Life is Good Down South
Located in southern Ecuador, Loja is most well known the Vírgen del
Cisne religious festivals it organizes, which attract pilgrims from all
over the country and from abroad, as well. Loja also has popular tourist
attractions, the most well known being Vilcabamba Valley, famous for the
longevity of the locals, most of whom live to the age of 100. The average
temperature here is 16 degrees centigrade.
Loja - Sentinal of the South
Loja is a city full of delights for the tourist, such as the colorful houses
on Lourdes Street in San Sebastián visited by national and foreign
tourists, alike. The colonial Old Town and the Cathedral are also noteworthy
attractions. The Vírgen del Cisne is carried here during the international
fair in September. Other churches worth a visit are San Francisco, San Agustín,
Santo Domingo, San Sebastián, and Fátima. They all contain
important religious works of art. The Sentinel of the South,
as the locals call Loja, also has history, archaeology, art, and handicraft
museums worth checking out. Jipiro Park, the Universitys Botanical
Gardens, and Conceptas monastery should also be visited.
Vilcabamba Valley - Where Life Goes On
Vilcabamba, the Valley of Longevity, is located just south of
Loja. Attracted to the area by its peaceful atmosphere and natural beauty,
thousands of tourists come here every year. The long lifespan enjoyed by
the locals, many of whom live to be over 100, is something of a world record
and is attributed to the low index of heart disease, a stable climate, and
the special properties of the valleys hot springs. Vilcabamba means Sacred
Valley in Quichua.
The parish of El Cisne is located on a high hillside. Its main attraction
is its Cathedral, which contains the late 16th century V?rgen del Cisne
sculpture, venerated by thousands all over the country, many of whom flock
to El Cisne in September for the annual festival. The sculpture of the Virgin,
known as La Churona (the curly haired one) was carved by Diego de
Robles, a famous artist during the colonial times. El Cisne also has a museum
with relics, clothes, sacred ornaments, and souvenirs.
Nestled in the Pugila foothills, 64 km from Loja, Saraguro is home to the
Salasaca Indians. The Salasaca are a very traditional group who have kept
their customs alive by maintaining their traditional forms of dance and
music and by continuing to dress in the same distinctive clothing - the
black poncho they wear is a sign of the mourning oath they swore when the
Spanish killed Atahualpa. The region is one of incredible beauty and Catacocha,
Celica, or Gonzanamá, are definitely worth a visit.
Located near Ecuadors border with Peru, Macará enjoys a warm
climate year round. Every August, the locals organize an Integration Fair,
with national and Peruvian exhibitors.
Loja is famous for its tamales, soup, and fried pork.
Map of Loja, Ecuador
| City of Loja | Vilcabamba
Valley | El Cisne |
| Saraguro | Macará
| Cuisine | Map of Loja, Ecuador