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Loja

Having a dispute with a tenant or landlord? Rental Law discussion

Loja

Postby Boote » Fri Dec 02, 2016 4:05 am

Hi Patty,

I’m having second thoughts, and thinking that it would be better to spend precious vacation time in Loja rather than Salinas, because it seems more livable for us, practically speaking, and seems to be someplace where Layne and I might seriously consider living.  In addition, I’ve gotten comments from more than a few people that Salinas is a real tourist trap, complete with flies and mosquitoes.  I won’t discard it completely from my list of possibilities, but rather will save it to check out on my second and longer stay in Ecuador.

Are you familiar with Gringo Tree, the want ads section of CuencaHighLife ezine?  Through it I’ve made several very helpful acquaintances.  But I haven’t asked for information about Loja on it yet, as I know that you would be the best source for that.  However, I’ve met through Gringo Tree a couple who is not   only on the same flight from Miami as we are, and is staying in Cuenca approximately the same time frame as we are, but was also considering a few days in Salinas and now has opted instead for Loja!  It’s a small world!

I’ll try not to inundate you with questions about Loja, but will start off with just a few.  First, where’s a good place to stay(that is safe and clean, has wi-fi, cable TV, elevator if more than two floors, convenient location, not too noisy, might have a view, and is reasonably priced?  They don’t necessarily have to speak English.)

Second, do you have a van service that you use that might also go to Cuenca in addition to Guayaquil?

Do you have any suggestions as to what we might do in our two and a half days there(the 29 and 30th, and half of the 31st)?  We like almost all kinds of music, English-speaking movies, indoor swimming, billiards, golf(not to play, but just to check out a course or two, and maybe drive a few balls), people-watching and –meeting, and possibly a half-day city tour.  We don’t hike or bike-ride.  (It’s early in the morning and my brain isn’t awake enough yet to think of more likes and dislikes.)

Where is the Loja airport in relation to the city?  Is it convenient?

That's it for now.

As usual, your time and effort are appreciated.

Thanks.  Have a good day.

Katie

ANSWER: Hi Katie!     I tend to agree about Salinas. Again, it depends on what someone is looking for but to me it has become(from what I've heard) like a board walky vacation type place more than somewhere to live. Still & all before you finally decide you probably should check it out. Who knows? Everyone is different. You might like it. Also the climate where you're from California to begin with. I, on the other hand am from Boston so, although I don't like the winter per se w/ snow & ice I definitely don't take kindly to a lot of heat.     Loja is definitely a more liveable, walkable place although cooler. Salinas is hot. Very few if any mosquitos in Loja. Flies sometimes especially on the farms.     No I have never heard of Gringo Tree. Nor have I ever seen or heard of Cuenca High Life Magazine. Never really bothered doing much research on Cuenca. Overall Loja, Zamora and places south of Cuenca are more my areas.     That's very convenient that the other couple is on the same flight & that they're also going to Cuenca. It'll give you & Layne some people to travel with, chat to, hang out with & share opinions about the places you visit with.     People might be surprised to know that Loja along with having $7 a night hostels with dom style rooms & bathrooms in the hall way also have everything in between all the way up to and including 3, 4 & 5 star hotels such as the Libertador to name but one. That being said in my opinion the one that checks all your boxes would be Hostal Aguilera Internacional. The address is Sucre 01-08 y Av. Emiliano Ortega. Their email address is [email protected]

Phone numbers are 011-59-372-584-660; 011-59-372-572-892; 011-59-372-572-461 & 011-59-372-572-894.

They have a bar, restaurant, lounge, free parking lot, hot water, gym, sauna etc. Although the data I checked didn't say so I would say they almost definitely have wi fi.

It is definitely a safe clean place. It is centrally located CLOSE to down town but not IN down town thus the area will not be crowded or noisy. It's a mid range hotel price wise. On 2 sides there is no view. On one side there is the Puerta de Cuidad(or gate of the city). In Loja it's very famous & everyone from Loja is very proud of it. It's a bridge with a castle on top of it. I could find you places that might have better views but they'd be outside of town & off the beaten track more. There is a Ho Jo's but it's at the total opposite end of town & isn't near ANYTHING except the biggest super market in Loja so....... I don't know if anyone there speaks English. In Loja you will come across people here & there who do. I am sure you would in the 3-5 star ones but again, their idea of speaking English is subjective if you know what I mean. Half the time when they DO talk English I can't understand them anyway so I switch them back to Spanish because it's easy for me to understand & not as much of a struggle for them.

No I'm sorry to say I don't know of a van service either from Guayaquil to Cuenca nor Cuenca to Loja. IF the other couple is traveling with you(& hopefully they are) since a van from either of those places to the other is quite high($200-$300 from Guayaquil to LOJA) so you could split the cost.

