Departures: Tuesdays (almost every other week)
Experience the wonders of Ecuador on board Tren Crucero, recognized as the Leading Luxury Train in South America in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Modern, electric-diesel, and lovingly restored, antique steam locomotives pull a high quality convoy of two luxury, Colonial and Republican-style themed passenger cars carrying just fifty passengers, to ensure personalized service for all.
The guides and bartenders are deeply passionate about their land and culture, and are ready to satisfy your curiosity at any time while you enjoy the views. Nights are spent in characterful countryside hotels and haciendas. You will hike the rainforest, roam ancestral markets, visit artisans’ workshops, meet the last “ice-harvester” of Chimborazo, be welcomed in indigenous communities where you will learn about Andean cosmogony and ancestral traditions…All this straight from the true guardians of these riches, the local communities that have preserved this astounding heritage.
Day 1 – Tuesday (Quito – Otavalo – Ibarra – Quito)
You depart Quito early in the morning for a one-and-a-half drive north. In Otavalo, home of a millenary market, a carefully restored steam engine awaits you.
At a slow pace you will discover the many wonders hidden in this part of the country: musicians, painters, weavers and the skillful woodcarvers who keep the renowned Quito School style alive. After a tasting of traditional Andean cuisine and a visit to very special export-class rose plantation you return to Quito.
Day 2 – Wednesday (Quito – Urbina)
You board the convoy at Quito Chimbacalle station and begin your journey south along the Avenue of Volcanoes. If the weather permits, you can spot up to twenty volcanoes from the train –most extinct or dormant for centuries.
Here, the Andes range splits into two arms that run parallel down south. The fertile valley trapped between these stone walls hosts a treasure trove of biodiversity. From the comfort of the panoramic cars you watch the change of vegetation and landscape as we slowly climb the Andean highlands to Urbina, the highest point in the itinerary at 11,800 feet above sea level. In the skirts of mount Chimborazo you meet the last ice-merchant and learn the story of his ancestral trade.
Day 3 – Thursday (Riobamba – The Devil’s Nose – Bucay)
You depart Riobamba towards Colta, where the Spanish conquerors built their first settlement in Ecuador. You cross colorful quinoa fields painted in purples, yellows and reds, alternating with endemic species of flora and wildlife, indigenous settlements and the remains of ancient cultures.
You visit Guamote market, one of the last indigenous markets in the Andes, before continuing south towards the mythical Devil’s Nose pass. A vertiginous descent of 450metres zig zag takes you from the Andean highlands down towards the coastal plains.
You continue your descent along the narrow Chanchán river gorge and crossing an impressive cloud forest towards the temperate city of Bucay.
Day 4 – Friday (Bucay – Guayaquil)
The landscape changes again as the train leaves the tropical forest behind. Rice, sugar cane, pineapple and banana plantations pass before your eyes.
You have lunch at a traditional hacienda, where you can learn about the growing and harvesting of the best cocoa bean in the world. Later, the steam engine whites its way across the fields towards the shores of the Pacific Ocean and the end of your trip in a hotel in Guayaquil for overnight.
- Accommodation based on double occupancy
- Transportation aboard the Tren Crucero
- Transportation by bus/van during the program for excursions and hotels
- Activities as described in the itinerary
- Bilingual guide*
- Meals from lunch on the first day until lunch on the last day. Breakfast in the hotel from day 4 is also included.
- Snacks and soft drinks on board
*Guidance in languages other than Spanish and English as Italian, French, German, Portuguese and Japanese can be provided on request. It is subject to availability and applies an extra cost.
- Alcoholic beverages
- Transfers to hotels not listed in the itinerary
- Personal expenses
- Sunscreen & sunglasses
- Layered clothing
- Warm rain jacket for the Andes
- Light jacket for the coast
- Comfortable walking shoes