TREN CRUCERO – ECUADOR’S CRUISE TRAIN
Come aboard Tren Crucero’s vintage train cars for an incredible voyage through Ecuador’s countryside. You’ll get a taste of this South American nation’s culture, heritage and spirit, as you journey along the historic rail line that extends from Quito in the high Andes to Ecuador’s lush coastal regions. In fact, passengers on this Ecuador train tour will enjoy spectacular scenery, ranging from beautiful volcanoes to thriving green plains. Tren Crucero accommodates 54 passengers in its luxurious carriages, which will take you from Quito to Latacunga, Riobamba, Bucay and Duran. Book your ride aboard Tren Crucero and discover Ecuador’s premiere train tour!
DAY BY DAY ITINERARIES:
JOURNEY: GUAYAQUIL – QUITO:
1st Day Sunday: Duran – Yaguachi – Bucay
Tren Crucero departs from the Eloy Alfaro train station in Duran (located just 9km from Guayaquil International Airport) at 8:30 am, pulled by a magnificently restored steam locomotive. We then travel through typical coastal plantations laden with bananas, sugar cane, mango, and pineapple and rice en-route to our first stop at Yaguachi, where we switch to a diesel electric locomotive and head for Bucay train station. Here, we transfer to coaches that will take us to San Rafael Ranch for lunch and a short visit to a commercial cacao plantation. Overnight and dinner is at the D ́ Franco Lodge Hotel on the outskirts of Bucay.
2nd Day Monday: Bucay – Devil’s Nose – Guamote – Riobamba
After breakfast, our coach takes us back to Bucay train station which is the starting point for our ascent up into the mountains and where we will witness the climatic transition between the lowlands of the coast and the highlands of the Andes. We make a short stop at Sibambe viewpoint to observe The Devil’s Nose, a major engineering achievement that was called by its constructors, as the most difficult railway project in the world. The train then performs a zigzag maneuver in order to climb 200 meters of altitude whilst traveling 3 kilometers of rail.
We then continue our train journey to the beautiful town of Guamote, where we take lunch at the train station. Afterwards, we will visit Inti Sisa, a nonprofit foundation that provides education and tourism workshops for the local community. In the afternoon, we return to the train and travel across stunning Andean landscapes to Colta, where we switch back to the steam locomotive that will pull us up to Riobamba. We visit Balbanera church, the first landmark that Christianity made upon its arrival to these lands almost 500 years ago, before continuing our journey to Riobamba on board the train. Overnight and dinner is taken at either the Abraspungo Hotel or the Andaluza Hacienda Hotel.
3rd Day Tuesday: Riobamba – Ambato – Latacunga
After breakfast, we go by coach to Riobamba train station where we re-board Tren Crucero and head for Urbina train station, located 11,840 feet, or 3609 meters, above the sea level. Urbina is the highest train station in the country and it is here that we meet the last ice-trader who will share with us his daily journey to the slopes of Chimborazo Volcano to collect centuries old ice. (If it is a clear day, we will also be able to enjoy breathtaking views of Chimborazo volcano). Next, we continue on board Tren Crucero to Ambato for lunch at the Roka Plaza Hotel, an ancient colonial house. If weather conditions permit, we will have – from a safe distance – an impressive view of the Tungurahua volcano, which is still active and which occasionally offers nature ́s most impressive event, a volcanic eruption. After lunch, we head out by train to Cunchibamba, where we visit a huge rose plantation and learn about the world famous Ecuadorian roses and see how they are grown and exported across the globe. Back on the train, we then head to Latacunga where our coaches will take us to our next hotel. Overnight and dinner is provided at either the La Cienega or Hato Verde, both of which are fine examples of the traditional haciendas of this region.
4th Day Wednesday: Latacunga – Cotopaxi – Quito
After breakfast, we travel by coach to Latacunga train station to take our train and travel to Cotopaxi train station. From here we travel by coach across the Pan-American Highway to Cotopaxi National Park where we will witness typical Andean volcanic landscapes and walk round Limpiopungo, a glacial lagoon. Cotopaxi National Park is an important shelter for a variety of Andean flora and fauna as Caracara, Andean Gull, Andean Dear, Andean Wolf, and Condor and it is overlooked by the impressive snow- capped Cotopaxi volcano rising 5,897 meters above sea level. Our journey continues to San Agustin de Callo Hacienda for lunch featuring Ecuadorian nouvelle cuisine.
The ruins of the hacienda are a fine example of Inca architecture, as it once stood as an Inca Palace before Ecuador’s Colonial period. After exploring the hacienda, we will continue by coach to Quito, Ecuador’s capital city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Upon arrival in Quito, passengers will be transferred to all the main hotels in the city, including the Hilton Colón, Casa Gangontena, and Swiss Hotel.
