Racing Moto – Youngest friendliest best motorbike dealer in Loja

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Español AQUI

Looking to buy a decent motorbike ?

Racing Moto is an exceptionally dynamic motorbike dealer in Loja run by 3 young and highly skilled people. We at todoloja have spent quite some time with them these past few months, trying different bikes and were impressed with their attitude and the quality of their service. We are confident that among the more than 50 motorbikes available in their showroom at calle 18 of Noviembre in Loja you are likely to find the one you are are after, being an affordable Chinese import, a Japanese bike, a quality motocross bike, an electric bike, a kids motorbike or a scooter …

Reputable brands like Honda, Yamaha,  Kawasaki are expensive and out of reach for most people in this country. Chinese imports are the norm. There are zillions of places that sell Chinese bikes, they all look pretty much the same. As we all know, Chinese products do not have the best reputation for quality and durability, after all you get what you pay for, right?

Think twice! For the times they are a changing. China is now manufacturing impressive bikes that really compete with the Japanese equivalents. These better bikes are slowly but surely making their way around the world including here in Ecuador.

But let’s focus on the average bike for the average user here in Ecuador and especially in the mountainous region of the Loja province. This would be a “todo terreno” or hybrid 200 to 250 cc. Less than 200c won’t get you up that hill unless you stick to the city center in which case why not a scooter? they are great and some models are in stock at Racing Moto. More than 250cc on the other hand and you enter a different price range. I have not seen yet any Chinese motorbike above 250cc for sale anywhere in Ecuador. So you’d have to turn to one of the Japanese or American brands if you want a bigger bike.

One model of hybrid that really stands out is the super cool retro looking 250 cc Axxo Scrambler available in blue and red,

Axxo Scrambler 250

Or its equivalent in green, the “Cafe Racer” model in stock at Racing Moto in Loja

Axxo Cafe Raacer 250 cc at Racing Moto in Loj

Actor number one: Christian 

sales and other responsibilities, probably the first person you will talk to. He explains to me the features of this Axxo bike. He is young, friendly, passionate and definitely knows his stuff. He was my first point of contact at Racing Moto when I was looking for this “average and affordable” bike and before I got to know the owner Vicente Ortega, more on him later.

Christian - Racing Moto Loja Ecuador

Smooth inverted suspension, quality motor, oil radiator cooling system, all digital electronics, LED lights etc… List price 2,800 at the time of this writing before any discount.

If you are like me, you would think: “these Chinese bikes, they may look great when they are new but we know the story, after a couple of years, or sooner, they  fall apart, been there, done that”.

Yes and no. Of course, this is not a top of the range Japanese bike for which you would pay 3 to 4 times as much, so let’s be honest and accept that parts will wear out probably faster than on an expensive bike and you will have glitches and some problems. The good thing about Axxo in Ecuador, Christian tells me, is the widespread availability of original parts. Same goes with Motor Uno, another well know Chinese brand. This is important, being stuck in the middle of nowhere and having to wait 2 weeks for parts is no fun.

This brings me to my second important point: service. Time to have a nosy at the workshop.

Actor number two: Anthony

Anthony - Mecanico - Racing Moto Loja

Anthony is young too but has heaps of experience and magic fingers. Actually he started the business with the owner Vicente 7 years ago. They had 3 motorbikes (on loan says Anthony) for sale and worked hard to get to where they are today.

Believe it or not and contrary to most mechanics I have encountered in this country, Anthony is articulate and actually capable of explaining to you (in Spanish) what he is doing, what he plans to do to your bike, how and why, how long it will take etc.. Wow! He is actually the one who sold me to the Axxo I must admit when after talking to Christian I grabbed him from the workshop and asked him a few pointy questions. He passed the test hands down and I was sold.

The workshop itself is an Ecuadorian totally untypical micro climate. It is uncluttered, clean and tidy. It is also off to the public, which means that Anthony is not interrupted every 5 seconds and can focus on what he is doing to your bike and not forget to put that odd but critical bolt back before you hit the road. It does not mean that he is inaccessible to tell you and show you what he does.

Anthony tells me that the very first thing he does to all motorbikes that enter his workshop for service is to clean them, transmission parts with gasoline, the rest with pressurized water with or without detergent.

Taller Workshop Racing Moto Loja

It is worth mentioning here that the shop does not just sell Chinese middle of the road bikes. The shop is called Racing Moto for a reason. Below we see another class of clientele passionately talking to Vicente Ortega about his racing toy:

Racing Moto Loja

They are authorized Honda, Yamaha and Kawasaki dealers and needless to say that Anthony (and also Vicente Ortega) is qualified to service these types of motorbikes.

Kawasaki KLR 650
The famous Kawasaki KLR 650 in perfect conditions, on sale at Racing Moto Loja after a trip to Colombia by previous owner

Actor number three: Jose Vicente Ortega

Owner, motorcycle passionate extraordinaire and and multiple motocross prize winner.

Jose Vicente Ortega - Racing Moto Loja

All my life I have been interested in everything related to combustion and racing. I love motos, I love cars, I love planes. Breathing burning combustible is the best oxygen for me.

Jose Vicente Ortega - Racing Moto Loja

Despite his kind of passion, Vicente does not come across as a tough rugged guy. He is soft spoken, always elegantly dressed, a hard working person paying close attention to every detail. His customer oriented attitude is plain to see.

La disciplina vence todo, vence el talento, si vos eres una persona disciplinada en el momento de trabajar, tendras un exito 100% seguro

Discipline is what beats everything, it beats talent, if you are a disciplined person in your work, success is 100% guaranteed

And discipline and effort it took to get to a situation where 50 motorbikes are now on display. There is something for everyone, small bikes for kids, scooters, 125 to 250 cc hybrid bikes, racing bikes …

Racing Moto Loja - Show room

I also saw electric motorbikes in his showroom last year but Vicente tells me that this is a momentarily shelved project that he is keen on getting back to at a later stage. Loja is not really ready to pick up on that concept at this very moment.

Last but not least, they have an impressive range of accessories and clothes: tires, tubes, products, helmets, goggles, gloves, suits, boots, you name it …

The ladies

Racing Moto Loja - Andrea Ortega

It would not be perfect without Jose’s wife, Andrea’s gentle feminine touch. With the help of her lovely daughter, she manages the accounts and makes sure that all paperwork is handled swiftly and professionally. Jose Vicente and Andrea have 2 daughters, the eldest who is also into motorbike racing was unfortunately not present at the time of the interview.

Racing Moto – Youngest friendliest best motorbike dealer in Loja

After the business is handled with all due professionalism and seriousness, one ought not to forget that motorbikes are fun and the people at Racing Moto certainly don’t.

Racing Moto Loja - The team

And if your budget is tight, keep smiling, they offer easy deferred payment options as well as attractive cash prices.

Highly recommended !

Business Details

Racing Moto Loja

Address: 18 de Noviembre y Celica – Loja 593
Tel: 099 273 6139
Social network: www.facebook.com/RACING-MOTOS-239597796234071/

Racing Moto Loja
Click on map for a live version on google maps

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Crepes n Coffee – American Breakfast in Loja Ecuador

us English versiones

Español AQUI

Fancy a genuine American breakfast or brunch with pancakes, waffles, maple syrup, coffee, eggs and bacon, you name it … the real thing ?

Head for the street where the Property Register is located (ask any taxi) and opposite to the Howard Jonson hotel is a small, cozy and beautifully decorated place called Crepes N Coffee.

