Anybody living in Vilcabamba or Loja?

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#1 11 April 2013 05:30:01

ActionMgt
ActionMgt
Cape Coral, Florida

Anybody living in Vilcabamba or Loja?

You never see anything posted about Vilcabamba or Loja on this forum.  Just wondering if anybody lives there that could tell me what it's like, if they like it there, and what the availability might be for renting a 2 bedroom small house with 2 small pets and about how much it would cost?  Also, would they pick Vilcabamba or Loja as a place to live?  what about the climate, and what about snakes in the area???  I know that's a stupid question, but I am paranoid about snakes!!!  Also, how easy/safe would it be to get to the coastal beaches from there and also to get to Cuenca?  Thanks, everybody!!!

#2 15 April 2013 20:17:24

Joseph K
Joseph K
Loja

Re: Anybody living in Vilcabamba or Loja?

Well, where to begin. Vilcabamba and Loja are very different. First Vilcabamba.

Vilcabamba (the town) is very small and most people live in the surrounding valley. It is teaming with expats from North America, Europe, and Australia. Because most expats bring in money, the place reminds me of small towns around military bases overseas. The town basically lives off the foreigners and, as such, everything is way overpriced. Land, food, everything is much more than the average Ecuadorian costs. Keep in mind that about 60% of Ecuadorians live under the poverty level. So, people do not have money to support a lot of business. Yet, you have expats piled into Vilcabamba all trying to make enough money to live on. Naturally, they are trying to make money off each other because, first, they are the ones with money, and second, most speak English. I chose to live in Ecuador because of the Ecuadorian culture and people. That is not the norm in Vilcabama, and therefore it is not a place I would live. I am being very frank here, and apologize to those who think I may have intended to insult them, I have no such intentions, but nor do I wish to sugar-coat anything.

The most positive aspect of Vilcabama is the weather. Again, keep in mind that, generally speaking, there is no heating or cooling in Ecuadorian homes. So, it is very nice that the days in Vilcabamba are often in the high 70s (Fahrenheit) so the home says very comfortable yea round. Vilcabamba is about 45 minutes from Loja, and vans and cabs that make regular trips are easy to find. A lot of people come to Loja for shopping since shopping in Vilcabama is quite limited.

Loja is the quintessential Ecuadorian Andean town. Its elevation is about 7000 feet and the population is about 110 thousand. But, physically, it is not that large. Like most Andean towns, it is located in a valley. I can walk long end (N to S) in about an hour, and the narrow width (E to W) in about 15 minutes if you just count the valley floor. But houses do spread up the mountainside, and that takes a lot of walking. But, getting around is very easy. Cabs are a dollar to any part of the city, and busses are 25 cents.

There are few foreigners here. As I mention, most are just visiting from Vilcabamba, or passing through as they head to other parts of Ecuador. Loja has no malls, but it does have a movie theatre, and a SuperMaxi (a American style grocery store that most foreigners frequent). Very few people speak English in Loja. The weather here is nice (low 70s day, 50s at night), but about three weeks of the year, I wish there were heating. Surprisingly, costs here are higher than the larger cities, but Cuenca is only three hours from here. A van is about $12 and the bus about $6.  So, it is easy to go to Cuenca for the day to buy more expensive items at a lower cost. Stores will deliver larger items (like a stove) to your home in Loja for a reasonable price.

Apartments here are typically 1-bedroom, or 3 or more. But, with a little looking, you can get a 2-bedroom for about $200 to $220, more or less depending on location. Apartments do not supply stoves, refrigerators, or washing machines; you have to buy your own. That will run about $1100 up. Homes and apartments here are hard to define. Every city block is solidly built with everything sharing walls. Usually, there are no yards. I suppose a house comprises all the floors in a structure and an apartment is only some of the floors. Within Loja, houses start about $50 K and in the center of town, extend beyond $400K. Of course, location, size, and condition affect price. Most homes only have hot water in the bathrooms for showers, and, as mentioned, no heating or cooling.  Electricity is about $30 per month, water $20, phone $10, Internet $20 to 40. Stoves are bottled gas only, and gas cost about $4 per month. As always, prices vary with consumption. 

