Official language: Spanish
Time zone: UTC -5
Currency: United States dollar (USD)
Southern Ecuador is a place of increased drug trafficking, prostitution, and lawlessness. When leaving the city, always use the services of a local guide.
The average temperature in the Amazonian jungle amounts to about 25°C, humidity oscillates between 77% and 85%, and the annual rainfall is around 1998.45 mm.
The very first “new” inhabitants came here in the 1960s from the province of Loja. Currently, Lojanos represent a vast majority of the city’s population, yet the community of Colombians is also gaining numbers.
Nueva Loja is the capital of Sucumbíos province and the most heavily populated city in tropical Amazonian rainforests of Ecuador. In the mid-twentieth century, rich oil fields were discovered in the area – that is why the city is often referred to as the oil capital of the country – yet it attracts not only businessmen but also tourists who wish to visit jungle.
Until the 1960s, the city situated just 297 meters above sea level was inhabited mainly by indigenous tribes, a few missionaries, and rubber merchants. After the discovery of oil deposits, the village at first became a base for Texaco company, and then it began to grow rapidly. Today it has become the most important city in the region. Its official name is Neuva Loja, but locals usually refer to it simply as Lago (Lago Agrio). It is a perfect set out point for jungle exploration and animal observation trips.
This is where most travelers start their one-and-a-half hour journey to the Reserva de Producción Faunística Cuyabeno sanctuary, where you can admire jaguars, pumas, boa or anaconda snakes, and dolphins, among other rare animals, as well as over 580 species of birds. In the city, there is also an ecological recreation park “Lago Agrio” with a 2000 meters long and 3000 meters wide lagoon, and some interesting examples of Amazonian vegetation. You can spend time actively here renting kayaks and bicycles or taking long strolls and just indulge yourself with the sweetness of doing nothing.
Amazonian cuisine in Ecuador is based on fresh fish and tropical fruit, such as granadilla, passion fruit, naranjilla, bananas, and taxo. The best-known dishes of the region include maito (grilled red tilapia wrapped with bijao leaves, served with fried manioc), fried piranha with bananas, biche de Cameron (peanut soup) and sopa de encebollada (white tuna soup). If you fancy a snack straight in the street, choose mayón (roasted, fried or boiled larva of a black amazon beetle) or colada (a fruit cocktail). Where to eat? For genuine street food visit Avenida Quito.