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Loja is a city in the south of the Andean Highlands region of Ecuador.

Get in[edit]

Transportes Loja operates buses throughout Ecuador. Loja is 45 minutes from Malacatos and less than one hour from Vilcabamba and the Podocarpus National Park. To the east is Zamora which is a 90 minute trip - these are popular tourist destinations. Going by shared or private shuttle is another option from Cuenca to Loja. Information on bus and shuttle schedules are available on AndesTransit.

If coming from Cuenca, Ejecutivo San Luis buses are better and much faster (just over 4 hours) than Viajeros buses. The bus might take some time to leave the city, but then it goes straight to Loja. Ejecutivo San Luis has buses at 7.45am, 11am, 4pm, 7.30pm, and midnight.

La Toma airport in the valley of Catamayo, is about 40 minutes by bus from Loja.

Transportes Loja buses from Piura, Peru leave at 9:00pm from the Ronco terminal on Loreto near the junction with Av Bolognese. (The services at 9:30am and 1:30pm no longer exist). The bus from Loja leaves from the main station in the morning to Peru. The bus costs $14 as of January 2020 and takes 8-9 hours depending on border formalities. Be sure to stamp out of Peru as the driver does not always remember that foreigners need exit stamps.

Coming from Jaén another option, with beautiful views on the way, is crossing the border in La Balsa. Since 20th July 2018 the Ecuadorian bus company Nambija has started a direct connection from Jaén to Yantzaza via San Ignazio, La Balsa, Zumba, Vilcabamba and Loja. Currently there is one bus daily leaving Jaén at 13:00 and arriving in Loja around midnight. In August they might add a second one daily departing Jaén towards Ecuador at 3:00 in the morning. The busses in Jaén leave from the Terminal Binacional located at the intersection of Av. Pacamura and Alfonso Arana Vidal where also the VIP Taxi is based. The ticket must be paid in US$ also if you are buying the ticket in Peru. (You can withdraw US$ at e.g. the BCP ATM at the Plaza de Armas.) The Nambija ticket office also is located at the Terminal Binacional (open daily from 9:00 to 13:00 and from 16:30 to 19:00). You can also call the Jaén office during these hours: +51 964 059 761. A mototaxi takes you there for S/.2.

Get around[edit]

There are about 3.000 taxis (los amarillos) in Loja. Within the city centre taxis cost $1; a journey elsewhere around town will cost $1.50 to $2. A regular bus service operates and costs only 25c. As at May 2015 there is a metro bus system USD0.30. Buses also travel to nearby towns.


Loja is located at 2100 metres above sea level in the Cuxibamba valley and enjoys a temperate spring-like climate all year long, though the weather is best from October through January. Temperatures fluctuate between 16°C (60°F) and 25°C (80°F), with an average daily temperature of 17°C (63°F). February through May is wetter than the rest of the year. Layering is necessary because the equatorial sun often makes days hot and nights can be cool.

See[edit][add listing]

There are many beautiful squares and churches, with arcades to protect you from the rain. Plaza de la Independencia (San Sebastian) and Plaza San Francisco are particularly nice.

