About ‘Life in Loja’

“Life in Loja” is passionate about sharing all that Loja has to offer with tourists and residents alike.

“Life in Loja” is a Spanish – English bilingual tour company with Loja’s most well known and recognizable interactive bilingual tour operator who also provides a broad range of services in English and Spanish. 

Working with thousands of visitors from all over the world, our operators have excellent reviews and are trusted to help you have the best dream vacation or make your relocation to our beautiful city in Southern Ecuador easier. 

Come and explore Loja with us for one of the safest, cleanest, greenest, and most authentic “off the beaten path” experiences you will find in In Ecuador.

Our Team

Our team in Loja is dedicated to improving both travellers’ and locals’ experience of our city and Southern Ecuador. Visiting Loja for a short time, or relocating long-term, can be challenging for people new to the Spanish language and Ecuadorian Andean culture. Our internationally experienced team provides specialized knowledge and English language services that smooth the way for you to get the most out of Loja and the surrounding region. Whether you are doing solo travel, or coming as a couple or family, we can make your trip memorable and fun. Or, if you are scouting for a new place to live in Ecuador, let us show you all Loja has to offer.

Here are some comments our clients and users have posted on our Facebook page:

FAQ

FAQ, General Questions

What is it that “Life in Loja” does, exactly?
We offer tours in southern Ecuador, help tourists with detailed information about how to get the most out of their visit, we provide authentic tour itineraries and activities, and we help visitors and expats with translation and interpreting services. We offer information about the current events in the province, and promote the city and the province. We direct tourists to the best places in Loja to enjoy their visit.
Besides tourist activities, what else do you do?

In addition to our extensive experience with visitors and foreign residents in the tourism business, Life in Loja has received many requests for assistance with tasks requiring fluency in Spanish which were outside of typical tourist activities. We continue to receive requests for help with medical, legal, and other tasks that require Spanish fluency, so we have constructed this web page and social media for those who need to find help more easily.

How do I arrange for booking a tour or scheduling a time for other help?

We have many ways to be reached to discuss your timing and needs – use whichever method is best for you. You can contact us via Email, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, our chat-window, or contact form. We usually respond within an hour, but no later than 24 hours.

How much do you charge for your help?
We charge the standard rate in our area for a translator, plus expenses. We would be happy to discuss this with you. Contact us any time. Our clients compliment us on our prompt response.
Who is on your ‘Team’?
Life in Loja’s team consists of partners and consultants with professional training and experience in touring, journalism, writing, interpreting, translating, teaching, business, and photography.
How do I get a quote for your services?

You can contact us in a number of ways. Use whichever method is most convenient for you. You can contact us via Email, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, our chat-window, or contact form. We will respond no later than 24 hours, however, usually we will respond within an hour.

Is it easy to contact you?

We have been told by many of our clients that we have a very rapid response time for all inquiries. It is easiest to reach us with WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. We are usually able to respond 24/7.

What qualifies Life in Loja for this type of work?

We have met and worked with over a thousand foreign visitors in Loja in the past several years. We have hosted many cultural tours, provided interpreting and translating services for a number of issues, helped prospective foreign residents and retirees see Loja and the surrounding region, and have given personal and individualized assistance based on our clients’ needs. Our team also has the necessary academic certification to provide these types of services, or we will be sure to help you find qualified local professionals who do.

Can I get references for you from your clients?
Yes, we will furnish them for you upon request.

FAQ, Tour Questions

Where is Loja, Ecuador and why would I want to visit there?

Loja is the name of our province and also the name of our city which is the provincial capital. Located in Western South America in the Andes mountain range of Southern Ecuador, Loja is the last urban area before reaching Ecuador’s border with Peru. It is accessible by two international airports, automobile, and other forms of private and public transportation. Loja has a mild climate, one of the world’s most varied biospheres, and an ethnically diverse population with a long and interesting history. The city and province are not ‘over-visited’ destinations by corporate tourism. As the ‘Arts Capital’ of Ecuador, Loja has a rich and interesting cultural life.

What else is Loja known for?

Loja is a UNESCO nominee to become a world heritage site for music, and is considered a performing arts center for the country as host of Ecuador’s largest annual live arts festival, the “FIAVL” Festival Internacional de Artes Vivas. At the southern end of Ecuador’s Andes Mountain range, our province is known for spectacular views, beautiful waterfalls, and stunning lagoons. In Loja, it is possible to visit every climate zone in Ecuador by travelling very small distances. Because of this climate and geographical diversity, Loja also has one of the most diverse biomes, or biological communities, of plant and animal species on Earth. Nearby the city of Loja in a little over or under an hour’s drive, these natural attributes are on display in Vilcabamba, “The Sacred Valley of Longevity,” in two of Ecuador’s national parks – Podocarpus and Yacuri, and in Zamora – a gateway to Ecuador’s southern Amazon.

What types of tours do you provide?
We have historic tours, cultural immersion tours, scenic tours, coffee tours, and culinary tours with already planned itineraries for you to choose. We also design tours and trips to our visitors’ specifications.
What are the most popular tours?

Life in Loja’s most popular tours are our ‘City Tour’, ‘Coffee Tours’ (farm and urban), and ‘The Expat Immersion Tour’ of Loja and Vilcabamba that explores local neighborhoods.

How long are your tours?
Half day, one day, and several days are the most popular. We are flexible and can book longer excursions depending on your preferences.
Can you help me find accommodations or hotels and make my travel arrangements to and from while I’m in Loja?
We will be very happy to help you find accomodations that suit your tastes and your budget.
When are the festivals, celebrations, and special events in Loja?

