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Why I Decided to Move to Loja Ecuador: Jesse Bayer

Posted in: Ecuador Real Estate, Expats in Ecuador, Living in Ecuador

This is a post by Jesse Bayer and is part of our Ecuador Expat Series. A successful NYC based Real Estate Investor, Jesse sold his holdings in 2013 to move with his family to Ecuador and co-found Abundant Living Ecuador – a real estate and relocation services company based out of Loja. 

Why I Decided to Move to Loja Ecuador: Jesse Bayer

When I made the choice to leave New York City with my family and relocate to South America, there was a set of parameters that informed my search for a suitable destination.

I was looking for warm weather, safety, fertile land, and clean, abundant water, in an area located a safe distance from volcanoes, fault lines, the coast, large population centers, and nuclear energy facilities.

loja ecuador

After an exhaustive search I settled on Southern Ecuador, ultimately Loja. Ecuador, and Loja in particular really offer the best of both worlds.

Infrastructure such as airports, roads, power, basic services, and Internet are excellent yet the old time customs remain.

Because Loja, and much of southern Ecuador are off the beaten expat trail, it is absent of some of the problems associated with a large expat community.

Introduction to Life in Loja, Ecuador

Reasons to Move to Loja Ecuador

One of the highlights of living in this area is the variety of climates. With 4 distinct climates within 45 minutes of Loja, any climate, lifestyle, or weekend getaway is accessible.

The city itself boasts a temperate climate, all the normal shopping and entertainment one would expect, yet the feel of a small town. It’s amazing how familial it is.

With the cost of lunch under $3 and high-end apartments on the market from $90,000, the quality of life/cost ratio is exceptional.

move to loja ecuador view loja ecuador

People are formal and polite. You never see verbal disputes. It’s a quiet, safe city that lends itself to a pace and lifestyle that is really nice.

One of the things I enjoy most are the natural juices made to order, so common here, for around $1. The Sunday market also stands out to me. I do all my food shopping there.

A staggering quantity of every imaginable fruit and vegetable displayed by vendors, many of whom grow the food themselves, locally, including a large variety of organic.

And the prices! I shop for a family of three each week for $30-$60, nearly all organic. And the bulk of that is coconuts for coconut water I buy for $1 each!

living in loja ecuador

Loja is not for everyone however. World-class dining options are few and far between. If you are looking for a glamorous and exciting nightlife, you will be disappointed with your options.

That said, the combination of natural beauty, climate, cost of living, and quality of life benefits are hard to find anywhere in the world.

abundant living ecuador

jesse bayer ecuadorThis is a post by Jesse Bayer. A successful NYC based Real Estate Investor, Jesse sold his holdings in 2013 to move with his family to Ecuador and co-found Abundant Living Ecuador – a real estate and relocation services company based out of Loja. Jesse has prepared a free Ecuador Relocation Guide.

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Meet the Author

Bryan Haines is co-editor of GringosAbroad - Ecuador's largest blog for expats and travelers. He is a travel blogger and content marketer. He is also co-founder of ClickLikeThis (GoPro tutorial blog) and Storyteller Travel.

41 comments… add one
  • Suzanne Pearse Jun 28, 2018, 12:57 pm

    Do you know if there is an Argentine Tango community nearby?

  • Sherry Apr 15, 2018, 7:16 pm

    I’m retired and thinking I would like to spend a couple of months in Loja. I understand that there is a training course for TESOL. Are there possibilities for a couple month rental without staying in a hotel?

  • Maggie Martin Apr 6, 2018, 12:18 am

    Are there any Bridge Clubs in Loja ?

  • David Pagano Mar 28, 2018, 3:10 pm

    We are about two years out from totally retiring and looking at Loja as our destination. We are considering exploring the area on a trip 28 APR to 2 May … what would you suggest as things to do in a short period of tome to get a feel for the City … Any hotel suggestions? Appreciate any and all advice you have … we have lived and explored in many places overseas … from what we have read Loja sounds exceptional as a quite lifestyle.

