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A typically global prejudice, the North of Ecuador is regarded as “better” than the south – so Loja is less popular with the sunscreen-and-sandals crew. This is a pity because the province is a gorgeous mix of forest, jungle, mountain and very pleasant climate. Semi-renowned for producing high quality Ecuadorian musicians, Loja sports a buzzing music and theatre scene.

Robyn Leslie

I am a South African, which means I like sunshine and sticky-tape coins together so no-one knows I have money in my pocket. An environmental scientist by qualification, I studied at the University of Cape Town. My years there taught me about the grand narratives of communism, neo-liberalism and post-modernism, and how shitty people can be when they can't find a spot to park their car. After that I needed a break and went off to South America, where I lived and worked for a year. Now I am freelancing as a writer and holding out for a job that combines a morally specific mission with valuable, practical development goals. With a salary. Hmmm. By the way, I was just being snarky before. South Africa is totally safe. Really. Come and visit.