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Ecuador

Ecuador Train of Wonders: from Quito to Guayaquil

4 days | 3 nights
Shared tour
From 1769USD per person
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From Quito to Guayaquil, experience the wonders of Ecuador on board the Tren Crucero, awarded leading luxury train in South America in 2014, 2015, 2106 and 2017. 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. A bar and gift-shop car with two comfortable observation lounges and an open-air terrace complete the setup of this comfortable, select boutique train. The journey begins in the northern Andes of Ecuador, in the valley of Otavalo, as you wind your way through traditional villages to meet craftspeople and enjoy a visit to a rose plantation. Venturing south from Quito, you will travel through the famous 'Avenue of Volcanoes', passing such giants as Cotopaxi and Chimborazo – the closest point on the planet to the sun. After a visit to the truly-authentic Andean market of Guamote, make your way to warmer climes, zig-zagging down the mythical 'Devil's Nose'. After descending the slopes of the colossal Andes you will enter a tropical forest world, ride through sugar-cane, rice and cacao plantations, to end your trip on the peaceful plains of the coastal region.

Destinations

Ecuador

Trip at a glance

Visits

Quito, Otavalo, Ibarra, Ambato, Urbina, Riobamba, Devil's Nose, Bucay, Naranjito, Yaguachi, Guayaquil

Accomodation

4 hotel nights

Transportation

4 days Train Crucero trip from Quito to Guayaquil

All visits and transfers by bus or van

Dates and Prices

Arrival date

Trip details

Itinerary

Day 1 QUITO – OTAVALO – SAN ANTONIO – SAN ROQUE – IBARRA – QUITO: OTAVALO MARKET, ONBOARD SHOW, ROSE PLANTATION

Morning

In the morning, a 2-hour bus ride will take you north of Quito, to the Imbabura Province, across rose plantations blooming in the shadow of the impressive mountains of the Otavalo valley.

Otavalo is home of skilled craftspeople whose traditional culture and crafts can be seen at the world-renowned Otavalo market.

At San Roque train station you will set off on your train journey to discover musicians, painters, weavers and skilful woodcarvers, all faithful disciples of the Quito School of Art.

Delve into this amazing world of hidden treasures, colors and textures while exploring the northern routes of the Ecuadorian railway.

Where the tracks end, you will hop off to visit the hacienda 'la Compania'. Located close to the equator, this 18th century hacienda will amaze you with its export-class rose plantation and exquisite Andean cuisine.

Afternoon

Drive back to Quito where you will spend the night in the first city in history to be listed as UNESCO world heritage.

Evening

Overnight at your hotel in Quito.

MEALS
  • Lunch at a hacienda
  • Dinner at the hotel

Day 2 QUITO – COTOPAXI – AMBATO – URBINA: AVENUE OF VOLCANOES, CULTURAL ACTIVITIES WITH LOCAL COWBOYS, DIABLADA PILLAREÑA PARADE

Morning

Board your Tren Crucero at Quito's Chimbacalle station and begin your journey south, along the 'Avenue of Volcanoes'.

From the comfort of your seat and depending on the weather, you will be able to spot up to twenty volcanoes. For the most part inactive, some of these volcanoes have been dormant for centuries and others are very much active.

Along the way, the Andes split into two separate ranges that run parallel with each other. The fertile valley in-between these volcanic walls hosts a treasure trove of biodiversity and a hive of agricultural activity.

Your train will stop at an Andean hacienda where you will be treated to a rodeo demonstration performed by skilled local horsemen known as 'chagras'. This is also the opportunity to learn about rural life and meet the local farm animals, such as fluffy llamas.

Arriving at Ambato train station, some local devils will board the train. The 'Diablada Pillareña' parade, a picturesque and ancestral tradition will add a touch of playfulness and music to your memorable day.

Afternoon

In the afternoon, the tracks of the Trans-Andean train veer towards the inhospitable heights of the Urbina train station.

Over your journey, the landscapes and vegetation change drastically as the train painstakingly climbs up to the chilly Andean highlands all the way to the town of Urbina, the highest point of your itinerary at 11,800 feet (3600 m) above sea level. Here, in the shadow of the Chimborazo Volcano, the closest point on the planet to the sun, you will meet Balthazar Ushca, the last ice-merchant in the Andes, and learn the story of his ancestral trade.

Later in the afternoon you will drive to another typical Andean Hacienda in the heart of the Andes where you will spend the evening and be delighted by your hosts' ravishing cuisine.

Evening

Overnight at your hotel in Riobamba.

MEALS
  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Lunch onboard
  • Dinner at the hotel

Day 3 RIOBAMBA – COLTA – GUAMOTE – ALAUSI – BUCAY: RIDE ON 'THE BLACK MONSTER', THE DEVIL’S NOSE

Morning

Setting off early from Urbina, on board the 'Black Monster' steam engine, chug your way through the heart of the central Andes, amid colorful quinoa fields flecked in purples, yellows and reds, alternating with endemic species of flora and wildlife, indigenous settlements and the remains of ancient cultures.

At Colta, enjoy the skillful and complex maneuver to switch locomotives the train drivers operate and leave the 'Black Monster' behind for a diesel locomotive that will take you further south.

The Colta lake saw the birth of this charming nation when Spanish conquerors first settled on its shores.

At Guamote market, one of the last truly indigenous markets in the Andes, take your time to wander, admire and barter for some local goods.

Afternoon

A bus transfer will take you to Alausi where you will board another train down and across the mythical 'Devil's Nose' pass. A vertiginous 3300-foot descent (1000 meters) where the train zigzags back and forth along a track carved into the mountainside.

The original cars from the early 20th century carrying passengers down the Sibambe valley were restored to their former glory in order to make this unique and wonderful experience even more memorable.

Back in Alausi, a bus will take you down a mesmerizing journey from the imposing mountains to the peaceful coastal plains. The dramatic change in weather and vegetation is another exciting feature of this drive down the Andes.

After a 4-hour ride you will get to your hotel where you can take time to rest and reflect upon the titanic labor undertaken by the Harman brothers whose engineering prowess overcame the colossal Andean mountain range.

Evening

Overnight at your hotel in Bucay region.

MEALS
  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Lunch onboard
  • Dinner at the hotel

Day 4 BUCAY – SAN ANTONIO – YAGUACHI – DURAN: COCOA FARM

Morning

A pleasant one-hour bus ride will take you from the Andean slopes to the country's tropical plains where rice, sugar cane, pineapple, banana and cacao plantations all add to incredible color palette.

Visit a traditional hacienda to learn about farming and harvesting of the Ecuadorian cocoa bean, a bean so exquisite it is considered the best in the world.

A bus transfer will take you to Naranjito where you will board another train heading to Duran.

Afternoon

At your last stop at the Yaguachi train station, another steam locomotive will be waiting for you. The ingenuity behind the engine switch is a spectacle worth-watching in itself. The sound of the whistle and the steamy locomotive take us back in time to the beginnings of the Ecuadorian railroad construction.

Transfer to your hotel.

MEALS
  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Lunch at a hacienda

Video

Services

What's included

Accommodation

Nights
4 hotel nights

Meals

Full board plan
3 breakfasts + 4 lunches + 3 dinners / snacks and soft drinks onboard

Transportation

Train
4 days Train Crucero trip from Quito to Guayaquil
Bus
All visits and transfers by bus or van

Orientation

Guide
Shared English-speaking guide

Entrance Fees

All entrance fees to mentioned sites

What's not included

  • International Flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Extra Meals
  • Beverages
  • Tips

Important notes

TRAIN1 map

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