the age where I dislike the cold weather of Kansas City.
    Not quite sure when you started but my 1st trip to Ecuador was in 2015 and found you sometime after that.
    Well thank you so much for all the information ciao

    Reply
  2. Bill Causey
    Bill Causey says:

    J.P., My wife and have been watching and reading your content for several years now. We are Patreon members, and we bought your course for moving to Ecuador. We have been in Cuenca now for 5 months and absolutely love it here. While we do plan on visiting as much of Ecuador as we can we feel like we have found our new home in Cuenca. I just wanted to say thank for all the great work you and Amilea put into your content. We still watch and read a great deal of your content and enjoy all of it. Still hope to get to meet you both at some point.

    Reply

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