  • Pio Jaramillo Alvarado Museum of Music of the Central Culture (Museo de la Música del Centro Cultural Pio Jaramillo Alvarado), Bernardo Valdiviezo (between Rocafuerte and Miguel Riofrío). Inaugurated in 2004, it contains permanent exhibits on lojano music and composers, a concert hall, an area for temporary exhibits, a cafeteria, and a small music shop.  edit
  • Madres Conceptas Museum (Museo de las Madres Conceptas), 10 de Agosto at Bernardo Valdiviezo. Museum housed in the Hermanas Concepcionistas Monastery, the second oldest in the country. It was constructed at the end of the 16th century.  edit
  • Museum of the Central Bank of Ecuador (Museo del Banco Central del Ecuador), 10 de Agosto (between Bernardo Valdiviezo and Bolívar). This archeological museum focuses on the colonial history of the area.  edit
  • Lojanidad Archeological Museum (Museo Arqueológica y Lojanidad), Barrio San Cayetano (on the campus of Loja Technical University - UTPL), [1].  edit
  • Door of the City Museum (Museo de la Puerta de la Ciudad). This museum seeks to recreate the history of the city, but also has exhibits showcasing local painting, sculpture, and photography.  edit
  • '''Parque Universitario de Educación Ambiental y Recreación''' “Francisco Vivar Castro”. Located opposite the Botanical Gardens about 5 km south of central Loja on 90ha.; There are hiking trails, camping areas and classrooms for environmental education  edit
  • Jardín Botánico Reinaldo Espinosa. Across the road from University Park is the botanical garden open to the public which is the oldest in Ecuador created in 1949. There are over 800 native and exotic species. It is a living laboratory for scientific research and environmental education. It covers an area of 7ha divided into 5 sections for viewing. Closed between 12:30 - 3 daily and closes early on weekends.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

Buy[edit][add listing]

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Roma Pizza, Av. Cuxibamba y Gran Colombia (frente al puente de Lea), 072583520. Very good pizzas and pastas. The salads are amazing. Open until late. Pizzas / pastas 5-7$. Drinks 0.5$ - 2$.  edit
  • Salon Lolita, Near Parque El Valle (Ask a cab to take you to Parque El Valle, $1 from centro). Good place to try cuy (guinea pig), cecina, or chicken cooked in cuy spices in a pleasant multi-room and garden courtyard setting. There's even a swing for kids. Go up behind the hedges in the back to order from the counter before sitting. Cuy $8-$12. Drinks $0.5.  edit
  • El Tamal Lojano, 18 de Noviembre on the plaza. A Loja institution serving large portions of local foods like tamales, borons, humitas and quimbolitos in a clean, modern restuarant. $1 per item. Drinks $0.6-$1.  edit
  • Cafe Ruskina, Calle Sucre (In front Londres hostel). Serves nice Lojan coffee along with other types. Serves nice food, ice creams and cakes  edit
  • El Torrito, On Plaza San Sebastian. A nice, friendly restaurant serving tasty Mexican food. If you are lucky you can get a seat overlooking the square. Good atmosphere. $3-7 for a main meal, drinks $2.25 for a beer.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

El Chiringuito de Los Chavales is great fun: David and Doris Hernandez are charming hosts. David, a madrileňo, has mementoes of his city in the bar. It is the perfect place to start your night with a few drinks and to then proceed elsewhere. They offer Spanish tapas like Spanish tortillas and croquetas, but they also offer typical Ecuadorian food as well. Their tinto de verano is delicious, and is the real deal! It located on Bolívar between 10 de Agosto and Rocafuerte. Look for the Hostal Las Orquidias. (The restaurant and hostal share an entrance.)Telephone: (+ 593) 9 8081 8541

Zarza Brewing Co. (Puerto Bolívar and Esmeraladas in 'El Valle'.) Zarza is a brewery that was started by an American/Ecuadorian couple, Gregory and Elita, along with another American, Eric. They brew and sell several different types of craft beer. A 12 oz. beer is $3 and a 16 oz. beer is $3.75. They also offer a variety of food, such as pizza, tacos, hamburgers, nachos, french fries, chicken wings and more. Additionally, they have cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages.

The restaurant is really nice with seating in and out doors. There are TVs that are usually tuned in to sports, but it's not intrusive as the volume is typically off (unless otherwise requested). The staff is attentive and friendly. The owners Gregory and Eric and at least one bar tender, Pablo, speaks English. It's suitable to take your family there for dinner, or to go out with friends. It's a 'must see' if you like craft beer.

They are located in "El Valle" on the corner of (en la esquina de) Puerto Bolívar y Esmeraldas. Their phone number is (07) 257-1413. Look for them on Facebook to see their full menu or go to their website ( to find out more.