Snakes are not common here. If fact, there are few pests of any type. I rarely see bugs in the house. But, occasionally, I pick up fleas somewhere, and have to wash all my linens and towels and clean the room. No rugs here, all tile or concrete. A little cleaning usually fixes everything. The City is safe, but you do have to be carefully crossing the streets. A elderly couple was killed a few weeks ago and I was glad to see crosswalks with green and red lights and countdown timers showing up for the first time on some major streets. Ecuador is very good at addressing problems when thet occur. The Government often shows real interest in the welfare of the people.

I havenít made the trip to the coast, but the bus terminal has busses to everywhere and the cost is very low. Busses are generally safe. Since most people travel by bus, they have evolved very good manors on busses and I find most bus trips pleasant. However, the 12-hour bus ride to Quito is quite tiring. Still, it is amazing how people handle it. The bus leaves at 8 pm and arrives in Quito about 8 am. Most people pretty much sleep through the ride and seem well conditioned to stay in their seat the whole time. I am up at least twice to use the bathroom. The cost of the Quito bus is $22.

Also, you may want to look at Cuenca. It is very lovely, but a bit too cold and rainy for my tastes. But, there is a large expat community there with regular meetings, so there is lots of help available.

If you want more information, give me a way to contact you and we can communicate. I donít spend a lot of time on this blog because once you post showing you have information, you get thousands of questions. I just donít have the time for that. But, if you are serious about coming to Loja, I can certainly help you before you arrive and after. (I will also post that information on this blog for others to read.) There arenít a lot of people here in Loja to help you.

Like any major change in life, there are a few things you need to do before you actually come here and apply for a visa. The requirements change all the time, but I can point you to the right agencies to get the latest information. It really isnít cheaper to live here in terms of the cost of things. In fact, some things are very expensive here. The cost savings mostly comes from three areas. Basic necessities (housing and basic foods) are less. There is no need for a car and all itís expenses. There are no heating or cooling costs. You must have at least $800 a month (last I checked) income to apply for permanent residency for retirees, but I think you really need about $1000 to live comfortably, $1,500 to live well. Please take into account that what I have written is strictly my opinion and others will have other opinions. I miss many of the conveniences of the U.S., but the people and culture here are worth the sacrifices. People are easy-going, happy and smiling. I love that there children everywhere and people actually are out and about walking. In America, the sidewalks are usually empty and the streets congested with cars. Lots of luck on your future adventure.

#3 15 April 2013 20:52:48

escapingoth
escapingoth
Vancouver Island

Re: Anybody living in Vilcabamba or Loja?

Thank you for your very frank post. I found it very useful and informative.
I know definitely not to take the bus from Cuenca to Quito when I come down, ouch I don't think my seat could handle it. LOL.
Hans

#4 16 April 2013 03:14:57

Steverdude
Steverdude
Ibarra

Re: Anybody living in Vilcabamba or Loja?

Well, we actually lived in Vilcabamba for a year and bought property. As well we opened up the first american style bakery and served american style breakfast as well. It was a sucess. However there is a strong resentment just under the surface for Americans. We had our large vinyl sign torn down just 24 hrs after we put it up advertising our bakery. The politico intendente is definitely anti american and is quite public about it. Its a shame as it is a beautiful place with probably the best climate in all of ecuador.
As well for those of you who don't know, my friend and real estate agent Glen Sanderse  was murdered about a month ago , he was Canadian and pleasant sort of guy, they broke into his place and stabbed him 5 times and then slit his throat. As well there were 3 rapes there over the past year. So while its beautiful , its dangerous and unfriendly and basically its a gathering place for hippies and new agers now. Its worth a visit for its beauty and then you can make your own decision.

#5 16 April 2013 05:29:49

Joseph K
Joseph K
Loja

Re: Anybody living in Vilcabamba or Loja?

