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Loja

Altitude: 2,060 m (6,758 ft)
Population: 185,000
Phone Code: 07

Founded in 1548 by Alonso de Mercadillo, Loja is somewhat of a political and cultural island, surrounded by mountains and stranded at the far southern end of Ecuador. Besides being the provincial capital, Loja warrants recognition as the first city in Ecuador to generate electricity (1897). Today, Loja is an intellectually and architecturally unique city, boasting two universities set among a peculiar mix of urban concrete and colonial structures.

Approximately 500 meters (1,640 ft) lower than most southern cities, Loja enjoys noticeably warmer weather—an appropriate complement to its congenial cultural climate and exuberant atmosphere. There is a lot to see and do in Loja. Situated around the sprawling palm-tree studded central park are a number of interesting buildings, including the Cathedral, Casa de Justicia, which houses the Museo del Banco Central, and the modern Municipal Building, with its pleasant courtyard and vibrant murals, which play out various indigenous scenes. Beyond the park, further south along Bolívar from the Iglesia Santo Domingo, is the Plaza de la Independencia, where the citizens of Loja gathered on November 18, 1820, to denounce the Spanish Crown and assert their independence. Perhaps the most attractive section of the city, the square is enlivened by the brightly painted facades of colonial-style buildings, and neatly framed by resplendent hills rising in the distance.

Between the historic center of the city and the northern areas, you’ll find the Entrada a la Cuidad, a towering structure designed to look like a medieval castle gatehouse. The building houses an art museum and snack bar and is worth a quick visit.

Beyond the city center and its magnificent squares are the Parque de Recreación Jipiro, Parque La Argelia and Jardín Botánico Reynaldo Espinosa, all perfect for day-strolls. For stunning panoramic views of the city, head up to the statue of the Virgen de Fátima, sitting in the hills east of the city. Located just beyond Loja, Parque Nacional Podocarpus offers more sweeping views and stunning landscapes to explore.

Most visitors to Loja are delighted to discover that the city is still quite inexpensive. You can stay and eat for less money than you can in most of the rest of Ecuador. Restaurants in Loja tend towards the regional. Most of the food you’ll find is heavy southern Ecuadorian fare, heavy on the soups, tamales and pork, but there are a few places that feature international cuisine.

Neighborhoods in Loja: El Centro,

Other places nearby Loja: Bulcay, Baños (Cuenca), Gualaceo, Guamote, Cuenca, Vilcabamba, Girón, Jima, Saraguro and Sigsig.







23 Jul 2013

Ecuador and Custom Galapagos Tours
Live a great vacation in a small country that has it all.
www.andeandiscovery.com

Top Restaurants in Loja

Topoli

Be sure to check out Topoli if you are looking for a quick fix to satisfy your sweet tooth or an appetizing way to cool down on a hot Loja morning. Serving a variety of cakes and ice cream sundaes, ...
Restaurant
Loja, Ecuador

Casa Lojana Restaurant

Casa Lojana is a fancy hotel and restaurant located outside of Loja in a converted home. It is owned and operated by the University of Loja, which uses it as a teaching tool for its students involved ...
Restaurant
Loja, Ecuador

Las Chavales Café

This small Spanish place, hidden in a passageway close to Plaza de la Independencia, brings a new set of flavors and sounds to Loja. With just a few small tables, Las Chavales transports diners and ...
Restaurant
Loja, Ecuador

A Lo Mero Mero

A Lo Mero Mero is the place to go for Mexican food in Loja, whether you want flautas, fajitas, enchiladas or burritos. The taco or burrito with soda combos are a pretty good deal. At lunch time, A Lo ...
Restaurant
Loja, Ecuador

Molino Café

This modern café serves six different types of breakfasts, including a \"French breakfast\" with a piece of cake, hard-boiled egg, juice and coffee; and a \"Spanish breakfast\" with a Spanish potato ...
Restaurant
Loja, Ecuador

Restaurant Riscomar

One of the fanciest places in town, Restaurant Riscomar is perfect for a romantic or celebratory meal. The extensive menu goes way beyond the options at the majority of other establishments in town ...
Restaurant
Loja, Ecuador

Forno Di Fango PizzerĂ­a

The best pizza place in town, Forno di Fango has four locations throughout the city, with the most central being on the corner of the streets 24 de Mayo and Azuay. All have an identical menu; pizzas ...
Restaurant
Loja, Ecuador

El Tamal Lojano

El Tamal Lojano probably has the best traditional regional food in town. Its menu is simple, with three different breakfasts, and specialty snacks like tamales, humitas, quimbolitos, bolĂłnes, and ...
Restaurant
Loja, Ecuador

El ParaĂ­so

145576Vegetarians passing through Loja can rest easy knowing El ParaĂ­so serves up light, healthy and very reasonably priced vegetarian dishes every day of the week. A typical menĂş del dĂ­a (menu of the ...
Restaurant
El Centro, Loja, Ecuador

