Nueva Loja in Ecuador, Cities, Travel Destinations
Nueva Loja is the official name for Lago Agrio. Loja has a rather sizable population of 26,000 people. The town came into existence largely due to the establishment of oil fields by the Texan oil company Texaco in the area. It was these Texans who saw fit to name the area after 'Sour Lake' in Texas and the name has since stuck. Today Nueva Loja is the primary capital city for the Sucumbios province in northeastern Ecuador.
Rich oil reserves were discovered in the area during the early 1960s and as a result, American oil companies quickly moved in. The 1960’s and 1970’s were a period of growth for the area, as Texaco chose to establish their primary camp in Nueva Loja. The town was in close proximity to the new oil fields and so provided the perfect location. Unfortunately the establishment of these oil companies in the area has not brought about the positive effect that one might imagine that they would. Instead it has brought about the destruction of natural flora and fauna – both in the city itself and in the surrounding areas. In fact, the Sucumbios province became the first Ecuadorian province to become badly exploited by man. Today oil mining activities continue to be detrimental to the environment and these activities have had huge ecological repercussions. The pollution resulting from mining activities has brought about the environmental degradation of the rainforests, which in turn has negatively affected the wildlife found in these natural areas. Because of all of this, tourism is definitely not a strong point in Nueva Loja. Instead the city continues to rely heavily upon the US Texaco Oil Company for revenue.
Despite this seemingly insurmountable ecological problem, conservation efforts have been made to preserve some of the surrounding wilderness areas. The Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve has ensured that at least some of the natural vegetation and animal life is conserved to the greatest degree possible. The reserve contains some of the Amazon’s most striking natural treasures and can be accessed through Nueva Loja. Visitors should note that the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve has a tropical climate with high humidity levels.
The indigenous people of Nueva Loja are the Secoya, Cofan and Siona Indians. Unfortunately the exploitation of natural resources by the oil company has also had a negative impact on these social groups. As a result these people have been pushed away into the surrounding areas, visiting the cities occasionally to acquire needed provisions.
Those wishing to visit Nueva Loja will find that the local airport provides fast and convenient transportation. The fact that this is one of the only airports in the region means that Nueva Loja is one of the most convenient places for visitors wishing to visit some of the remaining reserves and protected areas. Other natural attractions in the area include the Limoncocha and Funistica reserves.