Crepes n Coffee - American Breakfast in Loja Ecuador
You can sit outside and enjoy some delicious pancakes

For tourists and people not familiar with Loja, this part of the city, close to the university UTPL is nicknamed “la pileta” (the fountain). It has an abundance of cafes, bars, restaurants and discotheques and contributes to Loja vibrant night life especially on week-ends.

Note that this is not a place for lunch, it is open from 8AM to 12PM and then from 4PM until 22PM.

The owner

Denis is a young entrepreneur who has the essential and complementary qualities to make it: a background in marketing, the ability to think big and aim at the sky while at the same time rubbing shoulders with his staff in the kitchen to learn the ropes. His enthusiasm is obvious and contagious.

Crepes n Coffee - American Breakfast in Loja Ecuador
Denis – Owner and entrepreneur

I love being with the people and learning … at my age I want to learn … ” at this moment Denis stops in mid sentence and leaves his chair to go help a client with the front door. This is the right attitude !

Denis and his wife opened their cafeteria a merely 7 months ago, in July 2016 to be exact,  after doing a proper market study in order to carefully and correctly craft their product and their brand. The results are extremely promising. The place is alive.

Crepes n Coffee also provide a delivery service, “servicio a domicilio”.  Just call, make your order and they will deliver to your door in Loja.

Crepes n Coffee - Autentica Desayuno Americano en Loja Ecuador Loja Ecuador

  Please check their latest offers on their Facebook page /crepesn.coffeeloja

The clients

Our clientele starts in the womb“, he explains with a grin on his face. Pregnant women come here to satisfy their sudden craving for a pancake or a cappuccino ! We have students, young and not so young professionals, tourists, people of all ages …

“The client comes with this anxiety, this hunger, this craving for something sweet or savory, whatever that might be… I see sad faces like this [Denis makes a long face] when they arrive and faces like this [Denis makes a big smile] when they leave !”

Smiles and well being I have certainly witnessed first hand on the day of my visit.

Crepes n Coffee - Genuine American Breakfast in Loja Ecuador

The food

Crepes n Coffee - Genuine American Breakfast in Loja Ecuador
A variety of sweet crepes and waffles

Crepes n Coffee main focus is on the so-called “American breakfast”, not what most places call “desayuno americano”, which means that they just add an egg to whatever they normally offer (juice, bread, coffee and cheese). Here we are talking about the full breakfast with a variety of crepes and waffles served with fruit, maple syrup, nutella or oreo on the sweet side or with chicken, bacon, meat, eggs, cheese on the salty side. A good looking presentation and everything spotless adds another touch of professionalism.

Crepes n Coffee - Genuine American Breakfast in Loja Ecuador
Chicken, Ham, Meat, Cheese, Mexican … A variety of salty crepes and waffles

Loja is building an international reputation for its quality coffee. At Crepes n Coffee you will find the expected choice of popular espressos (short, cappuccino, mochaccino … ) as well as the traditional filtered coffee (cafe filtrado o cafe pasado), all made with pure Arabic coffee harvested in the mountains of the Loja province and freshly roasted in Loja.

Of course I could not resist.

What are you waiting? Go indulge yourself next time you are in Loja.

Crepes n Coffee - American Breakfast in Loja Ecuador
Pure indulgence in Loja Ecuador

Crepes n Coffee - Autentica Desayuno Americano en Loja Ecuador Loja Ecuador

Contacts

Crepes n Coffee - American Breakfast in Loja Ecuador

Address: Zoilo Rodriguez (frente al Howard Johnson)
Tel:
Email: crepesncoffeeloja@gmail.com
Facebook: /crepesn.coffeeloja

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Crepes n Coffee – American Breakfast in Loja Ecuador

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QI Esencial – Biomagnetic Therapies in Loja Ecuador

us English versiones
Español AQUI
By Pierre Volter
and Martha Jaramillo

Part 2 – Biomagnetism

Read Part 1 HERE

Definition

Biomagnetic therapy, also called biomagnetic pair or terrain restoration therapy, is a natural therapy that proposes re-establishing normal cellular milieu through the use of pairs of magnets of medium intensity that seek to equalize the organism’s pH level.

To understand the principles of biomagnetism one must understand how and why appear in the body the so – called “pathogens” (viruses, bacteria, fungi). The truth is that contrary to the established science of Louis Pasteur that even today is the basis of conventional allopathic medicine, pathogens are not the cause of disease but the consequence of a unhealthy  or weak or out of balance terrain (the body) that allows their entry and multiplication. The result is what we call “disease”.

In this regard the disease comes first and then the pathogens and not the opposite. In English the word disease is actually quite appropriate when you look at it as 2 parts: a root and a prefix : “dis-ease”. The word “ease” means balance, comfort, well-being and with the prefix “dis” is to say “out of”.

Strange? Not that much!

Consider this.

Cesped

Anyone who has tried to have a nice lawn knows that if the grass is dense and healthy the weeds do not appear.

It is in places where the land is naked and exposed that all kinds of weeds appear.

Or consider this:

What came first, the rubbish or the cockroaches?

cucaracha
Are cockroaches bringing the rubbish with them on their back like ants do with their food ? For the pleasure to live in it?

Or are they rather attracted by the garbage and feed on it and that leads to their expansion?
Follow this logic reasoning:

What if we just cleaned the trash instead of attacking the cockroaches with insecticide?

Would the cockroaches insist on living there …?

Of course not !

Cleaning the terrain

Cleaning the terrain means to stop the proliferation of pathogenic organisms in excess which are harmful to human health. This is what biomagnetism does. The magnetic field generated by the magnets allow the biological terrain to recover its capacity to self-regulate and recover its optimal acidity or pH (± 7.2) in the blood, the sweat, the tears, and each one of the organs of the human body. This restores the proper functioning of the body.

Placing magnets pairs on the body

QI Esencial - Oriental Holistic Therapies - Acupuncture Biomagnetism in Loja Ecuador
She places magnet pairs on your body

The “Biomagnetic Pair” is a method that involves placing pairs of magnets of medium intensity to regulate the pH (hydrogen potential or acidity level) and thus restore the body’s balance because it eliminates all types of viruses, bacteria, fungi or parasites, causing exceptional recovery and providing the energy that our body requires. This therapeutic technique also acts on emotions.

It is known that stress and negative emotions, such as anger, anxiety, depression, jealousy … make the body vulnerable and could consequently be one of the main contributing factors to make a person sick. It is also known that positive emotions could be very favorable at the time of recovery from illness.

Mind and body are closely related. It is important to get to know our own emotions. Recognize what are the emotions that we are feeling allows us to better know ourselves and helps us to direct and express those emotions towards others in an appropriate manner.

QI Esencial Biomagnetismo Holistico Loja Ecuador

“I think that we all come to a point in life where we do not know which way to go as to how to get healthy.  I had an unpleasant experience with doctors and western treatments and was actually feeling quite desperate because my ailments did not disappear despite my great efforts. However this was my big day when I met a beautiful person Dr. Ketty Vivanco who with her great experience and commitment helped me out of my difficulties.” Martha Jaramillo.

Dr. Raymond Hilu (left) and Dr. Isaac Goiz (the inventor of the technique) work with a patient.

For those who want a more detailed explanation of the Biomagnetic Pair method, a good primer on the topic can be found HERE.

An interview of Dr Gooiz (in Spanish) can be found HERE

He was interviewed in Quito Ecuador and what he explains in the video is very worthy of being heard by the entire world.

Ketty Vivanco

QI Esencial Biomagnetism Loja Ecuador
Ketty is a charismatic lady with a great sense of humor

Ketty,  a Biomagnetism Therapist, was a happy docent of the National University of Loja for 44 years and has a PhD in Education.