Sleep[edit][add listing]


  • Hotel Londrès, loja. Probably the cheapest option in Loja. $6 per night or $100 per month. Nice place. $6.00usd.  edit Has wifi, book exchange and book borrowing and owners are extremely friendly
  • Hotel Metropolitano, Colon between Sucre and Eguiguren. Business hotel with worn but clean surroundings. Staff are happy to help with questions but don't always give correct answers. Has wifi and parking. $12 for single, private bathroom in low season/weekdays.  edit


  • Hostal Aguilera Internacional, Sucre 01-08 y Av. Emiliano Ortega (esquina), Tel: (593) 7 258 4660. furnsihed rooms includes cable TV, internet and breakfast. Off street parking available with restaurant-cafe, lounge and sauna. Starting at $25.  edit
  • Hostal America, 18 de Noviembre entre Imbabura y Quito (1$ by taxi from bus station). checkout: 14:00. Modern and very clean hotel in the town centre. Huge rooms with 2 double beds, private bathroom, cable TV and free Wifi internet. Price includes breakfast. $30 for double room with private bathroom.  edit Tel: (593) 7 256 2887
  • Hotel Libertador, Colón 14-30 y Bolívar, (+ 593) 7 257 8278, [2]. a historic boutique hotel, near Central Park. Breakfast is included, Wifi is free, and pool, spa. Restaurant, cafetería. $$51 to $61 plus taxes..  edit


  • Grand Victoria, Bernardo Valdivieso 06-50 y José Antonio Eguiguren, (+ 593) 7 258 3500, [3]. a historic boutique hotel, close to Central Park. 33 rooms and 4 suites. Breakfast is included, Wifi is free, and they also have swimming pool, spa. Restaurant, café & bar. $90 to $160 plus taxes..  edit

Stay Safe[edit]

In general Loja is one of the safer cities in Ecuador, however try to stay within the city limits, where there are police on patrol.

A specific spot to avoid, even during the day (and especially at night) is parque Pucara and its surrounding area. Tourists may want to go and see views of the city from the tower at the top of the hill, however it is not safe. The tower (Mirador Teleferico) is abandoned and is a hot spot for crime.

Get out[edit]

Vilcabamba can be reached by minibuses that leave hourly from the bus terminal or for similar prices, go to the shared taxi stand 11 de Mayo to take a faster cab that leaves as soon as they have four passengers. Ask a cab to take you to the "Taxi Rutas" or it's near Mercadillo on the second street away from the river on the not centro side. Not on a corner, but the nearby taxi drivers will be happy to point you at the taxi rutas.

Podocarpus National Park has much biodiversity. There are walking tracks to lakes and waterfalls. The park has a micro-climate and much rainfall which has stimulated plant growth - unique flora includes Podocarpus, the only indigenous Andean conifer and the famous Cinchona plant from which quinine was obtained to combat malaria. The fauna is equally exotic and plentiful.

Cuenca: the bus journey can take as long as 7 hours on Viajeros International. This bus company may make some stops, and it is a slow trip. (Loja to Cuenca $8, 5 to 7 hours, and no toilet) San Luis buses (with a toilet) travel from Loja to Cuenca using the national park route and take 4 1/2 hours, $8. Regular departures every day.

Piura, Peru (Loja International 8$, 8.5 hours). Departures at 6am, 1pm and 11pm. The bus stops at both border posts for immigration formalities and you have to walk across a small bridge (try not to be last in the queue). Although an international service, it does stop in each of the small towns along the way and some people travel standing up. No working bathroom / air-conditioning.

  • Peruvian Consulate, Avda Zolio Rodriguez, 072 579 068. 9am-13h, 1530-1730. A tourist visa costs 30$ if you need one (check at You need to take your bus ticket, proof of sufficient funds (such as a credit card) and to make a deposit at the Banco de Guayaquil.  edit

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