Editor’s note: Diana Jesuroga started her blog about life in Loja in May and has been busy since then answering questions about her city. One of the reasons for all the questions is the hype Loja has received from such retire-overseas websites as International Living and Live and Invest Overseas suggesting that it will soon become an expat hotspot, possibly rivaling Cuenca. She’s not too sure about that but says it is still a great place to live.
By Diana Jesuroga
Loja, located in Ecuador’s southernmost mountain province, is a place of amazing, diverse, and 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, magazines 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 about the city that it was taking more than 40 hours a 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.
I am also starting a 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, you can also contact the Loja Services Collective, which provides services for native English speakers and others.
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 a vibrant 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 great nightlife 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, peaceful rivers in a moderate climate.
Wherever you end up, may you find your perfect haven and live your days and nights in peace and joy.
Check out Diana’s blog is www.allaboutloja.