Steverdude,

I am very sorry for the loss of your friend. It must have been a shock for everyone.  I hope things have greatly improved for you.

I did want to say something about crime in Ecuador because this seems to be a very common concern. Since I spend most of my time in Loja, I do have a limited view. However, I think most would agree that theft is much more common here than most parts of North America. Murder, on the other hand, is quite rare. I think, if common sense is exercised, there will be little problem. Just don't show expensive items in the open as you might in your home country. Women should be particularly careful about wearing expensive (or just looks expensive) jewelry, especially earrings. Earrings can and are sometimes simply yanked from the ear, which is very unpleasant. But, for the most part, cities like Loja are quite safe during daylight hours. After dark, caution is always advised. Maybe it is time to start another thread on crime. Sharing some good tips is always worthwhile. BTW, Your input is very appreciated. Thanks.

#6 16 April 2013 08:51:29

ActionMgt
ActionMgt
Cape Coral, Florida

Re: Anybody living in Vilcabamba or Loja?

Thank you so much for your lengthy post!  It is the best information I have gotten to date that isn't sugar coated by some International Retirement venue that is out to make a buck selling seminars! We have definitely decided to relocate out of America in about 18 mo. to two years and are trying to find a suitable place.  We are trying to find some place where we can live strictly on our $2,100 a month Social Security checks.  We keep coming back to Vilcabamba because of the delightful way it is depicted on the internet.  You have definitely given us a lot to consider!  We are also looking at Panama, Belize, Costa Rica, France, and Spain.  But for some reason I keep coming back to Vilcabamba.  Now I am not so sure!!!  I was interested in Loja because I thought it might offer more of a choice in rentals, especially with our 2 Chihuahuas, and if you have to go there once a week anyway for groceries, why not just live in Loja?  My email address is ActionMgt[at]aol.com but I don't know if I am allowed to post it on here.  We'll see if this goes through.  Again, thanks so much for enlightening me... too bad there doesn't seem to be a place anywhere that you can live peacefully and not be bothered worrying about jealous natives trying to rip earrings off your ears, destroy your efforts to start a nice little business, or worse, murder you!  I have read that over and over on all of the various country's blogs and I am rather worried about that aspect of it.  Guess we'll just have to keep looking!!!

#7 16 April 2013 11:33:35

aterosin
aterosin
talent

Re: Anybody living in Vilcabamba or Loja?

Joseph: I agree, this is the best info I've seen on these two towns. One more question...As a professional musician, Is there a pro Symphony in Loja or Vil? I know there is in Cuenca and have been in contact with the conductor. My husband and I are both musicians and want to relocate to Eucador. I've heard that Loja is music, music, music. What is the music scene like from your point of view??

#8 17 April 2013 01:12:19

Joseph K
Joseph K
Loja

Re: Anybody living in Vilcabamba or Loja?

A broader explanation would probably help here. First, Ecuadorians are generally quite poor. Many make under $400 per month, some as little as $265, the official government minimum wage. This is important because an orchestra here would be hard to sustain given what people could actually pay for the performances. The modest population of Loja, and especially Vilcabamba creates additional barriers. Vilcabamba is essentially a small hamletÖ I mean really small. Loja is much larger, but you would be surprised how many are children under the age of 15. Kids are everywhere. They bring delightful energy to this city, but it will probably be a while before they start attending Symphonies. There just arenít enough people to support an orchestra in either Loja or Vilcabamba. People really interested in symphonies drive up to Cuenca; itís only about 78 miles from here.

This is not to say that people are not interested in classical music; they seem to love every type of music. Last year, we had an Opera come to town for a few days. So, we do get a few musical venues. But, your question is, how do I see the music scene here? I would add the question, why is Loja considered the musical capital of Ecuador? The last question first.

There is a very popular music college here and many famous Ecuadorians studied at this college. This has made the college very popular, and its popularity means that the student base is very talented. I see this mostly through street (or more accurately, park) performances. Every weekend, there will be a band performing at one of the many really nice parks throughout Loja. Of course, this is free, but the musicians appreciate tips and will gladly sell you CDs of their music. The range of musical styles and the absolutely raw talent is astonishing. There is never a reason to be bored on a weekend.