She told the story of how through her work met the inventor of the “Biomagnetic Pair” technique, Dr. Isaac Goiz

In 2008 Ketty Vivanco organized an important convention in the city of Guayaquil where Dr.Isaac Goiz was her guest of honor.

Ketty later became interested in such therapies and trained directly with the doctor.

Ketty is a charismatic, very cheerful and dynamic person who transmits good vibes and confidence. All her life she has practiced sport (basketball) and participated in championships besides being a professor at the University of Loja. She told us that the three things that have changed her life are biomagnetism, dowsing and kinesiology.

QI Esencial Biomagnetismo Holistico Loja Ecuador

QI Esencial Biomagnetismo Holistico Loja EcuadorShe explained that there are different ways to communicate with the body. She uses the body’s extremities, arms through the hands or legs through the feet. She establishes a connection through the feet of the patient.

The body does not lie, the mind does. Your body responds when I ask what you need and what area of the body is suffering “. Ketty

Thus the body makes its own diagnostic and knows exactly which organ is affected. It also identifies all types of micro-organisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi) that are affecting your health and where they are located.

Sounds far fetched ? Maybe. I am not here to judge. I am here to tell the story. Give it a try and if it works for you, that’s what only matters in the end.

Conclusion

QI Esencial is a team of professionals working together to provide the best service of modern holistic medicine. Acupuncture, Cupping and Biomagnetism are really complementary techniques. Finding high caliber professionals such as Leonardo and Ketty in the same place in a small town like Loja is a wonderful thing.

QI Esencial - Oriental Holistic Therapies - Acupuncture Biomagnetism in Loja Ecuador
QI Esencial – Oriental Holistic Therapies – Acupuncture Biomagnetism in Loja Ecuador

Contacts

Address: 10 de Agosto between Juan José Peña and 24 de Mayo
(Edificio Plaza Murano)

Tel: 07 – 2574907

Web site: www.qiesencial.com

qi esencial loja ecuador

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QI Esencial – Biomagnetic Therapies in Loja Ecuador

Tags: acupuncture, oriental medicine, cupping therapy, chi kung, qigong, biomagnetism, biomagnetic pair, Dr. Isaac Goiz, essential oils, aromatherapy, massages, spa, cosmetology.

Notaria Primera – A model of excellence in Loja

us English versiones

Español AQUI

By Pierre Volter
and Martha Jaramillo
Legal Security – Integrity – Honesty – Service – Amiability

Seldom can we see a person who fits so perfectly in her job as Dra. Gina Margot Calva Tapia. To a person like me who has used her services on several occasions and who has watched her attend the many people entering her office every day it is obvious that she was born for what she does, understands it, thrives at it and as a matter of course provides the best possible service to her clients.

We are talking business excellence here !

Notaria Primera Loja Ecuador - Dra. Gina Calva
Dra. Gina Margot Calva Tapia

What is Business Excellence?

Business Excellence - Excelencia EmpresarialPlease do take the time to read our introduction to this important topic HERE (article in Spanish with Google translation).

Also, please do give your vote (1 to 5) using the stars at the top of the article and do leave a comment at the bottom to share your experience.

What is a notary and what do they do?

In very simple words accessible to all, let’s try to demystify this subject.

A notary public is an attorney to whom the state has invested public faith (licensed by the government). In other words, it is a lawyer whose intervention in various legal acts has a guarantee of legal security for all parties involved. The notary is the lawyer responsible for administering the “notaries”, places where legal procedures of diverse nature are carried out, as we will see below.

The tasks performed by public notaries are diverse, and are included in several areas. Among these activities are its participation in legal acts such as sales and all types of real estate investments, wills, powers, certification of copies, incorporation of companies, among others.

In addition to the enormous professional preparation that a professional must have to become a notary public, it is necessary to be a person with a great heart, optimistic and above all with a great patience to listen to their clients and to be able to explain in a clear way the legal issues of what they ask for, but above all the above must be a professional with a high sense of ethics and honesty, placing these values always in front of any problem that a client presents, and so as to safeguard the legal security of all.

It should be clearly understood that the function of a notary public is not the same as that of your preferred lawyer. While your lawyer can advise you as he pleases, including subjectively, down to unethically or even in the margin of the law, the notary public gives you a guarantee of legal security. It is obvious that a lawyer always tries to “stretch” things a bit on the side that is beneficial to his client (that’s why the client pays him or her). The notary absolutely can not do this and must maintain absolute neutrality.

Notaria Primera Loja Ecuador - Dra. Gina Calva
Listen with attention and patience

Hence comes patience. The notary public has to listen and listen again and explain and explain again when and how and why things are not as the customer always wants them to be. In case of disagreement between the parties, he should not hesitate to send them all back home until they solve their differences. Because the principle number one is that if there is disagreement it will not be solved at the notary but in court. Mutual agreement is indispensable.

That’s where the great heart part also comes into play. Because the notary public deals with human beings in the face of sometimes serious and complex problems. A notary at heart will always try to help his clients find the path of peace.

Why choose one notary rather than another?

notary publicAren’t notary publics just paper pushing bureaucrats with an addiction to putting stamps and stickers on everything? Do they not merely stamp documents that lawyers have written and collect your hard earned money by the hundreds of dollars at a time?

There may be such notary publics but Gina is for sure not one of them.

I asked her what in her opinion makes a good notary public and what is most important in the service she provides as a notary public in Loja Ecuador.

Notaria Primera Loja Ecuador - Dra. Gina Calva

Lo mas importante es la seguridad juridica que debe tener el usuario y la confianza … sobre todo la legalidad que es la caracteristica principal de un profesional de la legalidad“.

The most important is the legal security our clients receive from our services and the trust they can place in us… above all the legality that is the main characteristic of law professionals“.

Notaria Primera Loja Ecuador - Dra. Gina CalvaTenemos muchos clientes que regresan porque les hacemos bien las cosas y les explicamos bien que exactamente contiene una escritura, que efectos pueden tener dar un poder o hacer este documento … Entonces para mi realmente lo mas importante es la legalidad y la confianza que nosotros brindamos a nuestros clientes“.

Notaria Primera Loja Ecuador - Dra. Gina CalvaMany of our clients come back because we do things well and explain them what exactly contains this deed that they are about to sign or what effects could have this Power of Attorney that they will give to someone … Consequently to me really the most important is the legal security and the trust that we give our clients” .

The importance of getting it right

Notary Humour
“Chuta ! Tu partida de nacimiento nunca fue notariada !”

The documents that we sign at the notary are legally binding and some irreversible. An example of the latter is the escritura publica de compraventa (purchase and sales agreement) : once a property is sold and the escritura is duly signed, notarized and registered there is no way back. On the other hand, a Power of Attorney (POA) for example can always be revoked by the grantor but still serious damage can be done if granted to a dishonest person.

It is of uttermost importance to know exactly what it is that you are signing. If you are a mature individual, knowledgeable and experienced in your field it might not be an issue for you but think for example of the elderly or the young or the simple people coming to the city from their remote farms or the indigenous people who have different cultures and traditions often purely verbal. To them the concept of trust is vital.

Moral decadence

Gina has 32 years of experience and has seen it all. Elderly people are often manipulated by their children, asking them to sign a Power of Attorney in exchange for their care.

Notaria Primera Loja Ecuador - Dra. Gina CalvaAlgunos son totalmente lucidos como esta señora de 95 años que queria hacer un testamento. En este caso no le puedo negar. Pero la mayoría no. Hay que tener cuidado. Realmente son los poderes, poderes para el bono, para vender … Es una situacion terrible, una decadencia de la moral.