Here is the deal on the airport. There is an airport that services Loja. It is located in Catamayo(what locals refer to as La Toma) BUT you have the bad luck to be coming while they are putting in a new tower & runways so it is & will be closed.(Otherwise it would be about a 30 min. drive from the airport to Loja).

However on a brighter note the drive from Cuenca to Loja is breathtaking. Literally & on the outskirts of Cuenca the colonial architecture is glorious. Here is my suggestion. You will DEFINITELY want to travel during the day. You could take a bus for under $10 ea. but...........

I used to take the bus but I have gotten to the point where I am tired of it. I like to travel at my own speed, be able to stop to get a drink or a bite to eat when I want or stretch my legs. I want to leave when I want & be able to stop & take a photo or admire a view etc. etc. so I now always hire a vehicle. That is my recommendation. At your hotel tell the clerk what you want - a van or 4 dr. pick up truck(depending on how much luggage you have & if all 4 of you will be going together, etc. etc.). Tell them what day & time you want to leave etc. Then ask them if they can find someone for you, how much it will cost etc. I would be sure to say "If it is too much we'll just take the bus" because if they think you are typical Gringos & that money is no object forget it. Or if you do have some contacts(other Gringos) from the web sites you've visited you might go to them FIRST because THEY will have local contacts & can get it for you much cheaper. Cuenca to Loja is only 3 - 3 1/2 hrs. & I promise you a glorious view along the way. There is Cajas National Park where llamas roam wild on the roads. And the mountain & valley views are outstanding.

If you do decide to go with the bus I suggest you stop by the bus terminal & find out what times they have buses going from Cuenca to Loja & buy your tickets in advance & ask for 2 seats together as close to the front of the bus as possible.

Although there are car rentals 1st of all you'd get lost even though it's a fairly straight shot from Cuenca to Loja and it is not like here. No such thing as a rental coming with insurance. If you get into an accident you have to pay 100% for BOTH cars & if they are totaled........... That's on you because you are the foreigner. No matter what you do DON'T rent a car anywhere in Ecuador. Trust me.

As for things to do in Loja when you mentioned a golf course I actually laughed. I don't know if they even know what golf is except maybe they might have seen it in a movie. Definitely no golf courses.

There is a movie theater located at Hipervalle which is the mall in Loja. It has been MY experience that almost ALL movies are in English with Spanish subtitles. Only thing I will say is you probably shouldn't expect to find a movie that just came out in the theaters here. Then again it's hard to say. One time when I lived there I went to rent a VCR tape or DVD & I was talking to my grown up son on the phone. He said to me "What movie?" When I told him the name he was livid. I had rented it for 25 cents(it WAS a VCR tape - now I remember) & it was a pirated copy & HE had just paid $15 here to see it in a theater. Now I don't THINK they have pirate movies at the theater but I am not sure.

Billiards.... There is a pool hall on a street called Lauro Guerrera however I don't think it would probably be your cup of tea. It is all young men(mostly) and I don't even think they allow women there. At least they didn't. I know because I LOVE to play pool & they wouldn't let me in. Swimming pools - there are several. One is in Jipiro our big & marvelous park which you MUST visit(preferably on a Sun. if you are able or if not at least a Sat.). There is another at the military base. Name of the base is Cabo Minacha. If you just tell the cab driver "Cabo Minacha" he'll take you there, then when you get to the gate say "piscina" which means swimming pool. There is another municipal pool which I believe is on the same street as Cabo Minacha but a little before you get to the military base from the hotel but I don't know the name or if it even has a name. I'd suggest you just tell the cab driver "piscina municipal" & he'll know right where it is.

I'm going to continue this later Katie because I have some people coming over. But I will continue with a few more suggestions of places to go & see.

In the mean time you have the name of the hotel & I will continue this tomorrow.          Talk to you soon      Patty

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Hi, Patty

For whenever you have the time to answer....I still have lots of time left before I leave. Yes, that’s a good idea about sharing a van to Cuenca, and a taxi or van to Loja(perforce). Have you ever seen Super-Taxi Cuenca vehicles in the Guayaquil bus station? I’m told they have service between Guayaquil and Cuenca, but I don’t know if they are more like a taxi/van, or more like a bus.

How about the drive from Loja to Guayaquil to catch my flight home — whom would you use for that leg of the trip?

Hostal Aguilera Internacional sounds great to me.  Thanks.

No, I wouldn’t dream of renting a car.  I avoid doing that even in the States. OK, so golf, billiards, and movies are out.  I’ll probably be too tired for much else.  Anyway, I probably won’t even have time for more than a half-day city tour and a conversation with a realtor or two.