#10 17 April 2013 16:06:08

Nards Barley
Nards Barley
Cuenca

Re: Anybody living in Vilcabamba or Loja?

That was a very interesting accounting of the Loja music scene. So there is at least one Gringo living in Loja. Loja certainly has the one requirement for most gringos: a Supermaxi.

#11 18 May 2013 17:28:58

Morgie
Morgie
Orlando

Re: Anybody living in Vilcabamba or Loja?

In the past year or so, I've had enough of "things." I'm preparing to get my possessions down to a minimum, not merely because I'm interested in Ecuador, but for religious reasons (it's a Catholic thing).
Simplicity is the way for me to go now. All I need is an efficiency/studio apartment with a twin bed -- near a church.
I'm a 59 year old bachelor & would prefer to live in a place where you MUST learn Spanish to survive. English isn't rampant in Loja or Vilcabamba, so it's sink or swim.
How does on find and apartment in Loja? Do you just walk around and look for signs?
Not to be ugly, but I think the expat community in Cuenca is a sort of a familiar filter for people who need to be reassured. (Having said that, Cuenca does have its charms.)

#12 18 May 2013 20:16:03

Saoirsehann

Re: Anybody living in Vilcabamba or Loja?

I think the best way to find an apartment is when you arrive. When I came 4.5 years ago, I rented an apartment via email through an expat living here and doing rentals...well, I would never had taken the apartment she rented to me had I had a choice.

I think you get what would normally hang around a while when you rent online...not saying that you can't get lucky if the Universe is supporting the move...;-)

Good luck.

#13 18 May 2013 20:25:09

escapingoth
escapingoth
Vancouver Island

Re: Anybody living in Vilcabamba or Loja?

Thats also what I have read in one of the magazine's that I read in the tips section. Wait until you get there and then look. He eventually found a nicer place, cheaper and with a better view and location.

#14 18 May 2013 21:01:32

Steverdude
Steverdude
Ibarra

Re: Anybody living in Vilcabamba or Loja?

Are you guys still thinking about Vilcabamba? After the murder of a Canadian and 3 rapes. This is a small place. You might expect this in Guayaquil but not from a tiny place like Vilcabamba. Besides the anti american sentiment from the locals

#15 18 May 2013 23:20:56

Joseph K
Joseph K
Loja

Re: Anybody living in Vilcabamba or Loja?

Cuenca is a very beautiful city and has a lot of expats from what I have been told. The expat community allows for a familiar cultural experience, which is suitable for most people who are moving to Ecuador without much cross-culture experience. I think this is a wonderful thing and helpful to many, but it is not my cup of tea. The differences in culture can be quite subtle and many miss the undercurrents. For example, I find the people I know in Loja to be very polite and non-confronting. This comes from humility, not insecurity. I have seen so many Americans speak to people with no idea how offensive they are while at the same time thinking of themselves as very polite, even quite nice. Like I said, it is subtle. Of course, the people here will not say anything, but will take note and avoid that person in the future. I moved here exactly for the reason of experiencing this different culture and I settled in Loja because I donít necessarily want the safety net of other expats.

Let me point out that I do not mean to criticize expats, although some may take it that way. It really is, I think, cultural, not personal. I have my own cultural quirks (very direct and prone to broad sweeping statements). But, here, I have to aware of myself and find joy in learning to change for, what I believe is the better.

My experience here has been a difficult one. I have been quite sick the whole time I have been here. Fortunately, early on, I found a very nice family that befriended my and invited me to stay with them. These people hardly know me, but have shuttled me back and forth to Cuenca when I needed serious medical help. Sometimes they treat me better than my own family. In ever place, you have all types of people, but I am admittedly positively biased toward Ecuadorans because of this experience. It also seems, for reason unknown, that the friends I have made here all seem to be extremely kind and helpful, without expecting any thing in return. I guess I am just lucky. But, keep in mind, my opinions are biased.

