Lily Ann Fouts


Welcome to the companion website to my Loja book:

Living Like a Local in Loja

Don’t have the book yet? CLICK HERE to learn more about it, or click the button below to get it instantly!


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Click Each Chapter Title to Jump to That Section:

Chapter 1 – The Treasure Between Cuenca and Vilcabamba
Chapter 2 – Growing Up in Latin America
Chapter 3 – Getting to Know Loja
Chapter 4 – Learning Spanish
Chapter 5 – Arriving in Loja and Finding Your Way Around
Chapter 6 – Eating and Shopping
Chapter 7 – Setting Up House
Chapter 8 – Things to Do in Loja
Chapter 9 – Making Friends
Chapter 10 – Culture Clashes
Chapter 11 – Vilcabamba
Chapter 12 – Cuenca
Chapter 13- Other Towns Near Loja
Chapter 14 – Let the Adventure Begin!
Chapter 15 – Let the Adventure Begin!
Other Resources


An interview I gave on the Expat Kingdom Podcast about Loja:

A look at the rising number of North Americans moving to Ecuador:



This video (opens in YouTube) is a beautiful introduction to the Province of Loja–it’s stunning!

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Chapter 1 – The Treasure Between Cuenca and Vilcabamba

Loja, Ecuador Wikipedia page

As an expat in Ecuador, will you set yourself up to be a winner or a loser? Refer to Chapter One in the book for a discussion of how to be a winner in the expat world.

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Chapter 2 – Growing Up in Latin America

More of my story:

Seven Years Running – our book in progress about the experience of living on the run

Blog post – Kidnapped and Hiding in Mexico

Interview on Becoming an Expat Podcast where I spoke about life on the run (and more!)

Interview on Abroad Podcast where I talked about my fugitive childhood, plus the experience of working in Antarctica as an adult.

TCK resources:

Definitely check these out if you plan to move abroad with kids:

Book: Third Culture Kids: Growing Up Among Worlds


Wikipedia Definition of TCKs


Among Worlds Magazine for adult TCKs

Denizen Magazine for TCKs

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Chapter 3 – Getting to Know Loja

Extremely informative new websites about Loja:

All About Loja

Misconceptions About Loja

Touristic Video of the City and Province of Loja (in Spanish):

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Chapter 4 – Learning Spanish

Places to find people to practice your Spanish with before moving abroad:


Spanish Pronunciation

Pronunciation of the Vowels

Pronunciation of the Consonants

Rules for Accent Marks (or where to place the stress/emphasis on a word)

Greetings and Goodbyes

Learn the Spanish Numbers

Video of Spanish Numbers 1-20:

Useful Spanish Phrases

Use Spanish travel phrase books to learn the most common phrases you need to know to get started. If there are phrases you need to be able to say and can’t find them in your phrase book, try these resources for translation: (<– Use this link for a free $5 gig)


Top 1,000 Spanish Words

Top 1,000 Spanish Words (along with their pronunciation and English meanings)

Flashcards can be a great way to learn new vocabulary in Spanish. Anki is widely used and recommended by the language learning experts. Here are links to the various versions:

AnkiMobile Flashcards for iOS devices

AnkiDroid Flashcards for Androids

Anki computer version


Fill-in-the-Blank Spanish Formulas

See the book for an explanation of how to use these cheat sheets:

Esto Phrases (PDF Download)

DINA phrases (PDF Download)



Recommended books – with links to Amazon:

501 Spanish Verbs

Practice Makes Perfect: Spanish Pronouns and Prepositions

Practice Makes Perfect: The Spanish Subjunctive Up Close

Practice Makes Perfect: Advanced Spanish Grammar


For the Advanced Spanish Speakers

Lojanismos – Or expressions characteristic of the region of Loja

A list of “Lojanismos” – expressions unique to Loja

A list of Ecuadorian expressions/slang

Diferencias entre un amigo normal y uno ecuatoriano (Humorous Spanish article about the differences between a normal friend and an Ecuadorian friend)


Recommended Resources

Fluent in 3 Months, by Benny Lewis. This is the best book I have ever read on language learning (and I’ve read quite a few as a former language teacher). Though it is not specifically about learning Spanish, it gives some great principles for language learning in general and does have special sections dedicated to specific languages, including Spanish. Highly recommended. Benny Lewis also has a great blog at

Duolingo. These free online language lessons are actually quite good! I’ve been through of the French levels and was quite impressed. Check it out.