Speaking of realtors—any recommendations there?  How can I be sure that they won’t show me places with inflated Gringo prices?

Last question:  favorite budget restaurant in Loja?

That ought to do it for me for a while.

Hope you and your guests had a good time.

Thanks so much.

Katie
Boote
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Tue Jan 07, 2014 6:40 pm

Loja

Postby Aniweta » Sat Dec 03, 2016 9:32 pm

Hey Katie!    First of all, how many days do you plan on being in Loja? I'd suggest if you're going to make the trip from Cuenca to Loja you plan on spending several days.    I've never hear of Super-Taxis but then I don't know about everything. Far from it. Doesn't sound like a bus to me. Might be a good option if you've decided against Tame to go to Cuenca. Just from the name I'd assume probably more along the lines of a van.    I wish I had an answer for you. I used to always take the bus from Loja back to Guayaquil until last year. My brother in law's best friend took me. He had a mini school bus so a big group of us went & stayed at my sister in law's in Guayaquil. This year I know her husband is picking me up at the airport & I'm going to stay at her house one night then, as far as I know he is taking me himself to Loja or, if he is tied up a friend or relative of his will do it. As for my return to Guayaquil I still haven't gotten that nailed down yet but will probably start to look into it as soon as I get there. There isn't a regular van service. Your options would be either a bus which costs about $10 & you could take a night one so you could sleep most of the way through. Or you could check around & talk to some taxi drivers & tell them you're looking for a van or 4 dr. pickup willing to take you to Guayaquil. Again, your best bet would be to try to hook up w/ that other couple & split the fare. I'm just saying because you're looking at Probably $200 best case scenario & $300 worst. I'd try to bargain with them & be emphatic. I wouldn't pay $300 but have paid $200. I wish I could be more help & give you names but I often pay people I know if no one in the family has a new enough vehicle that is able to make it on such a long ride. But people over there buy & sell their cars left & right so I never know from year to year who will have what. I have to kind of wing it if you know what I mean.     There are some real estate offices there but....... I wouldn't suggest that. I would suggest looking on your own. Real estate agents charge top dollar, take you only to the most expensive places & definitely have "Gringo prices". A one fare cab ride in Loja within a reasonable distance is $1 so I'd suggest you drive around & look for signs saying "Alquilar" which means "rent" or "se vende" which means "for sale" then stop & look and ask price yourself. There is also the Loja newspaper. It can be found at www.lahora.com.ec

Then when it comes up over to the right & down a little is a box which names a bunch of towns. Click on Loja which is top right. Then scroll down & on the left you'll see a little white box