It is true that knowing Spanish is very important in Loja, although I admit that my own Spanish is very rudimentary. Being sick has made it hard to concentrate on learning, but I am slowly getting there. Most Lojanians (is there such a word?), especially the younger ones, will know a few words in English, but I have met only a few fluent in English. This may present a challenge, except maybe at SuperMaxi. A lot of expats come up from Vilcabamba to shop there. So, the staff is used to dealing with non-Spanish speaking customers. I think this might be one of the reason why a person earlier in the blog mentioned SuperMaxi as a prerequisite for most expats. But, unless you need Heintz Relish or bagels, buying in the local markets is usually a much better deal, and, again, an interesting cultural experience. Just donít expect local prices. Still, four avocados for a dollar is affordable. There are two big daily marketplaces in Loja, and two additional street markets open early just Saturday and Sunday.

Now, to your question. There are several ways to look for an apartment. I suppose the best way is to check the paper; there are listings every day. You can also just walk around looking for signs (and getting to know the neighborhoods) as well as asking people if they know of any apartments. A friend recently was looking and found a two bedroom after about three weeks of searching. He and his wife are paying $170 a month. That price is a little low, probably because the apartment is just below street level. But, I think it is very nice. Most structures here are planned so that natural light enters most rooms. Construction is almost completely concrete or brick, even the inside walls. This retains the heat of the day, so the fact that central heating is not a choice, is not a big deal. Where I stay, the inside of the house rarely drops below sixty-eight degrees and is often in the middle seventies.

Know that unfurnished apartments come without any appliances so you will have to buy a stove, refrigerator, and washer. Stoves here use (I think it is propane) gas in cylinders. I think unfurnished Apartments start around a hundred dollars more a month, but donít quote me on that and, of course, style, condition, and location have a big influence in pricing. Downtown near a church will be more expensive.

There are lots of catholic churches in Loja so finding an apartment near by should be pretty easy. But, if you like to walk, distances are quite manageable. You can cross the center of town in one direction in about 15 minutes, and about 45 minutes in the other direction. Cabs are a dollar and the bus is 25 cents (or 17 cents for elders).

There may be some other issues to consider. You might need a Cedula (national ID card) to get an apartment. I really donít know and hope someone else can address this for you. But, it does seem that you need a Cedula to do anything here. You may also need a Cedula (and a permanent Visa) to open a Bank account. Finally, you may also need to have a voterís card (or something from the Voters Commission saying you donít have to vote). I entered a discussion about this a few weeks back and someone pointed out that not everyone needs to vote. I canít vouch for that because I was required to vote in the recent election and did need a voterís card to open a bank account. I can only report my own experience. As an observation, I would say that in areas like this, where you may think what is being required is not necessary, it is usually a no win situation. Trying to negotiate around a requirement (real or otherwise) is not a skill I seem to have. Perhaps others are much better at this than I am. My point is: be sure to ask what is required for whatever you want to do before you do it.

One last general observation for anyone. If you think you would like to live in Ecuador, try visiting before you make up your mind. I would not suggest an agency-sponsored tour. For some, this may be useful (who knows), especially if you would rather spend most of the time with people from your own county. If your goal is more towards experiencing ECUADOR, then you donít want someone to steer you with lots of positive (but, perhaps a bit misleading) information. You really want to just walk around, go in and out of the stores to see what is available, look at entertainment opportunities, check out the life-style, and see what it feels like for you. This culture is very different and not everyone adjusts easily. I miss a lot from my home country, but I will only return if my health becomes unmanageable here. So, far, I am coping. Medical care here is quite good.

#16 20 May 2013 02:29:47

Nards Barley
Nards Barley
Cuenca

Re: Anybody living in Vilcabamba or Loja?

It is good to hear from somebody living in Loja. I suppose if housing costs ever get too high in Cuenca, that could be a good alternative, since the weather is similar, and the all important Supermaxi is present.