Some are totally lucid like this 95 year old lady who wanted to write a testament. In this case, I cannot deny her. But in most cases with the elderly I have to be very careful. Really the main issue are the POAs (Power of Attorney), POA to collect pensions, POA to sell property … This is a terrible situation, a moral decadence in our society.

The lawyers

Obviously lawyers and notary publics work together very closely. I remember my first years in Ecuador when I could not yet speak Spanish fluently. I would have never thought of entering a notary’s office for any serious matter without being accompanied by my lawyer. Maybe the notaries have changed or I have changed, but I don’t find them as intimidating anymore. The main problem is that the place can be so packed at times that it is hard to even enter let alone have a nice conversation with the doctor. A little patience usually goes a long way.

Dra. Betty Santín Castillo
Dra. Betty Santín Castillo

Dra. Betty Santín Castillo was born in Loja but she confides that her heart is in Quilanga, land of great coffee and cheese. In the course of her profession as a lawyer she deals with different notary publics depending on the location. Through the years she has developed a trust relationship with Gina who she refers to as “Ginita”.

Gina is a straightforward person, dead honest and not complicated, no wishy- washy stuff. She tells me what she needs of me, if I have some questions, she advises me thanks to her substantial experience. All her life she has been working in the field of notary“.

Notaria Primera

Notaria Primera Loja Ecuador - Dra. Gina Calva
Notaria Primera Loja Ecuador – Legal security – Honesty – Integrity – Amiability and Service

As its name says, this was the first notary in Loja.

A long time has passed and several notable people have left their mark on the “Notaria Primera”.

Since 2012 it is Dr. Gina Calva Tapia’s turn who with her essence and her inimitable charisma. In turn she reveals a great humility and simplicity. In short she is a woman educated in values and manifests it through her daily work.

Gina has worked for 28 years in the Notaria Cuarta for Dr. Camilo Borrero and tapping into his huge knowledge and experience in the field.

The notary has records dated as far back as 1708. I went to the department of archives and was allowed to see one of their antique boxes. Gloves should be worn before opening the books and touching the sheets. Impressive !

La primera notaria de Loja

This is a field where experience matters a lot, not so much for simple things like certifying a copy of a document or witnessing a signature but certainly when it comes to more complex documents such as escrituras.

The team

Dra. Gina Calva has surrounded her with a great team of approximately 10 people. In fact about half the team are family members.

Notaria Primera Loja Ecuador - Gina's sister
Gina’s sister
Notaria Primera Loja Ecuador - Gina's sister
Gina’s sister
Notaria Primera Loja Ecuador - Gina's daughter
Gina (Dra Gina Calva’s daughter)

All seem to work in good harmony and smiles come easy.

Notaria Primera Loja Ecuador - Fernando Abogado
Fernando Abogado Colaborador
Notaria Primera Loja Ecuador - Martha
Martha Abogada Colaboradora
Notaria Primera Loja Ecuador - Alfredo
Alfredo – Invoicing – Scanning – Data Entry

Alfredo takes care of scanning absolutely all documents that pass through the notary so there is a digital copy of everything.

Notaria Primera Loja Ecuador - Oralis Student
Oralis – Law student

With a smile 🙂

notary humourThere are two entrances at Notaria Primera, the main door where one goes through the usual human “filters” (reception, information…) and that is what most people do.

But people who know the other entrance where the photocopy machine is can go directly to Gina’s office.

I asked Gina if it bothered her and she answered with a smile that it does not because if people want to talk about a specific topic with her she will attend them with pleasure.

Conclusion

At Notaria Primera you will find first class service from a very experienced notary public and her dedicated team. Gina is an approachable lady and once you get to know her she is extremely friendly and has a good sense of humor. She is honest and straightforward, tells things like they are and gets the job done fast and without errors.

Notaria Primera Loja Ecuador - Dra. Gina Calva
Notaria Primera – A model of excellence in Loja

Contacts

Notaria Primera Loja Ecuador

Address: Sucre 06-50 between Jose Antonio Eguiguren and Colon
Tel: +593 (
Email: ginacalvatapia@hotmail.com

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Notaria Primera – A model of excellence in Loja

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Huaquillas Ecuador – right on the border with Peru


Español AQUI NO es una traducción humana!

Content: Varadero Seafood RestaurantL’Moned HotelLa Habana Hotel and Restaurant

If you live in Loja, enjoy the sea and want to put your feet in the water without going too far, Jambeli is your best option.

Jambeli is actually not just an island, it is an archipelago, meaning it is a group of islands, just like the world famous Galapagos. One of the islands is also called Jambeli and that is where most tourists go. We have already published some information about the island of Jambeli on todoloja.com HERE.

However Jambeli is not the only island on the archipelago. This time I decided to take a look at Costa Rica which I had heard was also quite beautiful. While Jambeli is easily accessed from Machala, to access Costa Rica one best option is to go to Huaquillas. Below is an orientation map

Huaquillas Costa Rica Jambeli Ecuador
Huaquillas Costa Rica Jambeli Ecuador

Going to Huaquillas from Loja is easy by bus. I happen to be in Guayaquil, so I went straight from Guayaquil to Huaquillas. This took about 5 hours if I remember correctly.

Once in Huaquillas, all it takes is a short taxi ride to Puerto Hualtaco (I did it for $1 in a moto taxi, it is more fun).

huaquillas moto taxi

And then take a boat to Costa Rica.

Well that was the plan anyway. There is just, I found out, a small problem. There ain’t no boat ! I was expecting something like Puerto Bolivar from where every hour a boat takes tourists to the island for $2 a head. Not so in Puerto Hualtaco. There is no such service. I was told that if you want to go to the island you have to charter one boat for the day which is what people do. They come in groups of 10 or more, pay something like $5 per person and spend the day. For one single person it is however not economical to pay $50 for a passage.

So I was stranded.

A bad situation in my opinion can most often than not be turned into a good or at least decent one if you have a bit of patience and some social skills. Ecuador is a brilliant country for that. My slogan would be “In Ecuador expect the unexpected”. I looked around and saw a nice looking place called Varadero, right on the port.

Varadero Puerto - Puerto Hualtaco - Huaquillas Ecuador
Varadero Puerto – Puerto Hualtaco – Huaquillas Ecuador
Varadero Puerto – Huaquillas – Fantastic seafood

It was about 11 AM, the owner was present and I introduced myself. I explained that I was interested in tourism and wanted to find a way to go to Costa Rica. His name is Dalton Otero and he is a very nice man. We ended up spending two hours together and I ended up eating some of the best seafood I had in Ecuador.

Dalton Otero - Varadero Puerto - Huaquillas
Dalton Otero – Varadero Puerto
Varadero Puerto - Puerto Hualtaco - Huaquillas Ecuador
Conversing with Dalton about life in Hualtaco

He offered me some coffee which was excellent, strong the way I like it, and with this, some delicious appetizer. These were cups made out of platano verde  stuffed with mushrooms in a garlic sauce.

 

Varadero Puerto - Puerto Hualtaco - Huaquillas Ecuador

His restaurant is quite stunning I must say, made out of a tasteful combination of bricks, stones, bamboo and straw, all open space and very bright. People can sit and enjoy watching the mangrove.

Varadero Puerto - By the mangrove
Assuming they can leave their phones

Well, assuming that they can put their phones away…

A couple from Guayaquil arrived while I was chatting with Dalton. They drove all the way from Guayaquil only to have lunch and then go back. That is about 5 hour drive each way. Impressive.

