Why Canadian tourists and expats choose Loja Ecuador

Canadians retiring to Ecuador - it's a thing!

Over the past few years we've noticed more and more Canadians are finding their way to Loja. Curious, we asked why, and then did some research based upon the answers given.

In no particular order then, one reply is seeking our year-round, spring-like weather where no heating or air conditioning is required. We knew Canada could be cold in winter but now have learned that many parts of that country also get quite hot in summer. The variation in temperature in locations around our province is minimal throughout the year, or even throughout the day. If the city seems too cool, then Vilcabamba is another popular destination. Malacatos and Catamayo also provide havens for expats.

For those wanting to settle, we have lower altitudes than the oft-quoted expat destination of Cuenca. Our lifestyles here are also a little more relaxed, the people friendlier, and the cost of living lower than Cuenca.

Of course, Ecuador as a country offers a wonderful variety of biozones, and locating oneself in Loja province provides easy access to experience three of them. Immigrants, in addition to choosing a place to live based on climate or altitude, can also choose from a wide variety of housing situations. Whether you want a city apartment or Toronto-like townhouse or suburban house with lawn and garden or a rural farm to grow your own veggies - lots of options exist and often within only a few miles of each other.

But perhaps the biggest advantage Loja has to offer those coming from "The North" is the cost of living. Even though the currency exchange rate will have 11 Loonies getting you only about 8 Sacagewea dollar coins you will discover the prices for basic necessities will save you an astonishing amount.

We looked at a website called Numbeo which tracks a long list of consumer costs by city or country and also has an app that allows one to make direct comparisons between two different locations. We have to say that the results were eye-popping...

  1. Rent prices in Loja are 86.99% lower than in Vancouver; restaurant prices are 64.59% lower; and groceries prices are 70.31% lower in Loja.
  2. Rent prices in Loja are 86.57% lower than in Toronto; restaurant prices are 67.71% lower; and groceries are 70.02% lower in Loja than in Toronto.
  3. Rent prices in Loja are 76.31% lower than in Edmonton; restaurant prices 65.08% lower; and groceries are 63.82% lower in Loja than in Edmonton.
  4. Rent prices in Loja are 76.27% lower than in Calgary; restaurants in Loja are 64.76% lower; and grocery prices 63.56% lower than in Calgary.
  5. Rent prices in Loja are 76.10% lower than in Montreal; restaurant prices are 59.08% lower; and groceries in Loja are 65.38% lower.
  6. Rent prices in Loja are 75.65% lower than in Hamilton; restaurant prices are 60.18% lower; and groceries prices are 60.59% lower in Loja.
  7. Rent Prices in Loja are 61.20% lower than in Quebec City; restaurants in Loja are 57.14% lower; and groceries are 68.80% lower in Loja than in Quebec City.

To give you a quick idea of what those percentages look like in real Canadian dollars, here are a few examples using Hamilton as a reference...

  1. An inexpensive meal: 18.00 C$ but only 3.58 C$ in Loja.
  2. Minimum taxi charge: 3.90 C$ vs. 1.71 C$ in Loja.
  3. Rent 1 bedroom apartment in city centre: 1,157.20 C$ vs. 238.74 C$ in Loja.
  4. Basic monthly utilities for 915 sq.ft. apt.: 161.44 C$ vs. 41.94 C$ in Loja.

Granted, not everything costs less here. Some things like appliances, electronics, and automobiles do cost more but these are generally one-time purchases instead of monthly expenses. And on a sad note, real maple syrup can be found here with a bit of looking, but the price will make you turn to using honey for your pancakes. Sorry about that one.

Loja's version of Timbits
If you are looking for a smallish "university town" with lots of culture and amenities, then Loja is definitely worth checking out. True, there are no Timbits here but you'll love the huevitos chilenos, a little larger donut hole with a guava jam filling and sprinkled with sugar - a real delight when fresh and soft.

Try our 'Life in Loja' special "expat tour" which can be custom sized to suit your needs. Those who have taken it say it is extremely worthwhile for getting to know the ins and outs of Loja very quickly.

This blog post is an example of how the team at Life in Loja helps tourists and visitors, expats and immigrants, to better appreciate the many aspects of living in Loja, Ecuador. If you would like to know more about our custom tours and relocation services then contact us by email or phone/WhatsApp at 593-098-674-5994 to begin a conversation.


  1. "If you are looking for a smallish 'university town' with lots of culture and amenities, then Loja is ..." right up my alley.
    I don't have a sweet tooth, so the syrup and the donuts won't be missed. :)


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