Saraguro - Delightful Travel Destination in Loja Province Ecuador

Vintage Saraguro 

Where can you find all the charms of Ecuador’s Sierra Mountain range in one visit? The answer is Saraguro in the southern province of Loja. Just a two hour's drive south of Cuenca and 35 minutes north of the province’s capital, Loja, you will find every reason for touring the Ecuadorian Andes in one charming little town. Saraguro, a majority ethnic Kichwa community, has authentic culture, original arts and crafts, stunning views, and the delicious foods of much more heavily toured areas of Ecuador. All of these experiences are waiting for the traveler in an easy to access but very desirable "off the beaten path" location.

Saraguro has spectacular mountain views that rival well known and over-visited destinations like BaƱos in the northern Sierras. Craft-hunters who have heard about the markets of Otavalo near Quito and the jewelry makers of Chordeleg outside of Cuenca will not be disappointed in the finely made goods being produced and sold in Saraguro by the craftsman themselves. Food lovers will find excellent traditional fare along with world-class 5-star fusion menus.

Lush Saraguro farms
Saraguro is ringed with mountain views that change with the light by the moment. Fresh air for walks around the quaint colonial town or mountain trails is invigorating. If you head out a little further from the church square, you can visit a dramatic valley overlook that features a ceremonial Incan “pucara” mound which will often have local condors riding the thermals overhead.

Shoppers will love the craft market near the city square that features fabrics, fine hand-wrought filigree jewelry made before your eyes, and the signature beadwork collars worn by all the local women who proudly dress in traditional Kichwa costumes every day. A short ride from the market visitors can also find artisan enclaves with workshops in operation for a demonstration of weaving and other local crafts.

After shopping in the central craft market, a few steps away are excellent restaurants that feature traditional Sierran foods that make excellent use of the unique local produce on sale in the nearby fresh market. If you are in the mood for something different, make a reservation for Samuel Ortega’s restaurant serving fresh products from his coffee farm partner, Hacienda La Papaya. Ortega trained at one of the world’s premier Michelin-rated restaurants, El Bulli in Spain, before returning to his home of Saraguro to make Ecuadorian culinary history. The Sierras are a cheese-making region and Sarguro is no exception. The area produces flavorful varieties for traditional and contemporary tastes. Arrange a tour of one of the main cheese factories offering a memorable tasting room for visitors.

This is just a hint of the natural and cultural wonders in store for you in Saraguro. Day visits are one option, but if you find yourself wanting to linger, then make a reservation at the Lozano family’s traditional inn and spa. Mrs. Lozano was on the city council and has put together a relaxing mini-spa and retreat perched like a condor’s nest overlooking the town. One of Mrs. Lozano’s sons is a talented traditional chef serving up one of the most wonderful breakfasts in Ecuador. Her other son, the inn manager, will provide flawless table service in the adobe dining room. Their sister, Sarita, is a skilled Spanish and Kichwa-speaking guide to everything there is to do and see in Saraguro.

The team of English-Spanish bilingual interpreters and travel guides at Life in Loja helps tourists,  visitors, resident expats, and immigrants have the experiences of their dreams in Loja, Ecuador.  A personalized visit to beautiful Saraguro is just one of our many tour options detailed on Life in Loja's website. If you would like to know more about our custom tours, translation, and expat relocation services then contact us by email or phone/WhatsApp at 593-098-674-5994 to begin a conversation.


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