Varadero Puerto - Puerto Hualtaco - Huaquillas Ecuador

The food is equally impressive, simple, nothing complicated but all excellent and fresh. Below is a new creation of Dalton’s: raw fish in a sauce, avocado, olives.

Varadero Puerto - Simple and delicious
Varadero Puerto – Simple and delicious
Going to Costa Rica island

The president of the gobierno parroquial of Jambeli dropped by and joined us. He lives on the island and was just about to go back so he invited me to join him and also to stay on the island for the night. Just what I said earlier, a little bit of patience and things turn around. Not only did I get a delicious meal (for free, thank you Dalton) but now I was invited on a private tour by someone who knows the place in and out.

Miguel Cruz - Presidente del gobierno Autónomo Descentralizado Parroquial Rural del archipiélago Jambelí
Miguel Cruz – Presidente del gobierno Autónomo Descentralizado Parroquial Rural del archipiélago Jambelí

What happened next deserves an other article, so I shall leave Costa Rica for a little later. It was most interesting and Miguel is a very nice man indeed. I met his family and talked to several people on the island. All were warm, courteous and generous people. More on Costa Rica later.

For now and to finish this article, let’s go back to Huaquillas, where it all started. It is important because a person who wants to visit Costa Rica will most likely stay in Huaquillas at least for one night.

Staying and eating in Huaquillas

When I arrived in Huaquillas by bus from Guayaquil, my first thought was “Pierre, what have you done to yourself again?“. The place is not pretty by any standard, just one of the many concrete jungle towns that abound in Ecuador, even more so on the coast. Below is a typical street view.

Huaquillas Ecuador Street View
Huaquillas Ecuador – Street View

I was getting worried about finding some decent accommodation. The place was quite noisy, it was getting late, I was tired and had heavy bags and I did not want to run around town too much. I asked a moto taxi driver for a quiet place, meaning without a bar, a disco or something similar next door. He indicated me a hotel 100m from the Loja International bus terminal and that is where I stayed

Hotel L’Moned – Huaquillas

Hotel L'Moned - Huaquillas Ecuador

Hotel L'Moned - Huaquillas Ecuador

Hotel L'Moned - Huaquillas Ecuador
A simple, modern and clean hotel in Huaquillas

This hotel is basic, modern and clean. Rooms have hot water (and it works), Flat screen TV, good wifi, a small fridge. It is only a short stroll from the Loja International terminal, no need for a taxi.

What I liked most is that the hotel is not noisy because it is not right in the center and that the rooms have a modern almost completely silent air conditioning system. Most often than not one has the choice between not sleeping because it is too hot or not sleeping because the airco is too noisy.

Hotel L'Moned - Huaquillas Ecuador

Hotel L'Moned - Huaquillas Ecuador

Prices are reasonable at $22.80 per person not including breakfast (at the time of this writing Nov 2016).

One can see the Peruvian border from the hotel window. It is only a few hundred meters away.

Huaquillas Ecuador - Peru
Huaquillas Ecuador – right on the border with Peru

The lady at the reception is Peruvian and was friendly and helpful. She gave me some tips about going for a stroll in Peru, which is something that I wanted to do.

Hotel L'Moned - Huaquillas Ecuador
Chatting about Peru

Going to Peru is just a matter of walking 10 minutes down the street and crossing a bridge. The place is absolutely packed. There is police but no border control. People just walk back and forth between the two countries. You can pay in dollars or you can change your dollars if you prefer.

Huaquillas Ecuador - Peru
Going to Peru

You can buy clothes and shoes and alcohol. Clothes are supposedly cheaper in Peru. However I must say that all the T-shirts that I bought in Peru a few years ago are completely disintegrated today. So you have to be wary of the quality you get for your money.

Huaquillas Ecuador - Peru
I understood why they call Loja “an ecological city”.

Crossing the bridge to Peru, I had a look at the “river” and it was filthy. I understood why they call Loja an “ecological city”. It is all relative I guess.

Huaquillas Ecuador - Peru
The border between Ecuador and Peru in Huaquillas

The white herons did not seem to bother. They seem to like it dirty.

Where to eat in Huaquillas

I would definitely recommend going to Port Hualtaco to try the Varadero’s seafood. It is only a dollar away by moto taxi. See our comments above about the Varadero.

Hotel La Habana - Huaquillas Ecuador
Hotel Restaurant La Habana – Huaquillas Ecuador

However, if you want to stay in Huaquillas, I had a nice and inexpensive meal at hotel La Habana on the central square.

The hotel is nice, a little more expensive than the L’Moned, I would say one category up. I have not tried it so I won’t comment. I only tried the food and it was excellent and quickly served.

 

Hotel La Habana - Huaquillas Ecuador
La Habana friendly staff
Hotel La Habana - Huaquillas Ecuador
Hotel La Habana – Huaquillas Ecuador

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Zaruma Ecuador- A gem not far from Loja (part 1)


es
Español AQUI NO es una traducción humana!
BY PIERRE VOLTER

Part 1

Zaruma is a small city of approximately 22,000 people in the province of El Oro. For those who don’t know, the El Oro province is just next to the Loja province and is one part mountain (sierra) and one part coast. Machala is this province  main city and is on the coast whereas Zaruma is in the mountains.

How to get there

It is extremely easy to go to Zaruma from Loja. Everybody knows how to get to Catamayo which because it is where the airport is located. From Catamayo one needs to drive to San Pedro de la Bendita, then to El Cisne and finally to Portovelo/Zaruma

It takes about 4 hours from Catamayo to Zaruma however I recommend to allow more time because there is a lot to see in between.

Zaruma El Oro Map
How to get there : Loja -> Catamayo -> El Cisne -> Portovelo -> Zaruma

Zaruma in just a few words

For the impatient here is what Zaruma is all about:

  • a wonderful climate, warm just like Vilcabamba or even better with more water and greener vegetation (a bit like Zamora but not so humid)
  • stunning architectural landscape made out of traditional wooden houses and buildings
  • lovely relaxed atmosphere
  • friendly people
  • not expensive (unlike Vilcabamba)
  • not far from Loja, if you can go to Zamora and think it is not too far, then going to Zaruma will not look like the end of the world
  • food traditions and great coffee
  • gold, silver, copper and other minerals
Zaruma Ecuador- A gem not far from Loja
Zaruma Ecuador- A gem not far from Loja

On the way to Zaruma

The great thing about going to Zaruma is that the trip is really nice. Here below are a few photos that I took on the way

El Cisne

El Cisne Loja Ecuador

El Cisne Loja Ecuador

Regardless of your personal religious beliefs, if you saw what I saw, you’d have to admit that the display of faith that can be seen in el Cisne in September each year is something truly amazing. I was told that 1.5 million people visit the cathedral each year around that time. What can be seen on the right side of the first photo above is a line of parked buses. There are hundreds of them. People sleep anywhere they can, on the floor, they sell esteras (straw mats) to sleep on. Every single room or corner of a room is for rent. It is an unbelievable display and I was so lucky to drive through El Cisne just at the right time of the year

El Cisne Loja Ecuador

In the clouds

After El Cisne, we drive to Ambocas which is the boundary between the Loja province and the El Oro province. The road is unsealed for approx 30 km. I don’t understand why with such an important event taking place each year in El Cisne, they still haven’t managed to seal this important connection between the coast and Loja. Going from Loja to El Cisne is a breeze but going from Zaruma to El Cisne requires about 1 hour of unnecessary suffering on this 30 km long stretch of dirt road. The remaining part after that is perfect all the way to Zaruma.

Immediately after El Cisne you find yourself on high land with absolutely stunning views above the clouds that are close to impossible to convey with photos.