  • Drew n Sherry Taylor Jun 7, 2017, 10:21 am

    People are funny animals! Our desire to move to Ecuador is so we WON’T have to put up with hostile folks! We appreciate anyone willing to take the time to share their information and experiences. We also believe that a person should research a half dozen or so different opinions at a minimum as they are so subjective.
    You certainly provided enough info to intrigue us enough that we are considering Loja for our retirement future.
    Thank you for your review!
    Drew n Sherry Taylor

  • Christian Feb 19, 2017, 12:08 pm

    I had came upon your website when I first started following this site and found you had the best quality and beautiful places for sale I had seen in Ecuador. Then a few months ago I went to find your website and look at some properties and my search history was gone and I searched and searched and couldn’t find it. I was so upset so very excited to find it again on here this morning!!!

  • Sherri Jan 17, 2017, 10:52 pm

    Jesse, I just wrote yesterday so I’m not sure if you’ve tried to email me – I haven’t received anything. What do Americans do as far as a visa to move to Ecuador? Do you need to have a job or steady income? Or can you purchase a home there and pay cash without those things?

  • Sherri Jan 16, 2017, 5:00 pm

    Greetings, Jesse! I’m an adventurous 56 y.o. lady looking to possibly relocate in South America. I’ve traveled quite a bit and have made 4 trips to Central America but have never ventured south. My Spanish is not great, but I pick it up fast. As an investor, do you have any advice on whether I should try to buy or rent in Ecuador? I will have about $80,000 and that’s my entire life’s savings. The idea of a luxury apartment there is very appealing. Is there any town you would recommend for me over another? I like tropical weather with access to water. What towns would you recommend I visit? Thanks for your time!

    • Jesse Bayer Feb 22, 2017, 2:41 pm

      Hi Sherri,

      Sorry for the delayed response, unfortunately I don’t get any notification when someone has posted and so I have to just remember to take a look.

      The price ratio here for houses and apartments to buy/rent currently favors renting.

      That being said, for an apartment $80k is plenty to find a nice one depending on where are.

      Tropical weather is available here on the coast and in the orient. There are many great places to check out.

      Happy to touch base with you via email or phone., 1-888-999-0948 (toll free from US/CAN)>

      Warm regards,


  • Eyvonne King Oct 16, 2016, 8:01 am

    Thank you for the article I found it helpful. How far is Loja from a beach or area where people are scuba diving? We are interested in living in Ecuador and Loja sounds perfect for me (climate and size) but my guy is not having it if the diving is too far away. We both want to dive every weekend. Forthy Five minutes to an hour is not prohibitive but I don’t know if this includes places where you can dive. We are considering a first visit in February or March and resettlement 12 to 18 months after.

    • Jesse Bayer Nov 2, 2016, 1:25 pm

      Hi Eyvonne,

      Thanks for your message, I went ahead and replied via email.


  • dave Sep 6, 2016, 8:54 pm

    thinking of ecuador and Loja. I have been researching Ecuador since 2008 off and on, but now getting serious. $350 to $1,000 sounds high from what I have read. I read Loja was much cheaper than Cuenca because not many expats have arrived there yet. I have read you could find a nice place there for $200 to $300 a month. Heck, even Cuenca you can still find nice places for $350. Feel free to answer.

    • Jesse Bayer Sep 29, 2016, 4:43 pm

      Currently in Loja it just depends on what level of quality/luxury/location you are looking for, but to be in a US standard nice apartment you are looking at $300 and up. You can find things as low as $100 but not something I would consider nice.

  • June Martyn Aug 13, 2016, 4:26 pm

    Hi Jesse,
    Having visited Loja last December I am interested in moving to that charming town, especially for the wonderful climate. My housing needs are very similar to Robert’s as I too would want a furnished place. Please send me advice appropriate for a senior woman on her own. Will be glad to answer any questions. Muchas gracias!
    (No hablo mucho pero ahora estudiando español.)
    June (aka Juanita)

  • Dena Kanner May 20, 2016, 1:03 pm

    Can anyone identify where the place with the pool is? Is that a hotel? It’s beautiful.

  • Carlos Alvarado Mar 13, 2016, 10:54 am

    Thaks for you article about the city.

  • Tom Rayner Dec 8, 2015, 11:54 am

    The author is wrong when he says Loja is off the expat trail. Vilcabamba is about 20 miles away and you can’t swing a cat in that town without hitting an American or Canadian.