Memrise. Here are the links to the mobile versions: Memrise for iOS devices/Memrise for Android devices


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Chapter 5 – Arriving in Loja and Finding Your Way Around

Bus Station – Terminal Terrestre Reina del Cisne

Bus Schedule for Ecuador and other South American Countries:

AirBnB places to rent in Loja

NOTE: If you are new to AirBnB, CLICK HERE to use my referral link for a $25.00 credit.

1 Bedroom Townhouse, fully furnished, $20/night or $375/month

Studio apartment, fully furnished, $20/night or $300/month

Efficiency apartment, fully furnished, $20/night or $300/month

Other options in Loja, Malacatos and Vilcabamba HERE.

If all else fails and you want to book ahead of your arrival, there are several places listed on Just make sure you are booking in the city of Loja, not a different town in the Province of Loja.

Maps of Loja

Click here for a good map with important sites marked.

Map of the Neighborhoods of Loja – primarily on the outskirts of town. Some trails are also marked. (PDF Download)

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Chapter 6 – Eating and Shopping


Culinary Tour of Loja

What to Eat in Loja

Some restaurants recommended by local friends:

Mama Lola, Av. Salvador Bustamante Celi y Santa Rosa (on the corner, Sector El Valle), 07-261-4381. Highly recommended for its traditional dishes from Loja.


Tamal Lojano, on 18 de Noviembre and Imbabura in front of Parque Bolívar – with another branch in a building on 24 de Mayo between Mercadillo and Azuay 7-258-0506



Article on health food stores in Loja area.

Loja health food store: Alivinatu

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Chapter 7 – Setting Up House

Classifieds sites to look for long-term housing:


Are you thinking of buying property and building a house in Ecuador? Recommended reading:

Our House in the Clouds: Building a Second Life in the Andes of Ecuador


If you plan to set up house in Loja for awhile and are still learning Spanish, here are some recommended resources for translation and more:

Diana possesses a wealth of information about the area and is now creating the Loja Services Collective with the aim of providing needed services to visitors as well as expats in the city of Loja. She was instrumental in providing some of the information found in the book. Click here to visit the Loja Services Collective website.

Diana also administers a very useful Facebook group: Loja, Ecuador for English Speakers. Join the group and use the search function to find answers to all the most common questions. If you don’t find an answer that way, ask your question in the group and you’re likely to receive a helpful response soon!

Another useful Facebook page is the Loja Expat Exchange.

Contact Adriana “Adri” Alarcón at adrialarconloja84 (@) gmail (.) com to arrange Spanish lessons, translation/interpretation services (finding a house, setting up utilities and cell phone service, etc), and help with cultural questions. (NOTE: Adri is currently traveling abroad for a few months but you can connect with her to find out when she will be available again.)

Resources in Loja – Schools, Hospitals, Banks, etc. (Spanish page)

For medical needs, I’ve seen Clínica San Augustín recommended more than once. They are a hospital and have a full lab and emergency room and doctors for many specialties.

For banks, one expat recommends Banco Pichincha. He says, “I have a savings account and have everything (TV, Internet, mobile service, IESS) all on direct autopay. They are full service and have been easy to work with. They don’t charge me to cash/deposit checks on my US accounts. However they don’t deposit the money until they get it.

Visit the book for a comprehensive listing of utility, phone, TV and internet companies with their contact info.

Click here to order the Steri-Pen on Amazon (mentioned in the book as one way to purify your drinking water on the go).

Phone Service

Book correction: In the book I mentioned that cell phone minutes in Ecuador are “much cheaper” than they are in the U.S., but it sounds like this may actually be untrue. From the little we used our cell phone down there I may have had an inaccurate perception of the real costs, and I have since heard that it can be significantly more. The book will be updated accordingly.

Some good articles about cell phone rates and service in Ecuador:

Cell Phone Rates and Plans: Ecuador Cost of Living

How’s the Cell Phone Service in Ecuador?


The two main cell phone provider websites:

Claro (Spanish)

Movistar (Spanish)


If you wish to have a high quality cell phone in Ecuador you should buy it in the U.S. and take it down with you since electronics are much more expensive down there. Click here to see the results of an Amazon search for an unlocked GSM smartphone if you’d like to shop for one before going down (if it is not an unlocked GSM phone it won’t work in Ecuador!).


If you can go to Cuenca to pick up furniture, check the For Sale listings in the Gringo Post.

Also look on OLX, which is something like Craigslist.

