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Discover the wonders of Ecuador with the Cruise Train Ecuador, recognized as the leading Luxury Train in South America in 2014 and 2015, Modern and lovingly restored, antique steam locomotives pull a high quality convoy of two luxuries, Colonial and Republican-Style themed passengers cars carrying just fifty passengers to ensure personalized service for all.
Tren Crucero ”Cruise Train” has already won many prestigious international awards and recognitions, including the “Wider World Project” for the Best Tourism Project outside Europe by the British Guild of Travel Writers in 2013, and one of the “Top 5 unmissable journeys by rail” conferred by the world-renowned Lonely Planet Travel Guide. During 2014, Tren Ecuador was also granted a certificate of excellence by Trip Advisor and in January 2015, the Grupo Excelencias of Spain awarded Tren Crucero with the Premio Excelencia Turísticas.
Quito-Guayaquil or Guayaquil-Quito
To be confirmed after booking.
Approximately 6:30 PM.
Light clothing, comfortable shoes, sunscreen, sunglasses, hat and, insect repellent..
CLOTHING: Wear layers: a jacket for cold weather and a light coat for the rain (coast). Comfortable walking shoes, hat, sunscreen with high SPF, repellent, sunglasses. Don’t forget your camera!
ALTITUDE: It ranges from 80 to 3,610 meters above sea level. The temperature ranges from 14 ° to 35 °C.
IMPORTANT: Duran station is 30 minutes away from Guayaquil. Take it into account to ensure you arrive on time for check-in. In Quito, Swissôtel is located in the city of Quito, Avenida 12 de Octubre y Luis Cordero. Unused services are not refunded. Consult with our sales department about the possibility of boarding Tren Crucero Train of Wonders (southbound) in Otavalo.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: All itineraries are subjected to change due to force majeure or technical, operational circumstances. Please check our policy regarding refunds and cancellations. At Tren Ecuador we are committed to providing the best possible travel experience.
The program includes transportation aboard Tren Crucero, all meals during the trip, snacks and soft drinks on board, guide in Spanish and English*, excursions according to the itinerary, transportation by bus/van during the program for excursions and accommodation based on double occupancy. In the Quito to Guayaquil route, once the train has arrived at Duran station (Guayaquil), you will be transferred to the hotel for overnight**.
*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.
**For Day 4: Dinner is not included. Breakfast included for the next day.
Taxes, alcoholic beverages (Tren Crucero offers wine, beer and whiskey), meals and excursions not included in the program, air tickets, personal expenses, gratuities or transfers to hotels different from the ones listed here. Passengers are recommended to purchase travel insurance.
We 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 us.
At a slow pace we 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 we return to Quito.
We board our convoy at Quito Chimbacalle station and begin our 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 our panoramic cars we watch the change of vegetation and landscape as we slowly climb the Andean highlands to Urbina, the highest point in our itinerary at 11,800 feet above sea level. In the skirts of mount Chimborazo we meet the last ice-merchant and learn the story of his ancestral trade.
We depart Riobamba towards Colta, where the Spanish conquerors built their first settlement in Ecuador. We 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.
We 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 us from the Andean highlands down towards the coastal plains.
We continue our descent along the narrow Chanchán river gorge and crossing an impressive cloud forest towards the temperate city of Bucay.
The landscape changes again as the train leaves the tropical forest behind. Rice, sugar cane, pineapple and banana plantations pass before our eyes.
We have lunch at a traditional hacienda, where we 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 our trip in a hotel in Guayaquil for overnight.
We depart from Durán in the coast early in the morning, our heritage convoy pulled by a vintage steam engine. We switch engines in Yaguachi and continue across rice, sugar cane, banana and pineapple plantations to Naranjito.
Lunch is served in a traditional hacienda, where we will learn about the best cocoa bean in the world and taste home-made chocolate. After a show of Montubio culture we continue our trip towards Bucay. If the day is clear, we will get tour first glimpse of the Andes in the distance.
As we travel along the canyon of river Chanchán the vegetation and temperature change abruptly. The cloud forest clears out and the sparse vegetation of the highlands takes its place, while the stone walls of the Andes loom in the horizon.
The train makes a stop at Pistishi lookout, where we can get a good glimpse of the impressive feat of engineering ahead of us, before start the daunting climb of mythical Devil’s nose.
After a 450 meter climb in barely 12 kilometers of dizzying zig zag the train finally reaches the quaint village of Alausi, in the Andes. We continue our journey to Riobamba, crossing colorful quinoa fields. In Colta we visit the indigenous community of Palacio Real, where we learn about llama breeding.
We arrive in Riobamba pulled by a powerful steam engine, with time to visit the Train Station Artisans’ Square before heading to our hotel.
We depart for Urbina, the highest point in our itinerary at 3600m.a.s.l. There, in the eastern flanks of Chimborazo volcano awaits the last ice merchant, to tell the tale of his ancestral trade.
Then we ride north along the Avenue of Volcanoes, the fertile valley sheltered between the two arms of the Andes mountain range. In clear days you can spot up to twenty volcanoes from the comfort of your seat. In the skirts of Cotopaxi volcano we will explore a singular Andean forest trail before continuing our ride towards Quito.
Our journey continues to the Northern Andes. In Otavalo, home to a millenary market, we board the train, pulled by a lovingly restored steam engine.
During the day we will discover the culture, traditions, music, gastronomy, paintings and the antique skill of woodcarving, learned from the renowned masters of the Quito carving school, back in the XVIIth century.
After having lunch in a very singular hacienda, we head back to our last night in Quito.