And now for the question:

There are are many tall apartment buildings in Cuenca, containing many units, which allow the cost of 24 hour security to be shared among many people.

I am curious to know if there are similar buildings in Loja that have 24 hour security?

Thanks.

#17 20 May 2013 21:52:32

mcs_guy
mcs_guy
Fort Hood (Texas)

Re: Anybody living in Vilcabamba or Loja?

Thank you for your post...very little is said about Loja. I can't handle to cold anymore and so I'm not interested in Cuenca  or even worse the higher elevation areas, even though some english speaking folk would be nice.

#18 21 May 2013 01:33:00

Joseph K
Joseph K
Loja

Re: Anybody living in Vilcabamba or Loja?

Well, I speak English, so you can speak to me :).

A followup on the Cedula. Yes,landlord will want one for a number of reasons: to check your renting history is one. Without a Cedula, you will just have to offer some incentive for him/her to rent to you. Also,the length of the contract might be important to you. Landlords here prefer to rent with a one-year lease. A 6-month is possible, but will take some convincing on your part. Anything shorter than 6-months would be very hard to find in Loja. There are rooms for rent, but they tend to be specialized (for college students only, for example) or for locals only. I am not sure exactly how they define "local," but you at least would be required to have a Cedula and speak Spanish.

When I first came here, I stayed at the Hostal Americana. The staff does not speak English, but the service and rooms were great. However, at $25 a night, the monthly fee was a lot and they would not negotiate lower rates for a longer stay. There are many places that are not quite as nice, but still nice, nor as centrally located, that are cheaper. What I am getting at is that it may make sense to plan on higher expenses until you get your permanent residency approved. Then you can settle in with longer-term accommodations that are more affordable.

#19 21 May 2013 04:10:30

Joseph K
Joseph K
Loja

Re: Anybody living in Vilcabamba or Loja?

First, I will try to answer your question about tall apartments buildings suitable for shared security expenses. There are not a lot of tall buildings - i.e., over 6 or 8 stories - in Loja. The buildings are also not that wide. I am aware of few that are housing units and some have security, but I am not sure if they are apartments or purchased units. There are none that I am aware of in the Central area. They tend to be on the east and north ends of town. On the north end, near the Terminal Terrestre (main bus terminal) there is a hostal (Hostal Delbus) which I understand is now being turned into apartments for rent. The address is  Av. 8 de Diciembre y Juan Josť Flores. It isn't that tall, but it is very nice. I would not be surprised if that building will have security when it is complete.

There does not seem to much concern here for housing security other than the ubiquitous walls, fences, and window guards. I have asked about house robberies (and crime in general) and been told that house robberies are rare, but do happen sometimes. I have walked most of the city and have never felt unsafe. But, one should stay away from the area west of the Terminal Terrestre about a kilometer into the mountains.

Now, about costs. I have not really looked into this in detail, but I am told that the cost of many things in Cuenca are lower than their counterpoints here in Loja. The ones I know of from experience are hostals. A comparable hostal in Cuenca has always been cheaper for me, and I often get a view of Tomebamba in the bargain. A friend of mine has been slowly adding floors to his office building and often goes to Cuenca for supplies. He tells me tile, cement, and other construction materials are sometimes as much as 40% lower than their Loja price. I have also priced electronics in Cuenca and found them to be a bargain not only in price, but also in selection. Finally, I did a search for apartment prices in Cuenca when I first came to Ecuador and found them to be a bit less than apartment prices here (when comparing like features). It seems very strange to me that a place that has so much less to offer is more expensive, but then it also seems strange that a house on the mountain with a spectacular view costs considerable less than one in town. Mountain housing is less desirable. I suppose it could have something to do with the instability of the mountain side which those making the 45 minute trip between Vilcabamba and Loja often witness.

#20 03 September 2013 04:30:30

randall7777
randall7777
Murrieta

Re: Anybody living in Vilcabamba or Loja?