    The author runs a property site so naturally has a vested interest in presenting Loja as a great place to relocate (which it is, by the way).

    Loja is perhaps best-known in Ecuador for the quality of its coffee.

  • Tattiana Sep 20, 2015, 5:33 pm

    Hi Lee, mi name is Tattiana from Loja. It’s nice to read this article of my city. People is actually very friendly here, we enjoy hearing ideas and stories and new ways to do things from foreing people, I would said that there’s lot of activities to do for work. English teachers for fluid speaken skills are always sought. I hope you have a good time here.

  • David Blain Sep 19, 2015, 3:05 pm

    I have been retired since 1989. I have obtained one letter from my employer that says I have a pension of $-
    life long.. Are my income tax reciepts for 2014 enough to prove my income.
    I also get a Veterans Pension,which is not Taxable in Canada. Should I get a letter from Veteran Affaires so
    Stating ?


    • Jesse Bayer Sep 21, 2015, 2:17 pm

      Hi David,

      If you’re referring to the requirements for the Pensioners Visa, yes you would want to get letters from any pension you have and have them Apostilled. The apostilled letters would serve as proof for immigration purposes here.



  • Lynne Balzer Sep 19, 2015, 10:44 am

    Hi Bryan –
    Thanks for staying in touch with me. I’m trying to arrange an extended visit to Ecuador this winter and have been in touch with Nelson Idrovo, due to your recommendation. We are curious as to why you left. Was this your choice or not? Are you in Canada now? Do you plan to return to Ecuador? /Lynne

    • Bryan Haines Sep 19, 2015, 3:07 pm

      Hi Lynne – we left because of health problems. You can read about it here. We don’t know if we’ll be able to return – we would love to.

      All the best on your plans!

      • Lynne Balzer Sep 19, 2015, 7:00 pm

        I’m sorry to hear about that, Bryan, and wish you and your family the best also.

        I have visited New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and found them to be beautiful and refreshing in the summer. However, I wouldn’t like the snow and ice in the winter.

        Did you know anyone who had trouble adjusting to the high altitude? The highest place I’ve every been is Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, which is about 8,000 ft elevation. There is something very exhilarating about being at this altitude. /Lynne

      • Lynda Aug 16, 2016, 10:42 am

        I would love to a little more about your health problem. I think it could possibly help others, too, should they have the same pre-existing condition that you have/had. Perhaps they would not make a costly decision of relocating to Ecuador to only find the need to move back to his/her home country because of said health issue.

  • Jim Carver Sep 19, 2015, 10:12 am

    That’s it?! I was hoping to get a more in-depth feel for why an expat would go to Loja and was disappointed in this article. How easy is it to live there without speaking Spanish? You say the city has a “temperate climate”. What does that mean? Temperate for someone from Miami would mean something entirely different from what it meant to someone from Minneapolis. Give us some temperature ranges. Is it easy to meet locals, and how easy is it to assimilate with them? How many English-speaking expats live there? If there are a dearth of nightlife and “world-class” restaurants, what is there? What can one do there during the day? How available are meats (you talked only about fruits and vegetables in the article) like beef, pork, poultry and fish? Are there cultural events to enjoy, especially since there is a university in Loja How about health care? An introductory article about the city should have offered a bit more…

    • Lynne Balzer Sep 19, 2015, 7:08 pm

      To Jim Carver:
      Lily Ann Fouts wrote a good E-book entitled, “Live Like a Local in Loha”. It was a good deal at $6.99 and should answer your questions about Loha. Here is the link:

    • Kathy P Griffin Sep 20, 2015, 12:18 am

      I agree with Jim Carver…. that the article was brief, vague and pretty much useless. What was the point?

      • Jesse Bayer Sep 21, 2015, 1:35 pm

        Well Jim and Kathy, I am sorry the article wasn’t to your liking! I’d invite you to visit this page for some more details about Loja and a video of the city.!loja/c3h0


      • William Fitzpatrick Apr 1, 2019, 9:06 pm

        Jim and Kathy, from your remarks my guess neither of you would make it in Ecuador, you are to Americanized and would have a difficult time becoming Ecuadorian as a way of life. I have been here for 8 years and love the Ecuadorian lifestyle and will never return to the USA…….,here we have no stress or problems, everyone is very friendly and helpful when they can be. The saying manana, doesn’t necessarily mean tomorrow as translated, it could be three weeks or three months from now, here all that is important is today, everything and everyone is pretty well laid back and that is life here.

  • Lee Jones Sep 19, 2015, 8:38 am

    Hi Jesse,
    My name is Lee and I currently live in North Carolina, my husband and I have researched this beautiful place for sometime and we are planning to make a trip there soon. One of my big questions is housing, I’ve seen all types of
    housing and prices are all over the place…we’re looking for a quiet, safe community (we are older) we would like to rent a house with 2-3 bedrooms. My question is what is the housing like in Loja, I love the area (or what I have read about it) we are on a budget, but I know you would not leave NYC and take your family to the other side of the world
    and put them someplace unsafe. I’m always looking for expat info, this is a very big step for anyone. How far is Loja from volcanos? I certainly wish you and your family well, and much happiness, perhaps we’ll look you up (just to say hi) when we arrive in Loja…thanks in advance…..for you help…
    P.S. do you or your wife speak spanish?

    • Jesse Bayer Sep 21, 2015, 2:00 pm

      Hi Lee,

      Loja is a very safe city. We are not near any volcanoes, the closest is in the north of Ecuador.

      In terms of rentals in Loja, the pickings are fairly slim, although there are generally at least a few nice places on the market. Are you looking for a furnished place? That makes it a bit harder, however, again they do exist. For a decent house/apartment in Loja, you would be looking at $350-$1000/mo., depending on location and luxury. Anything less than $350 is just usually not up to western standards in terms of amenities/comfort.

      Thanks for the kind words, and it’d be great to meet you when you arrive.

      Yes I do speak Spanish (learned it here).

      Thanks and have a great day,


      • Robert Dow Nov 22, 2015, 3:27 pm

        Hello Jesse: Thank you for your most interesting information on Loja. May I ask, as a vital, retired Cdn. senior, now on my own, can I get a furnished 1-bedroom apartment or house in Lola for, say, $500. a month for a six-month stay to begin with? If I like it, I would sign for the year and on an ongoing yearly basis. A response would be greatly appreciated.

        Robert Dow

        • Jesse Bayer Nov 27, 2015, 12:54 pm

          Hi Robert. Yes there are some options that may suit you. Is there an email I could reach you on? Thanks.

          • Caspar Hocsigno Jan 11, 2020, 4:45 am

            Hi there, Jesse! Thanks so much for your awesome comments about my little yet greatly paradisaical, little country, Ecuador, much preferred by Alexander von Humboldt — I do really appreciate it!!! I am an Ecuadorean expat who also[partly] grew up in New York City. Bayer…, your last name sounds to me like a German one, isn’t it? I do live in between Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, on the shores of a likewise magnificent and also paradisaical, huge, great lake. I am a foreign languages instructor in a German state which bear your very same family name. To all fellow country men, I would hereby like to transmit an informative as well as timely piece of information (historically proven!), i.e., Ecuador — originally la Real Audiencia de Quito — was founded by a Spanish family of German-Swiss kindred: the Habsburg, named Austrias in Spain. The architect who built that beautiful Dom in Cuenca was the Swabian Bruder Johannes Baptist Stiehle. I live within a stone´s thrown away from Swabia, Austria and Switzerland; well can I see the many similarities in the folklore and outfits between the inhabitants of the Alps and those of southern Ecuador, the hat (from Tirol), the accordion, the harp, and some traits of the vestments. I am an offspring of Zaruma, Loja, and Cuenca. May God bless your enterprises. And please do keep me posted of any latest cultural developments as well as of any valuable information, which I would happily like to transmit to my pupils. I am trying to be a good cultural ambassador of Ecuador among my protegees. Kind regards fom Casper

            • Caspar Hocsigno Jan 11, 2020, 5:02 am

              “AMA LA VIDA”, que Dios te ha dado y siempre bendíceLe y agradéceLe con mucho amor y alegría por ella, desde el fondo del corazón!

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