which will have 3 different "classificados". Click on each one individually & look through them either while you're in Cuenca before you leave or after you get to Loja. Shouldn't take you long. Between the 3 of them you'll find some apartments, condos & houses for rent. Just for a lark take a cab to them, check them out, find out how much the rent is, etc. etc. That will give you a good idea of the reality. If you go with a realtor you'll never have any clue what prices really are. And although they are beginning to have realtors in Loja it is still a fairly new & virtually unknown thing. Ecuadorians do it by signs & word of mouth still.        I don't think you'll be disappointed w/ the hotel I recommended. And I'm glad you won't be renting a car. Can't speak for Cuenca local cab prices but I'd imagine $2 to $3 per fare. It's a bigger city so more $. Loja on the other hand unless you're taking a 15 - 20 min. cab ride the fare IS $1. Don't let them Gringo charge you. Give them $1 and say "Gracias". If they try for more shake your head & say "Gracias". You will be correct & within your rights. Most won't even try but occasionally some do. IF you're going further SOME fares might run you $1.50 to $2. Another option would be to hire one for hours or the day. It'd still be fairly inexpensive say $30 - $40(of course you'd have to negotiate & haggle) but you get a free tour guide who knows the city, probably knows houses, apartments & condos to rent, good restaurants, knows where everything is, etc. In cases like this it would be very nice & acceptable to buy the cabbie a lunch(bear in mind we're only talking $2 - $3 per person so no big deal). Treat him like a "friend" & he'll treat you like one. As long as you show them that they are awesome people in Loja. I usually buy them a coke if I am getting one or offer them a cigarette(I smoke) & they take right to me & can't do enough for me. I've even had THEM try to take ME to THEIR houses for lunch. lol        My very favorite restaurant in Loja is a Mexican restaurant run by a couple who is originally from Guayaquil. They are wonderful people. It's all family run & home made. It isn't spicy Mexican. It is called "Mero Mero" & is located on Called Sucre entre Jose Antonio Engeguiren y Colon. Any taxi driver should know it. Or just say Sucre y Colon. It is almost but not quite on the corner. They are NOT open Sundays but are every other day. It's so good you'll probably go more than once.        Just so you know you probably won't be able to find what you consider an American breakfast. There is no such thing as bacon & eggs or breakfast sausage, muffins, donuts, pancakes or french toast. I suggest HUMAS. It is something like a hand ground, home made steamed corn bread which they will fry for you if you ask them to. It is to die for! I would suggest for breakfast a place that is about 4 blocks from the hotel called "Loja Tamale". They have coffee & humas. And, if you're looking for a quick snack any time during the day you HAVE TO TRY their "empanadas de verde". They are just unspeakably delicious. Again, ask for them fried. And they also have, of course, tamales. Now I imagine living in California you have had Mexican tamales. These are altogether different. Very, very good! I suggest you & Layne try one with a cup of coffee or a soda. These 3 items are some of my very favorite foods in Ecuador. Don't get them in Guayaquil though. They are more food from the Sierra(mountainous center of the country) & they don't make them well on the coast.        Another restaurant is located right across from the bus terminal. There is a round about right in front of the bus terminal & diagnally across the street there is a tall narrow hotel & right to the left of it is a restaurant with "Parrilladas" in the name(I THINK). There is also a fast food chicken joint there. That isn't what I mean. This place is to the left of the chicken place. Sorry I have an awful memory & the name just escapes me totally. This is a nice, sit down restaurant w/ a salad bar and good meals. Don't be afraid of the prices though. I imagine you'd be talking $6-$7 a plate - something like that. Mero Mero is even less. Food in Loja is not expensive. Empanadas de verde are 80 cent to $1. Humas & tamales are like 75 cents. You won't starve in Loja nor will it break the bank. Very cheap place to live & be.        I hope you will be in Loja on a weekend. I think you would really enjoy Jipiro park. It has a small zoo, a pond with paddle boats, a swimming pool, volley ball courts, soccer courts, basketball courts, a skate boarding rink, local Indians called Saraguros who sell hand made jewlery, leather etc. CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP. Let's see what else - there is a little planetarium there, playground, a little restaurant(very local-ish you would be roughing it), vendors selling popcorn to eat or feed to the ducks, cotton candy, ice cream, chips etc. There are sometimes free shows or concerts. There is a pond with paddle boats & an island in the center with live monkeys. There is horse back riding(50 cents a ride & YES I am serious). Heavens they have everything & it's huge. It's a great way to spend a weekend day people watching. Half the families in Loja will be there. I promise you & Layne will enjoy Jipiro & you'll see typical locals & how they spend their Sundays.         If you would like to see Podocarpus National Park which is absolutely lovely I will suggest that you do it via Vilcabamba. There are mini vans called Vilcatours that leave constantly from the bus terminal & cost like $1.50 - $2 ea. way. It is a 30-40 min. ride ea. way. Once you get off the mini van go to the central park/square. It is 2 short blocks down from the main road where the mini van drops you off. Go to the opposite corner of the park(far, left corner) & just beyond the corner they rent either bikes or horses(your choice) & offer(cheap) guided tours in Podocarpus. It is lovely & relaxing. I think you'd both enjoy it very much if you have a day free & you just want to enjoy yourselves in southern Ecuador.        There is also a cute little zoo in Loja. Just tell the cabbie you want to go to "El zoologico" or "La Jirafa" & they'll take you. It's 3 mins. by cab from your hotel & a nice little "walking zoo" & if you go through out through the back gate they have a lovely botanical garden w/ amazing orchids etc. Admission price is $1 or less for the who thing zoo & botanical gardens. And there is a little snack bar right near the entrance w/ great home made fried dough among other things.        Again, depending on how long you'll be in Loja & what you like to do another suggestion I would have would be the water park in Catamayo or as the locals say "La Toma". Now mind you it is & it isn't a water park. It's called "Agua Mania" & it is absolutely gorgeous. Little private decks w/ hand made picnic tables w/ hand made bamboo & dried grass umbrellas & palm trees everywhere. They have everything from kiddie pools to water tubes to lap pools, hot tubs, saunas & everything in between. It's about 30-40 mins. from Loja one way & again a nice place to spend a day. More peaceful on a week day for sure. Or if you go on a weekend go earlier. I believe it's $3 to get in & there are showers, lockers, changing rooms, snack bar, etc. etc. There is a restaurant but I DON'T recommend it!        If only you had more time down there I'd suggest a few days trip to Zamora. Oh my now that we're on "my turf" so to speak I have so many ideas & suggestions flying around in my head I don't know where to start. Why don't I let you digest all this info & you can get back to me with any questions or comments you might have. Talk to you soon          Patty
Aniweta
 
Posts: 51
Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:13 am


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