The Loja Province in Southern Ecuador deserves far more than the single weekend I had to explore. In fact, my short visit to this area just whet my appetite for more. I stayed in the province capital, also called Loja, to more easily enjoy the historic center. This is a walkable city and while pedestrians may not have the right of way, they are respected enough that wandering the streets to photograph the unique places, like the narrowest street in town and the large city gate, was not hard at all. Large plazas centered around fountains and statues of important historical figures dot the city. Churches are everywhere and many are beautiful inside and out. Most of the major sites can be seen from the outside in a single day but a weekend allows for a more relaxed visit as well as the chance to wander in a few of the churches and visit a museum or two.

Outside of the city, most small towns in the Loja Province lean conservative and culture revolves around the Catholic Church, almost always located on the central plaza. Vilcabamba is probably the most famous small town in the region. Over the years, it has become a magnet for expats and local advertising reflects foreign influence. There are more yoga workshops and meditation retreats than anywhere else in Ecuador! But wander up and down the streets, and the old Vilcabamba can still be found in abandoned buildings and carefully preserved homes.

Hopefully, these few photos will entice you to consider adding Loja to your bucket list of must-see places in Southern Ecuador.

The City Cathedral, Loja, Ecuador | © Angela Drake; Ecuador Por Mis Ojos
Iglesia de Vilcabamba, Ecuador | © Angela Drake
Iglesia de El Valle, Loja, Ecuador | © Angela Drake
The Ship Along the Rio Malacatos, Loja, Ecuador | © Angela Drake
An old home in Vilcabamba, Loja Province, Ecuador | © Angela Drake
The City Gate, Loja, Ecuador | © Angela Drake
Santuario Dioesano Señor de la Caridad, Malacatos, Ecuador | © Angela Drake
Calle Lourdes, Loja, Ecuador | © Angela Drake


Last year, the Instituto Geografico Militar of Ecuador and I released a book of photography, Ecuador Por Mis Ojos. This post shares photos from that book.

If you would like to see other photos from the book, please check out: