Medieval style castle known as the gateway to the city of Loja, Ecuador.

© Ecuadorpostales/Shutterstock

Puerta de la Ciudad

Top choice in Loja

With perhaps more pomp and circumstance than you'll encounter anywhere else in Loja, the City Gate greets you into downtown from the northern corner. It's a giant castle with an arched doorway spanning Sucre, a street forging south (from the confluence of Ríos Zamora and Malacatus) towards the central plazas.

Inside, the helpful staff, second-floor archaeological museum, cafe and several lookouts orchestrate an ideal intro to the city.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Loja attractions

1. Plaza San Francisco


A block north of the Parque Central, this smallish plaza is crowned by a statue of the city’s founder astride his horse.

2. Cathedral

0.52 MILES

Watch the devotees stepping inside for their daily devotions to the Virgen del Cisne.

3. Parque Central

0.52 MILES

Loja’s main square is always busy with shoeshine boys, newspaper vendors and local devotees stepping into the cathedral for their daily devotions to the…

4. Museo de la Cultura Lojana

0.55 MILES

On the south side of Parque Central, a characterful republican-era building houses this museum and its exhibits, which include good local art, archaeology…

6. Plaza Santo Domingo

0.63 MILES

Make a beeline a block south of Parque Central for this plaza, mainly notable for the Church of Santo Domingo, adorned with religious paintings.

7. Museo de la Música

0.64 MILES

This fun museum located in an old school explores the lives of famous musicians who hailed from Loja (most peaking in success during the golden 1890–1940…

8. Plaza de la Independencia

0.85 MILES

The plaza is hemmed in by the Church of San Sebastián and colonial-era buildings with pillared overhangs and shuttered wooden balconies. A brightly tiled…