Hello Joseph K,

I am Randy S. I am married, retired and have a little dog. My wife and I have been exploring the possibilities of leaving the USA for @ three years now. We have looked at various regions of Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, Peru, Belize, St Lucia and Russia, where my wife is from. We have tried to follow the advice of various expat sources. We have decided on Ecuador and in particular, Loja. Your Blog was extremely helpful to us. It seems to us that Loja has institutions of higher learning, is clean, the people are friendly and is overall a good choice. We are not looking for a place with a large expat community.If you would be so kind, we would like to ask a couple of questions.
First I want you to understand we are serious. We will be selling our home sometime in the next six months, getting our affairs in order and then we will move.
Our questions are this:
1. Rain. My wife in particular wants to know if it rains all day or if it is typical to have a few hours of rain a day and then sunshine.
2. We would like to know if you have any recommendations on where to stay when we arrive while looking for a place to rent.
3.Is it hard to find a place to rent that accepts a small (23lb)dog.
4. If later we decide to buy, is it very difficult to find an apartment to buy in Loja, and approximate prices.
5. We have other resources, but we would like to know if it is realistic to try to live there on a budget of $1150 per month.
6. We have rudimentary Spanish language skills, but we are trying to improve. Are there any language schools in Loja?
Thanks for your time. I understand you are having health problems. I hope you are doing well.

Best regards,
Randall and Natalia Smith

#21 03 September 2013 06:54:31

BZULAUF
BZULAUF
Newport, OR

Re: Anybody living in Vilcabamba or Loja?

Joseph K, Great information, thanks for taking the time to post this very helpful information. I'm thinking the way you are about fitting in. Best to your health.

#26 20 December 2013 22:31:52

davidrsl
davidrsl
Loja

Re: Anybody living in Vilcabamba or Loja?

I enjoyed your post, Joseph K.
We returned to Loja to live on Dec. 4th, after having visited for nearly a month last year at this time. We came from Maine so the contrast in weather at this time of year is a greatly welcomed  thing.

We have found the people here astoundingly helpful and friendly. A local hotel manager drove us around and helped us find an apartment, shopped with us for furniture and appliances and continues to help in many things. Several others are helpful as well.

Our apartment is a 3BR, 2 1/2 Ba, newly remodeled and $250 a month.

#27 11 January 2014 22:39:09

blackjack72
blackjack72
Brooklyn, NY

Re: Anybody living in Vilcabamba or Loja?

@aterosin We are also musicians and are interested in the arts life. We hear that Loja has a conservatory and two orchestras. Have you heard this? We are probably 4 yrs. from actually  moving, but would really enjoy sharing info!

#30 12 January 2014 01:01:49

davidrsl
davidrsl
Loja

Re: Anybody living in Vilcabamba or Loja?

Yes, blackjack72, $250 a month. 3 BR 2 1/2 baths and all new, unfurnished, of course. Propane gas for stove and water heater costs me about $5.00 a month and the wife does a lot of cooking.

#31 03 February 2014 14:45:06

pmartini2
pmartini2
Castle Bruce

Re: Anybody living in Vilcabamba or Loja?

davidrsl
I would love to know which hotel your wonderful hotel manager was at and what his name was.  I would love to meet him for him to possibly do the same for me - help me find an apartment etc.,

#32 09 February 2014 17:06:42

Paul Otto
Paul Otto
Gent

Re: Anybody living in Vilcabamba or Loja?

I'm interested in looking for place to stay for one month and look for  a place for six months to retire,  I neet an apt. Walking distance to restaurants and stores , bars etc. one room with private bath,shower,
Ref rids and bed and some furniture  my net budget is $1200 mo
I like it to be in a neighborhood  where
weekly renters are available for visiting guest. .  Comments  are greatly appreciated. Paul

#33 14 February 2014 22:11:51

Joe GringoTino
Joe GringoTino
hollywood

Re: Anybody living in Vilcabamba or Loja?

