Trees of guayacan in flowering season near Loja, Ecuador
Holidays to Loja, Ecuador
Known as the “Valley of Smiles” for its friendly locals, Loja is surrounded by picturesque rolling green hills, jungles and forests. It’s one of the oldest cities in Ecuador, bursting with colonial charm, art and culture.
Loja’s streets are steeped in history with statues and original colonial structures dotted around the city. Fans of architecture will love Loja’s authentic arched doorways, with none more famous than the Puerta de la Ciudad, or “city gate”. To enter this great city you’ll have to pass by this popular monument modelled on the city’s distinct coat of arms and featuring stunning frescoes of Spanish revolutionary Simon Bolivar.
The Puerta de la Ciudad houses four attractions, including an archaeological museum and an art gallery showcasing contemporary Lojano artwork. For some of the best views of the city, a climb to the top of the clock tower is highly recommended.From Puerta de la Ciudad you can embark on a walking tour to some of Loja’s most beautiful and historic churches. Simply follow the orange stripe painted on the pavement and view these stunning buildings at your own pace.
If you’re a coffee drinker, a tour to one of Ecuador’s finest coffee plantations is not to be missed. Said to rival the coffee produced in neighbouring Colombia and Peru, coffee produced in Loja Province is known for its wide variety and fine aromas. Head to the nearby towns of Vilcabamba, Quilanga and Gonzanama for a taste of perfection.
World renowned for its strong tradition of art and literature, you won’t have to travel far to find Loja’s vibrant culture. The music capital of Ecuador is filled with salsa clubs, and whatever time of year you visit, it’ll be alive with music as bands and musicians perform in plazas across the city. There’s a local saying in Loja that you’ll hear throughout your trip, “the one who does not play the guitar can sing a song; the one who does not sing a song can write a verse; the one who does not write a verse can read a book".
Visit the clock tower of Puerta de la Ciudad
See frescoes of Spanish revolutionary Simon Bolivar
Go on a self-guided tour of Loja’s historic churches
Drive to coffee plantations in Quilanga & Gonzanama
Dance at Loja’s renowned salsa clubs