 

Views between El Cisne and Ambocas
Views between El Cisne and Ambocas

The peace and the silence are impressive. An eagle was flying above us and granted us enough time to take a good shot of him. In Spanish Eagle is “Aguila” hence the design below.

Aguila - Eagle

From there we drive though a few small villages like Santa Teresita and get to the end of the Loja province. We cross a bridge and we are in Ambocas.

Ambocas

In Ambocas there is a nice waterfall well worth visiting. It is only 15 minutes from the main road (5 minutes by car and then 10 minutes walk). There you can relax, have a picnic and take a dip. On week days it is deserted but on week-ends the place is quite popular, so beware !

Ambocas Waterfall

Ambocas Waterfall

Zaruma

From Ambocas, the road is very good again and in no time we get to Portovelo then shortly after to Zaruma.

Portovelo is nothing really special at first sight and we did not spend any time there. Zaruma is different. It has this “wow factor”. It is really pretty, quite stunning I would say.

Here is a view from the distance:

Zaruma El Oro Ecuador

As you can see, Zaruma is perched on a hill. It is actually quite steep, full of narrow streets, pedestrian steps etc… One has to keep fit to live in Zaruma !

In the distance on the left side of the photo above you can see “the dark side of Zaruma” as I would call it, the green looking ponds containing the effluents of the mining industry. Of course these ponds leak and they contaminate the aquifers. How serious is the problem I don’t know. I haven’t done any research but this is something that is mentioned on web sites (e.g. http://www.elcomercio.com/tendencias/zaruma-ecuador-ciudad-atractivos-turismo.html).

Zaruma El Oro Ecuador

Zaruma Downtown

Wandering around downtown Zaruma is fantastic. The buildings, the clocks, the museums, the churches, the streets, the shops, the restaurants, the hotels everything is pretty. One could almost feel like being in Switzerland. Actually, one of Zaruma traditional dishes is called “Tigrillo”. It is quite a cheesy dish I must say, not as much as the Swiss Fondue but pretty close. So yes, Switzerland is not too bad a comparison.

Zaruma El Oro Ecuador - Parque Central
Zaruma Ecuador- A gem not far from Loja

Zaruma El Oro Ecuador

Zaruma El Oro Ecuador

Even the internet cafe is different, all wooden, all traditional, pretty.

Zaruma El Oro Ecuador

 

To be continued …

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Notaria Quinta in Loja – Fast, Professional and Friendly

us English versiones

Español AQUI
Pierre Volter

BY PIERRE VOLTER

Introduction

Going to the notary is serious business. This is where important transactions are irreversibly sealed. Nevertheless, this does not mean that it has to be a scary experience nor that it cannot be done in a relaxed manner and with a smile.

There are quite a few notaries to choose from in Loja. Most are conveniently located in the center of the city no more than a few blocks away from the central plaza. So which one do we go to ? Does it matter ? Would it make any difference ? Are the prices different ? And to start with, are we even allowed to choose one notary rather than another or do we have to let our lawyer decide for us ?

Before we address these questions, let’s clear a few things out of the way. A notary public is a qualified lawyer, he or she has to be in this country, but he is also a public officer and it is prohibited for him to give legal advice the way your lawyer does. His role is to give faith to an existing agreement not to give advice on what agreement is best for you. Give faith means checking the validity of the documents presented to him, verifying the identities of the parties, make sure all required signatures are present, assure strict adherence to the law etc…

Notaria Quinta in Loja - Fast, Professional and Friendly
Dr Rodrin Palacios

“Nosotros damos fe publica de los actos y contratos que la ciudadania requiere”  Dr. Rodrín Palacios – notary public.

Impartiality is key. The notary has to remain neutral at all times and in case of disagreement between the parties, he has to send them back to sort things out with their respective lawyers. In a typical scenario the content of the agreement would be prepared by your lawyer, such as an affidavit, a sales and purchase agreement, a testament, a power of attorney etc… and then this content would be validated, sealed, legalized, in one word “notarized” by the notary public in the physical presence of all the required parties.

Having said that, this does not mean that one cannot seek a little guidance from a notary public. How much “guidance” exactly is he allowed to give you? Well, I would simply recommend to go and ask and if the type of question you ask is really out of what the notary is allowed to discuss, he will honestly tell you. No harm is done asking.

Notaria Quinta

Notaria Quinta in Loja - Fast, Professional and Friendly
Notaria Quinta in Loja – Fast, Professional and Friendly

I found that asking something to a notary public can be an intimidating experience. In Ecuador the notary offices tend to be packed and it is sometimes hard to even approach the doctor let alone ask him (or her because there are female notaries public) something. Some notary offices are actually designed to make people transit from one desk to another and pass through several “human filters” before they can even reach the doctor’s desk.  It is only in the final stage when everything is ready for the signatures that the client is guided to a back room where the doctor’s office is located.

At Notaria Quinta, it is not like that. If you so desire, you can walk directly to the doctor’s desk and nobody will stop you. On the contrary Dr Palacios will shake hands and invite you to sit down at his desk.

Notaria Quinta in Loja

The office design is an open plan where the doctor sits on a peer level among his assistants.

Notaria Quinta in Loja
Notaria Quinta Loja – Conviviality through Open plan design

El doctor

On the photo below we see the notary public, “el doctor” as everyone calls him. His name is Rodrín Palacios Soto. He is a soft-mannered, gentle-spoken man who kindly invites people to sit at his desk.

Notaria Quinta in Loja

“Nosotros primero somos muy cordiales, damos una atención personalizada… Damos atención prioritaria a las personas que lo necesitan como por ejemplo gente de tercer edad …”

We try first and above all to be cordial and give personalized attention… We also give priority to the people with special needs such as the elderly …

“Nuestra atención básicamente es asesoramiento…”

“Asesoramiento” means “Legal advice” in English. However, the doctor clarifies that we are not talking about giving legal advice like lawyers do but rather advising people to make sure that they understand fully what they are about to sign.

It may sound obvious to some but it is not. People could be old or may for whatever reason find it difficult to understand the content of an agreement. People could also have been pressured by family members or partners. A good notary will spend the time and make the effort to put a person in a position where he/she really understands the consequences of what that person is about to sign.

“Por eso, cuando hay un extranjero, nosotros pedimos un interprete…”

For this reason, we find a translator in the case it is a foreigner who uses our services.

Dr Palacios has 17 years experience of which he has spent 14 as a lawyer and the 3 years as a notary.

The staff

On his right side by the window sits Guadalupe

Notaria Quinta in Loja

She is a qualified lawyer and is Rodrín’s right arm.

The remaining part of the open plan is used by the staff in charge of welcoming the people, listen to their requests and preparing the documents. The place was quite busy on the day I was there but nevertheless everyone seemed relaxed, customers and staff alike, flowing with the flow. It was a beautiful sunny day in Loja.

Notaria Quinta in Loja
Everyone seemed relaxed, customers and staff alike, flowing with the flow

I counted 5 people working on the ground floor. There is a second floor where the archives are kept and there are a few more staff members working on that floor. Notaria Quinta has a significant team of professionals working harmoniously together.

Customer feedback

Notaria Quinta in Loja
Una notaria que tiene prestigio

I asked a few people what their experience was or had been with the Notaria Quinta.

Let me state that my visit was not planned, to be precise, the doctor was expecting me but the clients had no clue what I was doing there. I just walked to them and asked their opinion.

Some were regular clients and they all said that the service was outstanding.

