LOJA City in Ecuador

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, Source: ecuadorliving.com Web: www.ecuadorvilla.com

About Dario Espinosa
I was born and raised in Loja, Ecuador. I lived in Loja until I was 24 years old. I studied Economic s and Engineering at the Universidad Tecnica Particular de Loja. At 24, I was granted a scholarship by the US governmet and went to study Business Management at Emporia State University in Kansas. Later on, I obtained an MBA in International Management at Institut Superieur de Gestion in Paris. I worked in New York for 10 years as Director of the International Division at Berkeley College. Traveled all over the world promoting and marketing Education in the US. When the traveling got to be a bit much and needed a break, I left for Florida. I enrolled at American Intercontinental University and obtained a Masters in Information Technology. I started my own business in Real Estate Development and obtained a Realtor License. Currently I am afiliated with Coldwell Banker in Boca Raton, Florida. I still work with Berkeley College in New York as a Director of International Online Services. I love to travel and discover new places and cultures. So far, I have visited 115 countries and I hope to visit many more.

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