Loja is a less traveled city in Ecuador but I discovered the interesting history and cultural vibes when I came here. It was said to be a thriving base for the Spanish conquerors as they made this region their base when they explored the jungle over the mountains. It is also close to the protected area of Ecuador, Parque Nacional Podocarpus.
In the city I enjoyed walking around, taking in the sights and sounds that echo history and tradition of the place. The cuisine is distinct here and the city also has a musical tradition. The slopes that surround the city have coffee plantations and there are several vantage viewpoints from these sloping hills that should not be missed.
Places to See
I had a local guide to take me around to the important landmarks of the city. My first stop was at Puerta de la Ciudad; it is by the City Gate and is designed as a castle, complete with an arched gateway. I came across Museo de la Musica as well, a fun museum that has artifacts of famous musicians who were from Loja with music scores and old instruments. Another museum to visit is Museo de la Cultura Lojana, housed in a republican era structure with interesting ethnography, archaeology, and local art specimens. If you have come here with family stop by Parque Recreacional Jipiro; this kid-friendly place has a pond for paddle boating, animal enclosures, a skate park, and a Chinese pagoda. Plaza de la Independencia is another place of colonial-era architecture, complete with a tiled fountain and wooden balconies.
Eateries to Discover
I explored several restaurants during my stay here. At Riscomar you get seafood items as well as ceviche Ecuadorian style. At El Tamal Lojano there are set lunches with items like tamales Lojanos, Quimbolitos, Humitas which are classics of this region.