Car or no car?

Getting a Driver’s License in Ecuador

The Ecuadorian National Transit Agency‘s website (Spanish)

Regarding rental cars, I have heard from several sources that they are extremely expensive. Estimates I have heard range from $65 to $90 per day with insurance. Also, if you are not familiar with driving in Ecuador, it might be best to watch other drivers for awhile before jumping behind the wheel. Buses and taxis are far cheaper and will get you most places you need to go.


One recommended driver in Loja: Driver in Loja - Roberto


Diana Jesuroga, the administrator of the Loja, Ecuador for English Speakers Facebook group also offers services not only driving but also translating and assisting with other needs. She can be reached via e-mail at sagrada01 (@) gmail (.) com or through the Facebook page.

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Chapter 8 – Things to Do in Loja


Parque Eolico Villonaco (Spanish)

Parques de Loja (Spanish article)

My blog post and photos of Loja’s parks.


NOTE: I neglected to mention Podocarpus National Park in the hiking section in the book. The section of the park just south of Loja has some beautiful trails! I will be sure to put this in the book when I update it.

Music and Entertainment

Orquesta Sinfónica de Loja (OSL) Facebook Page – see page for upcoming concerts, which are usually weekly (and free!)

At San Sebastian Park (Plaza de la Independencia) each Thursday at 8:00 p.m. there is live music put on by musicians from Loja.

Entertainment and Nightlife in Loja (Spanish Article)

Visit the Que Hay en Loja Facebook page to see upcoming events.

Touristic video of Loja (Spanish)

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Chapter 9 – Making Friends

Look up classes in the classifieds:

If you enjoy active/adventurous activities, join the LojAventura group on their next outing.

Check Que Hay en Loja for upcoming events to join in on.

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Chapter 10 – Culture Clashes

Ecuador – Language, Culture, Customs and Etiquette – Excellent web page on Ecuadorian culture.

Cultural Differences: Mainstream American Culture and Hispanic/Latino Culture Compared (PDF Document)

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Chapter 11 – Vilcabamba

Smithsonian Article – Vilcabamba: Paradise Going Bad?

Article about the impact of foreigners on life in Vilcabamba (Spanish)

Interesting thread about Vilcabamba and Loja on the Expat Blog Forum.

El Colibrí Mexican Restaurant – located at Diego Vaca de la Vega y Valle Sagrado, Vilcabamba, has some delicious options with generous portions!

Ahuramazda Persian Restaurant – Delicious vegetarian cuisine in Vilcabamba.

Blog post and photos: Our first trip to Vilcabamba

Blog post and photos: Why I could never live in Vilcabamba


Nice video showing some scenes from Vilcabamba:

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Chapter 12 – Cuenca

For all things Cuenca, visit Bryan and Dena Haines’ blog for excellent information!

A video interviewing an expat from Cuenca who traveled to Loja, comparing the two cities:


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Chapter 13- Other Towns Near Loja

This video (in Spanish) shows scenes from towns around the province of Loja:



Spanish Wikipedia page for Catamayo

Blog post & photos: Ride from Guayaquil to Loja (through Catamayo)

Touristic Video of Catamayo




Blog post & photos: Festivities in Malacatos

Short video of the parade we watched in Malacatos:


Blog post & photos: Exploring Zamora (and my unwanted souvenir)

Eco-lodge for birders and nature lovers: Copalinga

Recommended birding guides:

Fieldbook of the Birds of Ecuador by McMullan and Navarrete (book)

Birds of Ecuador (iPad app)

Hummingbirds of Ecuador (iPad app)



Blog post & photos: Trip to Saraguro

Turismo Saraguro – Tourism page for Saraguro. The homestay with an indigenous family (24 hours, including activities and three meals) is highly recommended!



Blog post with videos & photos: Trip to Yacuri National Park and Amaluza

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Chapter 15 – Let the Adventure Begin!

A happy video with faces and scenery from Loja:

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Other Resources

Becoming an Expat: Ecuador by Shannon Enete – A great book with general information on moving to Ecuador, establishing residency, etc. Read my review here.

Getting News in Ecuador

Provinces in Ecuador

Ecuador Expats Facebook Page – a fantastic place to post general questions about residency, insurance, and other aspects of moving to Ecuador


Do you know of another Loja resource that needs to be on this page? Contact me and let me know! I will be adding more photos, videos and resources to this page, so come again!

Buy the Loja Book Now ($6.99)