Why not try a different way to explore the beautiful country of Ecuador? On a four-day tour with the unique Tren Crucero you can travel from Quito in the highlands to Guayaquil on the coast. You will cross the amazing Avenue of the Volcanoes and can meet Andean and coastal indigenous communities. The tour is about 280 miles long and takes you from an altitude of about 9,500 ft to sea level. The Tren Crucero offers a unique luxury experience. During the day you travel in the wonderfully restored train, and the nights you spend in different hotels and haciendas.
It’s also possible to travel the other way, from Guayaquil to Quito, on the Tren Crucero.
Number of days: 4
Regions: Andes, Coast
Interests: Cities, Train
Category: First Class
Total CO2 emission, in lb (per day for cruises): 56
Click on the icons to see details about each visited place.
Day 1: Quito – Otavalo – Ibarra – Quito
In the early morning we depart from Quito for a one-and-a-half hour ride north. First stop on the journey will be Otavalo, known for its millenary market, which is one of the most important and spectacular markets in Latin America. At slow pace we make our way through the Ecuadorian highlands and discover all the many hidden wonders of the region such as musicians, painters, weavers and woodcarvers, working on a local school. After a visit to the special export-class rose plantation and a taste of traditional Andean cuisine we will make our way back to Quito.
We will spend the night in the Swissotel in Quito.
Day 2: Quito – Boliche – Urbina – Riobamba
The journey starts at 6.30 a.m. at Quito’s Chimbacalle train station. From there on the convoy will take us south along the Avenue of Volcanoes where, if weather conditions are good, you can spot up to twenty volcanoes – most of which are extinct or dormant for centuries.
Here, the Andes split into two arms that run parallel down south. The valley laying in between is host to a region of magnificent biodiversity. The change in vegetation and landscape can be gazed upon from our panoramic cars while we climb up to the highest spot of our itinerary, Urbina which lies 11,800 feet above sea level. Furthermore, we learn the story of ancestral trade and meet the last ice-merchant in the skirts of Mount Chimborazo.
Finally, we will have dinner at Riobamba where we will also spend the night.
Day 3: Riobamba – Colta – Guamote – Alausí – Sibambe – Huigra – Bucay
We are collected from our hotels by coach and return to Riobamba train station. Riobamba is a city surrounded by four active volcanoes and it is known as the “Queen of the Andes”. We then board Tren Crucero, pulled by steam locomotive, and travel across stunning Andean landscapes to Colta where we have a short stop to visit Balbanera church, the first landmark Christianity made upon its arrival to these lands.
Returning to the train, we then depart to Guamote and explore its famous indigenous market. This is one of the last authentic markets in the Ecuadorian Andes and a traditional lunch will be served at the station.
In the afternoon, we depart by train to Alausí train station travelling across fascination natural geological formations. Once there, we will start our descent by train down to the famous Devil’s Nose where the train has to perform zigzag maneuvers in order to descent 200 meters of altitude whilst travelling across 3 kilometers of rail. We then make a short stop at a viewpoint to observe and photograph this magnificent engineering achievement that is known as the most difficult railway project in the world.
We continue by train to Huigra, a small village located between the Andes and the coast lands with a pleasant climate and travel then forward along the dramatic Chanchan riverbed down to Bucay Station. On the way, we witness the transition from the Andes to the Ecuadorian coastal plain with its rich soil and lush vegetation. Once in Bucay, we go by coach to El Limonar, to visit the Shuar community. The Shuar migrated here some 70 years ago travelling from the Amazon basin to the coast and they will share with us their ancestral customs and traditions. We then continue by coach to San Rafael Ranch for lunch and a short visit to a commercial cacao plantation, after we will return to Bucay where you will stay for the night in the Hostería D’Franco.
Day 4: Bucay – Yaguachi – Durán
Today in the morning we continue our journey to the Yaguachi train station and the magnificently restored steam locomotive that will pull us up to the Duran train station in Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city and a major port and air terminal.
This final and fascination section of the journey passes through Ecuador’s coastal plain with its rich soil, lush vegetation and plantations heavy with bananas, sugar cane, mango, pineapple and rice.
Duran is our last stop and after fond farewells, passengers are transferred by coach to the main hotels in Guayaquil (including the Hilton Colón, Oro Verde, Hampton Inn, Wyndham, Grand Hotel Guayaquil and the Sonesta).
Price per person: US$ 1,400.00
(based on 2 people traveling)
- 3 nights in double rooms in superior and first class hotels, with breakfast
- transportation in the train
- English and Spanish speaking guides
- full board and excursions
- international or domestic flights
- meals not specified
- personal expenses
- optional excursions and activities
- personal travel insurance
Accommodation consists of various first class hotels in Quito as well as on the journey.
Day 1 – Quito – Swissotel
Day 2 – Riobamba – Andaluza
Day 3 – Bucay – D’Franco
Day 4 – Guayaquil – Wyndham Hotel
More questions or ready to book the tour with the “Tren Crucero”? Purchases can be made conveniently via credit card and check wire transfer.
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