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Southern Andes > Provinces > Loja

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 University’s 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.


El Cisne

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 Ecuador’s 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
Province's Capital Road Cities
Ethnic Group Archaeology Handicrafts


| Introduction | City of Loja | Vilcabamba Valley | El Cisne |
| Saraguro | Macará | Cuisine | Map of Loja, Ecuador |

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