You can get up-to-date information about special events in Life In Loja’s Facebook discussion group or a more general schedule of important dates in our blog

What makes Life in Loja tour guides good?
In a word, we are passionate about our city and province. Off the beaten path of corporate tour companies, Loja is an opportunity to see Ecuador “your way.” Our great undiscovered location makes this project a joy for us and our visitors. Born and raised in Loja, we have deep knowledge of all the hidden places. We know it because we’ve lived it. Our pride and enthusiasm for Loja’s natural, historic, and cultural heritage is infectious. Our bilingual ability makes us effective communicators, plus we are always digging for new facts, new places, and new local people, so that we can document and provide high value information and experiences to our visitors. We are not the typical travel agency. We are interested in what interests you. We welcome your questions.
Am Iable to make a tour reservation on short notice?
Most likely, yes. We understand that sometimes the opportunity to travel may present itself suddenly. Our flexibility in scheduling, and also in creating customized tours, allows us to quickly adapt to visitors’ needs.

FAQ, Services Questions

Why would I want to retire here?
Ecuador is often in the top ten of retirement destinations for North Americans and Europeans. Ecuador also offers a variety of climates paired with desirable amenities and reasonably-priced housing. US dollars as the national currency is also convenient for US residents. Loja, in particular, offers a mild climate that requires no home heating or air conditioning, a good public transportation system, good public and private health systems, Western-style supermarkets, and proximity to one of the best South American international airports in Guayaquil. Our team will provide any information you need, and you can read more in our blog.
If I am considering retiring in Loja or Southern Ecuador, how can you help me?
“Life in Loja” will help you look for places to live, find qualified medical and legal professionals, see the amenities available in Loja like shopping and utilities, tour local recreation areas, arrange transportation, and find answers to all the questions you may have about relocation. We are bilingual guides and interpreters who help you with all of this and so much more. It is possible to discover these things on your own, but Life in Loja will help you make the most of your time and money while you are visiting.
How are you different from other translators and English language guides in Loja? Why would I choose you?

As a tour operator, we have served over 1500 visitors to Loja in two years. As the only fully bilingual guides in the area, we were able to provide an excellent and in depth experience for our clients. It was natural that visitors would trust us to help them with the details of relocation if they were settling in Loja. As life-long residents of the city, the principal partner in Life in Loja has a degree in tourism from the national university in Loja and graduated fourth in his class in the University’s English program. None of the other tour operators or guides in Loja have these qualifications.

What about your translation services?

We provide bilingual Spanish to English and English to Spanish interpreting and translating in Loja. We can help you translate your transactions and consultations with professionals in different fields (legal, medical).

What is the difference between interpreting, translating , and an English language guide?
All three are about communicating in more than one language. Interpreting is restating what was spoken in another language, like repeating in English what someone else said in Spanish. Translating is similar but done in written form (rewriting a document in the alternate language). Guided bilingual tours means the guide speaks in one or both languages as needed.
What is the role of an interpreter in healthcare?
Most health care interpreters are responsible for providing face-to-face interpreting between patients and healthcare providers.
How can I save money on healthcare by using your services?
You’ve probably looked at tourist agencies that offer medical tourism packages. Those arrangements may have as much as a 30% upcharge from the healthcare providers’ normal pricing, and they may not be the best doctors or dentists. We find the best providers for you, giving you two or more to choose from, and charge only a standard hourly rate for interpretation services if you need them. This can result in significant savings.
What is ‘cultural immersion’?
Cultural immersion is the experience of surrounding yourself with the local culture of the place you are visiting. Learning the local language is considered part of this experience. Other important factors include using the correct social greeting with the right vocal tone, and respecting local customs are very unique in different zones of the globe. The cultural immersion we offer will make your stay in this area of southern Ecuador better and take you to a deeper understanding of local traditions.
What is a fixer?
A fixer is a business to business (B2B) service provider that helps lay the groundwork for foreign companies with local projects. Fixers have most often done advance location work for foreign film crews and journalists. Fixers are also interpreters, guides, sourcing agents, and logistics managers for foreign companies at their project’s location.
What are the advantages to hiring a Fixer?
Time and money: fixers save businesses both things. A production company could send an advance person with good language skills if the project is simple, but will still spend more time and resources organizing the production. With a complex project, it will be nearly impossible. Interpreting and in-depth knowledge that only a local would have are key for bringing a project in on budget for any type of business.

General Facts

  • Location: southern Ecuador
  • Population size: 200,000 (Loja); 2500 (Vilcabamba)
  • Expat community approx. 200 in Loja; 1000 in Vilcabamba
  • Average temperature range: 60F to 72F (Loja); 68F to 80F (Vilcabamba)
  • Average sunshine of 4-5 hours daily
  • Elevation 2060 m (6758 ft) above sea level (Loja); 1600m (5230 ft) (Vilcabamba)
  • Rainfall seasonally varies throughout the year from 2-5 inches per month.
  • Universities: 3
  • One of the lowest crime rates for any Ecuadorian city
  • Founded 1548
  • Hospitals and Clinics: over 20

Cost of Living

  • Apartment – $150 to over $1000 per month (depending on location, size, and if furnished or unfurnished)
  • Internet – basic plans start at $20/mo (internet only); internet+TV+phone plans start at $48
  • Cell Phone – most people buy prepaid minutes as needed instead of monthly plans
  • Grocery – public markets offer inexpensive items; monthly shopping cost depends on family size and the purchase amount of imported foodstuffs vs. Ecuadorian products
  • Gas – for cooking and hot water approx. $3-5 per month
  • Water – tap water $7-10 per month, bottled water (if desired) about $20/mo. Depending on family size
  • Gasoline – $1.85 per gallon
  • Public transportation – 1500 taxis. 10 public bus lines. $0.30 for bus ride; $1.25 minimum for taxi (day) or $1.40 (night)

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