Loja Day Trips

Parque Nacional Podocarpus – is known as the “Garden of Ecuador” because of the biological diversity of its plant species. The high-altitude cloudforest of the Cajanuma entrance lies about 15 kilometers outside of Loja. Take a day hike or trek into the forest to reach the “Lagunas del Compadre”, a series of crystal blue lagoons. The Bombuscaro entrance is through Zamora, and is a tropical rainforest. Its lower altitude makes for a warm and humid climate, and tropical flora and fauna. Check with BioTours or the ArcoIris Foundation in Loja for more information. Catch a bus headed in the direction of Vilcabamba or Zamora, depending upon which part of the park you choose to explore.

Valley outside of Vilcabamba.
Photo by Molly Boeder.

Vilcabamba – the ride itself makes the adventure worth it! This downhill trip, which many attempt on bike, offers some of the most breathtaking views in Ecuador. Once in Vilcabamba, you can actively explore the mountains, or revel in the mellow, slow paced atmosphere for which this pueblo is famous. Check withCaballos Gavilan in Parque Central for mountain top horse excursions, climb to the peak of Mt. Mandango looming in the distance, or head to the nearbyHostal Madre Tierra for a decadent afternoon of massage, mudbaths, and facials! Buses leave every hour from the Terminal Terrestre to Vilcabamba or taxi’s leaving from the “taxi ruta station” will cruise you (and four other people) south much faster.

Loja Travel
Suspended bridge in
Podocarpus National Park.
Photo by Molly Boeder.

Saraguro – the main attraction of this Indigenous town is the excellent handcrafts found at its Sunday market. Saraguro, located just 2 hours north of Loja, is a small town where the local Saraguros have successfully preserved their Indigenous traditions. Saraguro is accessible by bus from Loja’s Terminal Terrestre.

Related EE.com Pages
Vilcabamba Overview
Loja Overview
Loja Nightlife & Entertainment
Loja Orientation Transportation
Loja Page by V!VA Travel Guides