We are interested in visiting Loja sometime next year 2015. I'm a minister, ex-cop and would like to do some form of ministry n social service volunteering in South America when i approach retirement age. Any  Baptist Churches in Loja and may i get some info? My email chaplainjoegomez (at) aol.com. Thank you so much for the honest, candid info. Guess Vilcabamba may not be in my sights, Blessings, Joe

#34 14 February 2014 23:13:20

BobH
BobH
Quito

Re: Anybody living in Vilcabamba or Loja?

Joe GringoTino wrote:

We are interested in visiting Loja sometime next year 2015. I'm a minister, ex-cop and would like to do some form of ministry n social service volunteering in South America when i approach retirement age. Any  Baptist Churches in Loja and may i get some info? My email chaplainjoegomez (at) aol.com. Thank you so much for the honest, candid info. Guess Vilcabamba may not be in my sights, Blessings, Joe

This is a blog by a family of missionaries in Loja. The post I've linked to makes reference to a First Baptist Church of Loja, though I can't find any web page for such a church. The people at the blog might be able to help you out.

#36 16 February 2014 23:59:53

karenBH
karenBH
Vancouver

Re: Anybody living in Vilcabamba or Loja?

Fave snake stories.  That's what you are hearing.  I live in Vancouver and people travel around, by themselves, at night, all the time. Still, unpleasant things happen. I ALWAYS feel paranoid when travelling in the States - anywhere. I have visited Ecuador and I think you shouldn't travel alone at night anywhere in Ecuador but especially in the cities -Loja, Quito, Cuenca, Quayaquil and have heard the same about major european cities. I have heard only one anti american story, posted here on this blog; I have a close friend living in Vilca who keeps me up todate and receive three blogs from Ecuador including Vilca and will be going there, at least temporaily, in September. The murder and rapes were I believe done by one or two people who are now in jail.  that was two years ago. the Loja symphony appears to be quite active from posts I have seen and will travel on occassion to Vilca.  Vilca is quiet except for the damn roosters and that megahorn whenever anything is happening.  I haved lived less than one block from both a light rail transit and a railroad and I can sleep through anything. the local market is fun but it is tiny. Loja is a small city and fun to visit.  I think it is true that you should come here and experience it.

#37 18 February 2014 04:27:14

xoie
xoie
Cuenca

Re: Anybody living in Vilcabamba or Loja?

So strange, everyone keeps talking about how cold Cuenca is. I've been here a month and every day feels hot to me. The sun is very intense. I wear short sleeves and can't believe all the locals with their sweaters. I have to wear a hat and sunglasses the sun is so intense. Of course I'm from cold, gloomy Michigan so maybe that's why. I look forward to the cooler months (July, August and sept) when I can experience some fall like weather and actually wear my sweaters.

#38 19 February 2014 23:16:01

cindylstorc
cindylstorc
Durango

Re: Anybody living in Vilcabamba or Loja?

Xoie...we are leaving for Cuenca on 3/1.  So happy to hear you are warm.  The person we're staying with told us to bring lots of warm stuff for the house because it's so cold in the AM.  I was a little worried as how to pack.

#39 20 February 2014 07:49:51

Danf87
Danf87
Lima

Re: Anybody living in Vilcabamba or Loja?

Thanks for the valuable information everyone, greatly appreciated. I am currently planning a visit to Vilcabamba for a possible relocation from Lima Peru where I am at right now. How long does it take to recieve that ID you mentioned for the purpose of opening a bank account? I also have a Peruvian DNI if that matters. I will be happy to answer any q's once I arrive there.

Dan

#40 02 March 2014 10:03:48

murdoch68
murdoch68
GHENT

Re: Anybody living in Vilcabamba or Loja?

Hi Paul, my name is Bart and I'm living in Gent as well. I'm also considering to move to Ecuador and will travel to that great country April 10 till April 22nd. We may want to meet one day in Gent to exchange ideas, what you think?
I'm 54 years old btw and native Belgian.
Would be nice to hear from you
KRGDS
BART

(Moderated: Please avoid leaving your phone number on the forum)

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