Things to See and Do in Loja

Podocarpus National Park

Podocarpus National Park is one of the jewels of Southern Ecuador and is named after the Podocarpus tree, the only native conifer in the Ecuadorian Andes. Spanning 1,462 square kilometers (564.5 sq ...
Region, National Park
Loja, Ecuador

Museo de la Cultura Lojana

104864Previously known as the Museo del Banco Central, this museum still contains an extensive collection of archaeological pieces, including 10,000-year-old weapons and tools from the region around Loja, ...
Museum
Loja, Ecuador

Parque Jipiro

104865One of the best known parks in Loja, Jipiro is north of the city and spans 10 hectares (25 ac). There is a lake, sports fields, a \"cyber train\" with Internet service, a zoo and pools, as well as ...
City Plaza
Loja, Ecuador

Entrada a la Ciudad

109271Also known as Puerta de la Ciudad (Portal de la Ciudad), the Entrada a la Ciudad de Loja is without a doubt Loja\'s most recognizable landmark. Built to look like a medieval gatehouse, complete with ...
Museum
Loja, Ecuador

Museo de la MĂşsica

This small museum set around a sunny courtyard is dedicated to the musicians and composers of Loja. The displays include many of their original instruments and sheet music. The museum also has ...
Museum
Loja, Ecuador

Municipal Building

Stretching across the whole Avenida Eguiguren side of Plaza de la Independencia and wrapping around the corner down Calle SimĂłn BolĂ­var, Loja\'s Municipal Building is a good reference point and ...
Historical Building
Loja, Ecuador

Parque Universitario La Arquelia

La Arquelia is a beautiful 90-hectare (222-ac) park on the edge of the city. There are seven kilometers (4.3 mi) of excellent hiking trails that go through forest, streams and the parámo. There is a ...
City Plaza
Loja, Ecuador

Mercado Centro Comercial Loja

This huge market stretching along 18 de Noviembre, between 10 de Agosto and Rocafuerte, sells everything you could ever need. The ground floor is split up into sections of stalls selling fresh ...
Market
Loja, Ecuador

Museo De Arte Religioso

Housed in an old monastery that was founded in 1597 by a bishop from Quito named Luis LĂłpez de SolĂ­s, the Museo de Arte Religioso displays a collection of Loja\'s most important religious artwork. ...
Museum
Loja, Ecuador

Top Hotels in Loja

Hotel Libertador

108732The Hotel Libertador is the best of the hotels located in Loja’s historic district. The interior is dimly lit and gloomy, and the whole place has a \"seen-better-days\" feel to it, but the rooms ...
Hotel
Loja, Ecuador

Quo Vadis

109297The Quo Vadis is modern, reasonably priced and well located within walking distance of Jipiro Park and the bus terminal. Its rooms are very nice, comfortable and clean, and the hotel is very ...
Hotel
Loja, Ecuador

Casa Lojana

109285Casa Lojana is one of Loja’s best high-budget options. The building that houses the hotel was once an elegant home, which has since been converted. There are gardens, balconies, a fine restaurant ...
Hotel
Loja, Ecuador

Hostal Las OrquĂ­deas

109272Probably the all-around best low-budget lodging option in downtown Loja, Las Orquí­deas is a small but clean and friendly hostel just around the corner from the central park. The rooms are neat and ...
Hostel
Loja, Ecuador

Hostal Aguilera Internacional

109269Located directly across the street from the impossible-to-miss Entrada de la Ciudad, the Hostal Aguilera Internacional is an airy, bright hotel with small but clean rooms. The hotel has an array of ...
Hotel
Loja, Ecuador

Hotel Londres

109266The Hotel Londres is located in an old, unassuming building that was obviously cut in half at some point in the past. Tall and narrow, the hostel has 12 rooms with a varying number of beds in each, ...
Hostel
Loja, Ecuador

Hotel Acapulco

109265Dank and dismal, the Hotel Acapulco is about as cheery as a morgue. Presumably the building once saw better days, but those days are a fading memory. The rooms are slightly brighter than the murky ...
Hotel
Loja, Ecuador

Podocarpus

Located near the central plaza, Hotel Podocarpus is comfy and modern, making it one of your better options while staying in Loja. It offers spacious rooms with hot water, private bathrooms and cable ...
Hotel
Loja, Ecuador

Copalinga

110629Located three kilometers (1.86 mi) from Podocarpus National Park, Copalinga is a mecca for birders and nature lovers. The hotel is surrounded by a complex network of trails with bird viewing spots. ...
Hotel
Loja, Ecuador

Zamorano Real Hotel

145093Zamorano Real is a really good value given its modern facilities and extra amenities. Its rooms are spacious and decorated in soothing earth tones with contemporary touches and big plasma TVs. Not ...
Hotel
Loja, Ecuador
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