“Es una notaria que tiene prestigio … la situación es que trabajan bien .. cuando nosotros abogados les pedimos que nos ayuden, que nos colaboren, porque el cliente muchas veces esta apurado, entonces nos hacen cuando les pidemos…”  Dr Luis Alex Guarnizo.

Cecilia Espinoza’s desk is right by the door and she is naturally the client’s first point of contact. She was taking care of two ladies who also happened to be regular customers who have done all type of transactions at Notaria Quinta and wouldn’t go anywhere else. “Muy contentas. Excelente atención” were their spontaneous words.

Notaria Quinta in Loja
Excelente atención

Final thoughts

It is my hope that the information above answers the questions at the top of this article of why one would choose a notary rather than another and whether it matters. Is one allowed to choose a notary who is not necessarily the notary his lawyer invites him to ? (maybe for personal convenience or through habit). Yes it goes without saying. No-one can force a person to sign a document in front of a notary he does not trust. It is all part of due process. Trust and informed consent are keys.

As per the prices, I was told that they should be exactly the same regardless of the notary one decides to go to. At Notaria Quinta they have a large display on the wall with the notary fees for each type of transaction.

Notary fees as per September 2016
Notary fees as per September 2016

Conclusion

At Notaria Quinta in Loja I found the atmosphere to be both professional and relaxed. The notary is a gentle-spoken and approachable person who will gracefully assist you to the extend he is allowed by the law. The staff is cordial, the service is fast and excellent according to the clients I spoke to. As a plus the space is open and bright, with many windows opening onto calle Bolivar in the heart of the city of Loja. There are many comfortable seats for people to wait while being looked after.

Only one thing is missing: the espresso machine and some home made cookies. And why not a little children corner with a few books. Maybe one day 😉

Bye for now and see you at Notaria Quinta.

Notaria Quinta in Loja - Fast, Professional and Friendly
Notaria Quinta in Loja – Fast, Professional and Friendly

Contacts

Notaria Quinta in Loja

Address: Calle Bolivar y Rocafuerte
Tel: +593 (0)72573743
Email: notariaquintaloja@gmail.com

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Sweet Potato – Living Healthy in Vilcabamba and Loja Ecuador


es
Español AQUI NO es una traducción humana!
BY PIERRE VOLTER

Todoloja researches the topics of health and longevity in this part of the world (Loja Ecuador).

Good health starts with good nutrition.

SWEET POTATOES – DID YOU KNOW?

Sweet potatoes are native to Central and South America and are one of the oldest vegetables known to man. They have been consumed since prehistoric times as evidenced by sweet potato relics dating back 10,000 years that have been discovered in Peruvian caves.

Sweet Potato - Living Healthy in Vilcabamba and Loja
Camote – sweet potato

Sweet potatoes belong to an entirely different food family than either yams or the common potato that is (unfortunately) such a large part of the common diet.

One difficulty in describing the health benefits of sweet potatoes is knowing where to begin. There are a surprising number of nutrient categories responsible for the health benefits of this underappreciated tuber. Among these categories are antioxidants, anti-inflammatory nutrients, and blood sugar-regulating nutrients. Each category brings with it valuable health benefits.

Here in Vilcabamba they grow like weed. On our land, we don’t pay too much attention to them and let them go wild and out of control most of the time but we should give them more care. They deserve it. Despite of that, today we extracted this monster from our ground in Sacapo, San Pedro de Vilcabamba.

Camote - sweet potato - Vilcabamba Ecuador

I want to add that there is nothing healthier and more fun apparently for a young child than spending time outside in the “huerto”. This is one of the things that people living in cities have lost. The children are weaker and get sick more often.

One of the factors of longevity is certainly :

More time outside and better food.
Sweet Potato - Living Healthy in Vilcabamba and Loja
Sweet Potato – Living Healthy in Vilcabamba and Loja

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Salud y Vida SPA – Natural therapies in Vilcabamba

us English version esEspañol AQUI

Relaxation therapies – Body Massage – Steam Baths – Reflexology – Clay exfoliation – Hair removal – Facial care …

Health is a pervasive topic in the so-called “Valley of Longevity”, Vilcabamba, a small town in the Ecuadorian Andes mountains. Many people have come from abroad and have settled in Vilcabamba precisely to seek a better quality of life. In fact many of them are professionals engaged in one or another form of natural therapy: massage, reflexology, acupuncture, osteopathy, yoga, bio-magnetism, Rolf therapy and more … Vilcabamba has it all.

Mariana Avila is a native of Vilcabamba. We visited her center of natural treatments called “Salud y Vida SPA“.

Salud y Vida SPA - Tratamientos Naturales en Vilcabamba Ecuador

Introduction

Martha Jaramillo
By Martha Jaramillo

Many of you living here in Vilcabamba already know Mariana and perhaps already felt her magic hands … I met her when she had a vegetarian restaurant. I must confess that was my favorite at that time.

However, we have now discovered other qualities and skills that she possesses. Mariana is a sweet and spontaneous person, inspires confidence, she carries within herself what I would call “the angel”, something that I immediately felt when I saw her. The persons who possess “the angel” have something special that other people don’t have, the true vocation of caring for others and do it with love, patience and sweetness. Mariana has that and it makes you want to stay there forever in a never ending massage.

She told us that her attraction for alternative therapies and natural medicine was born when she was still very young. It is something genetic in the Avila Cabrera family. She explained that several close family members favored the branch of medicine both eastern and western. She also has an uncle who is a shaman and her daughter Ruth is studying child psychology at the university. They are a long chain of guardians of health …

And before you ask, her prices are very affordable too.

The place is simple without fuss and quite cozy indeed, adorned with many beautiful plants and flowers of various colors. Every corner is well designed so that when one enters this place, one feels comfortable and relaxed.

Salud y Vida SPA Vilcabamba - The place is cozy and well decorated
The place is cozy and well decorated

Mariana told us that her customers usually ask for suggestions on which therapy to attend and she advises them depending on their ailments. However, the “baño de cajón” (in English literally “the bath in a drawer”) is always the recommended first step in order to detoxify the body and at the same time get the person to relax. She then continues with either a massage or an exfoliation, a mud bath, a reflexology etc …

Mariana has been trained through workshops, courses etc … about therapies that she performs in its SPA. It is evident that she loves doing these activities and this makes it different.

To let go in Mariana’s hands

By Pierre Volter

As is our custom at todoloja.com, we want as much as possible to only talk from experience. For the purpose of this article, Mariana offered me to do me a treatment and I asked her which one she would recommend. We talked a little about my health and my ailments, she asked me a few things about my life. I have a tendency to be a little over stressed and nervous which in my case manifests itself in the skin. Because of this she recommended a steam bath and a clay exfoliation.

It is something that Martha has already mentioned above in her introduction but I wish to reiterate it because it is important. The therapist’s personality, her “energy”, her “aura” is an essential part of the patient’s experience, is it not? This is something that cannot be explained but rather felt. I felt immediately relaxed with Mariana and had no issue surrendering myself to her capable hands.

Baño de cajón (steam box)

Salud y Vida Vilcabamba - Baños de cajón
Salud y Vida Vilcabamba – Baños de cajón

This is basically a steam bath, similar to a Turkish bath but performed in a custom designed cupboard or “drawer” (hence the name “cajon” in Spanish which means drawer) inside which the person sits leaving only the head outside. I read that it is inspired from Ayurvedic medicine. The advantage of leaving the head outside is that one can still breathe comfortably “up here” despite the heat and heavy body sweating “down there”.

 

Salud y Vida Vilcabamba - Baños de cajón
Getting ready for the steam box (Baño de cajón)
The body is the body
The body is the body

So I took off my clothes, put my belongings in a cane basket that she gave me and put on a white dressing gown.