JOURNEY: QUITO – GUAYAQUIL:
1st Day Tuesday: Quito Chimbacalle – Cotopaxi – Lasso
We depart from the Chimbacalle train station in Quito at 8:00 am on board a traditional excursion train which is only used on the first section of the journey and head to Cotopaxi station. Here, our journey continues by coach as we explore the magnificent Cotopaxi National Park, featuring typical Andean volcanic landscapes and a walking tour of the Limpiopungo glacial lagoon.
Cotopaxi National Park is an important shelter for a variety of Andean flora and fauna, such as Caracara, Andean Gull, Andean Dear, Andean Wolf and the Andean Condor and it is overlooked by the magnificent snow-capped Cotopaxi volcano which rises 5,897 meters above sea level. Our journey continues to San Agustin de Callo Hacienda for lunch featuring Ecuadorian nouvelle cuisine. This building is a fine example of traditional Inca architecture, as it once stood as an Inca Palace, built before the Colonial period. After exploring the hacienda, we will experience a presentation by local dancers.
After this visit we will return to Cotopaxi station to board the Tren Crucero and continue our journey to Lasso train station, then we will go to our hotels.
Overnight and dinner is provided by either La Cienega or Hato Verde, traditional haciendas of the region. A third option is Rumipamba de las Rosas another hotel in this region.
2nd Day: Wednesday: Latacunga – Ambato – Riobamba
After breakfast, we depart by bus to Latacunga train station to board Tren Crucero, which is equipped with first class coaches, a coffee/drinks saloon and an observation car. We continue our journey to the south and our next stop is a visit to an Ecuadorian rose plantation where we will learn about the world famous Ecuadorian roses and see how they are grown before being sent all over the globe. We then continue on board Tren Crucero to Ambato and have lunch at the delightful Roka Plaza Hotel, an ancient colonial house. If weather conditions permits, we will have – from a safe distance – a view of Tungurahua volcano, which is still active and which occasionally offers nature ́s most impressive event, a volcanic eruption. After lunch we re-board our train and travel to Urbina station, which is located at 11,840 feet, or 3,609 meters, above sea level, making Urbina the highest train station in Ecuador. Here we meet the last ice-trader, who will share with us his daily journey to the slopes of Chimborazo Volcano to collect centuries old ice. If weather allows, we will also be able to enjoy a breathtaking view of Chimborazo volcano. After this visit we will continue by train to the Riobamba Train Station and afterwards, to our hotel (either the Abraspungo or Andaluza hotels) for dinner and a good night’s sleep.
3rd Day, Thursday: Riobamba, Guamote – Devil’s Nose – 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 Alausi 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 Bucay, a small village located on the feet of the Andes with a pleasant climate before enjoying dinner and our final night in the Hosteria D’Franco.
4th Day, Friday: Bucay – Yaguachi – Duran
After breakfast, our coach will take us to the Huigra Train Station and we then travel 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. We then continue by coach to San Rafael Ranch for lunch and a short visit to a commercial cacao plantation, after which we re-board the train to 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).
(B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
2016 TREN CRUCERO TOUR PRICE:
USD $1995–per Person sharing a Double Room.
USD $120–Single Room supplement.
2016 DEPARTURE DATES:
Guayaquil – Quito
Apr 10 – 13, Apr 24 – 27, May 08 – 11, May 22 – 26, Jun 05 – 08, Jun 19 – 22, Jul 05 – 08, Jul 19 – 22, Aug 06 – 09, Aug 13 – 16, Aug 20 – 23, Aug 27 – 30, Sep 03 – 06, Sep 10 – 13, Sep 17 – 20, Sep 24 – 27, Oct 02 – 05, Oct 16 – 19, Oct 30 – Nov 02, Nov 13 – 16, Nov 27 – 30, Dec 11 – 14,
Quito – Guayaquil
Apr 19 – 22, May 03 – 06, May 17 – 20, Jun 14 – 17, Jun 28 – July 01, Jul 10 – 13, Jul 24 – 27, Aug 02 – 05, Aug 09 – 12, Aug 16 – 19, Aug 23 – 26, Aug 30 – Sep 02, Sep 06 – 09, Sep 13 – 16, Sep 20 – 23, Sep 27 – 30, Oct 11 – 14, Oct 25 – 28, Nov 08 – 11, Nov 22 – 25, Dec 06 – 09, Dec 20 – 23
TOUR PRICE INCLUDES
- Accommodation in comfortable hotels mentioned or similar
- Meals as indicated (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
- English speaking Local Private Guides
- Transfers to selected Hotels in Quito/Guayaquil at the the end of the trip
- Entrance fees and Sightseeing
- Train Ticket of the Tren Crucero
- Transfer from your Hotel in Quito or Guayaquil to the railway station at the beginning of your trip
TOUR PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE
- National and International flights
- Early check-in / late check-out in Hotels
- Alcoholic beverages
- Tips for guides, drivers