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Loja, Ecuador

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Reviewed by Kathleen Peddicord

Kathleen is the Live and Invest Overseas Founding Publisher. She has more than 30 years of hands-on experience traveling, living, and buying property around the world.

Modern Living in Loja, Ecuador

night time and fireworks in Loja Ecuador

Loja is modern, convenient, and has full-city services. Yet it retains the full cultural richness that’s made it unique in Ecuador.

The countryside surrounding Loja is dramatic and beautiful. Think green mountain peaks, idyllic valleys, and rushing rivers. Above all, there are a number of attractive areas for owning a larger tract of land or a farm.

The city of Loja lies in Ecuador’s Southern Sierra region. Loja is capital of Loja province, which is one of Ecuador’s two southernmost provinces, bordering Peru.

It has a noteworthy indigenous presence, although it’s not as omnipresent as in Cuenca or even Quito.

Firstly, music is a big part of the Lojano culture, and, in fact, Loja is the undisputed music capital of Ecuador. Many of the country’s best musicians and composers came from Loja. The city currently boasts two orchestras and a noted music conservatory.

Cost Of Living In Loja

You can budget for living and retiring in Loja for less than US$1000 per month. For example, to settle into a comfortable life in Loja, you can plan on spending US$1,100 per month if you’re renting and US$800 per month if you own your property. And, you could live for less but at these levels you’ll be able to enjoy life in Loja.

Monthly Budget For A Couple Living In Loja, Ecuador

ExpenseMonthly CostNotes
GasUS$3Used for hot water and cooking.
WaterN/AIncluded with electricity.
TelephoneUS$56Claro package includes 4Mb Internet, local phone, and 157 cable TV channels.
InternetN/AIncluded with telephone.
Cable TVN/AIncluded with telephone.

*Ecuador uses the U.S. dollar as its currency.

Infrastructure In Loja

The city of Loja itself is completely walkable, and anyone who can walk a couple of blocks will not need a car for day-to-day life. When you need a taxi, you’ll find them plentiful and cheap. Most rides around town are only a dollar.

And for further travel, including interprovincial travel, the public transportation is excellent. You’ll enjoy a modern bus system, jet transport to other major cities, and a fleet of inexpensive taxis to every corner of Ecuador.

The city has a number of attractive town squares, which serve as the classic city social centers that the Spanish intended them to be. They’re a great place to relax, people-watch, get a shoeshine, have a coffee, or meet friends.

Is It Safe To Live In Loja, Ecuador?

Loja is one of the safest places to live in Ecuador. Residents walk the streets after dark without fear. The valley in which Loja sits is not known as the Valley of Smiles for nothing.

It isn’t a big city which could be a reason that the crime rate is so low. There is almost a small town feel about the place. It also relies on tourist trade. The police are keen to ensure that visitors feel safe and want to return.

Ecuadoreans are well known for being polite and courteous. These qualities are to be found throughout Loja.

Healthcare In Loja

One of the benefits of retiring in Loja is access to discounted healthcare. The city has both dental and medical schools. These both run clinics where you can see trainee professionals at a reduced price. Don’t worry, they are under the supervision of fully qualified medical professionals.

Loja has a number of hospitals. These include a large public hospital and a modern private hospital with links to the university. You will also find plenty of clinics and pharmacies.

Most expats choose to pay for private healthcare. The standard in Loja is very good and you can feel confident being treated for most ailments here. You can usually find someone who speaks English in the private hospitals.

Public health care is not at the same standard as hospitals in the United States, but for minor injuries is more than adequate. Staff here less likely to speak English.

Dental care in Loja is of a good standard and English-speaking dentists can be found.

Climate In Loja

The average high temperature in Loja is 73°F (23°C), with a seasonal variation of only 1°F. Most importantly, nights are always cool, with an average low of 45°F (7°C). In short, you don’t need heat or air conditioning, and you can retire your winter clothes and your snow shovel.

Expats In Loja

The people are friendly and welcoming, and it’s easy to become a part of the community. Loja has virtually no expat community. So, today, you will still be accepted into the local community on your own merits. Of course, lack of a large expat community is a deterrent to some people, while it will be a blessing for others. It depends on the lifestyle and level of cultural immersion that you’re looking for.

Is This The Right Place For You?

Loja is definitely off the well-worn gringo trail. So, if you want to live among hundreds or thousands other expats—or you aren’t up for learning any Spanish—then there are far better choices in Ecuador… places like Cuenca, Vilcabamba, or Cotacachi.

Expats who settle in Loja, Ecuador, will need to become a part of the local community, which is why I find it attractive.

In Loja, you’ll experience life in the real Ecuador. You can enjoy a night at the symphony or appreciate the art and culture that have made Loja unique in the country. Also, here in the southern Andes, you’ll be at home in a dramatic and beautiful province.

And, if you’re ready to leave the beaten path for a fascinating lifestyle among warm and welcoming people, then Loja, Ecuador, could well be for you.

Loja, Ecuador, FAQs

What Is Loja, Ecuador, Known For?

Loja, Ecuador, is known as the music and ultural capital of Ecuador. An interesting fact about Loja: In 1897 it became the first city in Ecuador to have electricity.

Is Loja A Safe Place To Live In?

Loja is a safe city to live in because it’s the quintessential Ecuadorian Andean town. Above all, it’s crime rate is low.

How Many Unesco World Heritage Sites Are In Ecuador?

When visiting Ecuador you can explore five Unesco World Heritage Sites. Ecuador’s multi-ethnicity is front and center of its traditions.

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