It was then time to sit in the steam box that I distractedly was about to walk into with the gown still on. Mariana gently told me to take it off. “Of course“, I thought, “Silly me, I am not going to get in there with the dressing gown on, am I?

However, I felt a little shy I confess. I heard myself saying, “What? I have to take it all off?“.

She laughed and replied:

That’s right. The body is the body.”

I sat in the steam box and slowly felt the heat all over my body and the nice scent of the plants while I started to sweat a lot, which is good because the objective is for the heat to open the pores and allow the body toxins out. I had to stay 15 minutes inside the box.

Salud y Vida Vilcabamba - Baños de cajón
I sat in the steam box and slowly felt the heat all over my body

From time to time Mariana approached to ask how I feel, wipe my face and put a wet towel on my head. Also when the heat became unbearable, we opened the lid a little to have a pause. I must say that she did the whole process very sweetly, nothing by force, nothing uncomfortable. After the treatment, looking at the photo below and remembering the heat and the cool “life saving towel” that Mariana put on my head, I had to laugh while thinking about those famous biblical words:

Salud y Vida Vilcabamba - Baños de cajón
Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.

Clay Exfoliation

Salud y Vida SPA Vilcabamba - Exfoliacion con arcilla caliente
A sheet of plastic and a good blanket to continue perspiring

Fifteen minutes later I felt totally relaxed. Mariana then covered my whole body with warm clay including the face and wrapped me in a sheet of plastic and a good blanket to continue perspiring for about 20 minutes.

Mariana then covered my whole body with warm clay including the face
Mariana then covered my whole body with warm clay including the face

In this process I felt quite hot and thirsty, Mariana gave me to drink a refreshing mint tea, then she made an exfoliation with a glove to remove the wet clay, gently massaging the whole body.

Salud y Vida SPA Vilcabamba - Exfoliation
Salud y Vida SPA Vilcabamba – Exfoliation

Finally I took a shower, not too cold not too hot. Perfect ! And it was easy to take the clay off my body because the clay had not been allowed to dry out. I then leaned back in a long chair and felt like a fresh lettuce … well actually I wish I could have stayed right there to sleep overnight since I felt so comfortable and relaxed.

Reflexology

Salud y Vida SPA Vilcabamba - Reflexología

“Reflexology is the application of appropriate pressure to specific points and areas on the feet, hands, or ears. Reflexologists believe that these areas and reflex points correspond to different body organs and systems, and that pressing them has a beneficial effect on the organs and person’s general health.” Wikipedia.

We did not do a reflexology session. While she was briefly explaining us how it works, Mariana took my feet and applied pressure to different points. When she made me cringe or even jump she explained that the pain was not something normal but rather the reflection of a problem in some area of my body.

Salud y Vida SPA Vilcabamba - Reflexology mat
Reflexology mat

Talking about reflexology, Mariana had something interesting. She showed us a mat made in such a way that it stimulates the reflexology points of the feet, allowing to reach excellent therapeutic results.

My feet are very sensitive so I could not even stand for a minute on the carpet. It is like walking on pebbles but worse. Martha, who is native from here had no problem at all standing on it. “She is a river girl” I thought.

Actually, Mariana recommended me to take shoe-less walks on the river bank.

Massage

We did not have time for a massage. It must surely be excellent and we’ll try to include information on this topic some time on the todoloja.com web site.

In the mean time, if you are reading this article and have already experienced a massage at “Salud y Vida”, please leave your comment in the section below.

Conclusion

In her Vilcabamba natural treatment center, Salud y Vida SPA, Mariana knows her subject. She has a lot of experience dealing with both locals and foreigners. She works with sweetness, love and respect. The place is cozy and has good energy. We recommend it to anyone who wants to relax, relieve stress and improve his or her physical and psychological health.

Salud y Vida SPA - Natural therapies in Vilcabamba - Mariana Avila
Salud y Vida SPA – Natural therapies in Vilcabamba – Mariana Avila

Visit the center of natural treatments Health and Life the next time you are in Vilcabamba.

 

Contacts

Address: Valle Sagrado y Diego Vaca de Vega, Vilcabamba Ecuador (opposite to restaurant Mexibamba)
Tel: +593 (0)9 86782084
Email: marianaavilac@gmail.com
Opening hours: please call for an appointment

Salud y Vida SPA Vilcabamba - Mapa

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Pharmacy in Loja – By the people and for the people

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Español AQUI
BY PIERRE VOLTER

Only a few meters from the “centro comercial” main entrance in Loja, there is a pharmacy. The place is small indeed, so small that you may never have noticed it but his owner is not small and I don’t mean size-wise. Ramiro Delgado is what I would not hesitate to call a “great man”. On this beautiful sunny day I truly enjoyed spending a couple of  hours with him.

Ramiro has done many things in his life and occupied important functions. For example, he was involved in writing the Ecuadorian constitution in 2008 in Montecristi and he has been the owner of a 5 floor business in central Loja with an ice cream parlor, a restaurant, a children playground, a dance club…  but this place, this small pharmacy is truly his and he explains that it is in this place that he can truly be himself.

Why own 10 businesses? To live with a level of stress of 500% ? No. It is better to be able to freely say hello to a friend, lend a hand to an elderly to help him cross the road. And be the person I have always been“.

Pharmacia del Pueblo Loja Ecuador - Ramiro Delgado
Farmacia del Pueblo Loja Ecuador – Ramiro Delgado

My father was a wise man and he used to say that money only has two virtues: it poisons the soul and kills the feelings. Because when you have money you think that you can buy it all, you lose the capacity to love, you lose the capacity to respect and fell compassion.

So once again in this small third-world country called Ecuador, I found myself exchanging profound ideas with a great and wise man in the middle of a nothing place next to a popular market where people go to buy their potatoes and their chicken. How amazing!

I found myself exchanging profound ideas with a great and wise man
I found myself exchanging profound ideas with a great and wise man

Let’s take a look at the place this man is running, shall we? It is a pharmacy, “the people’s pharmacy” is its name, la “farmacia del pueblo”, but we shall see that it is much more than just a pharmacy. It has all the expected pharmaceuticals for sure but also a range of natural products. We don’t have the space to list them all here and I strongly advise the reader to pay Ramiro a visit and check him out. Below is an example of a popular plant-based products that help people sleep better.

Farmacia del Pueblo Loja Ecuador - Pharmacueticals and Natural Products
Farmacia del Pueblo Loja Ecuador – Pharmaceuticals and Natural Products

Secondly,  it is a small bank, two banks more precisely: Banco de Guayaquil and Banco de Pinchincha. In this pharmacy people come to make deposits and perform other types of transactions without having to queue in a main branch and with the possibility to talk to a real flesh-bone-and-heart human being instead of a human-like robot.

Farmacia del Pueblo Loja Ecuador - Banco de Guayaquil y Banco de Pinchincha
Farmacia del Pueblo Loja Ecuador – Banco de Guayaquil y Banco de Pinchincha

Thirdly, Ramiro makes copies of most types of keys with an automatic machine.

Farmacia del Pueblo Loja Ecuador - Key cutting
Farmacia del Pueblo Loja Ecuador – Key cutting

Finally and just as importantly, it is a place where everybody smiles and just that is a therapy that no medicine in the world can beat !

Farmacia del Pueblo Loja Ecuador
Pharmacy in Loja – By the people and for the people

So check him out next time you go to the market or have a need for medicinal products. His English is not great he does admit but he can understand you if you speak slowly.

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