Tren Crucero Ecuador, South America
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Fay says,"Ecuador is a fascinating country. Crossing the Andes, between the Pacific Ocean and the plains for the interior, is a memorable adventure. Experience the High Andean way of life and traverse the valley of volcanoes; what an amazing experience, the highlight of a South American tour."
About the Train
Ride across Ecuador´s Andes watching the transition from moorlands through to cloud forests, to tropical coastal landscapes whilst crossing spectacular terrain and traversing mountains. Travel the Avenue of Volcanoes of more than 10 volcanoes before descending to sea level. Along the route, there are opportunities to meet Andean and coastal indigenous communities, local museums and enjoy authentic experiences. Wonder at the spectacular feat of engineering that is the zigzag; hugging the side of the mountain, this track affords one amazing views.
Tren Crucero took 1st place in the Lonely Planet’s Train Journeys as well as 4th place among the world’s unforgettable train trips. Also, 2016 World Responsible Tourism Awards Winner, being chosen from 13 worldwide finalists. Many newspapers and websites recommend this voyage as the best option for exploring Ecuador.
Here is an illustrated 8-page booklet with details of the restaurants, hotels, attractions and heritage sites visited en route, Guayaquil to Quito.
Here is a useful article and video by Lionel Tracks.
The four air-conditioned First Class carriages (two Colonial- and Republican-style passenger cars) each have a different Ecuadorian style and carry a total of 50 passengers. They are hauled by a mixture of steam and diesel locomotives.
Two Carriages with tables and chairs, like a dining car. Bar Car, serving light snacks and drinks, with seating and a gift shop selling indigenous gifts. Observation car, with sofas and an open viewing platform.
Hotels are of first class Ecuadorian style.
All catering is traditional. All meals are eaten in local restaurants or in the hotels where one is staying the night. There is a Bar Car on the train from where one can purchase hot and cold drinks and local tapas.
These are given below but due to any volcanic activity, may be subject to change.
Guayaquil to Quito
4 days/4 nights (last night in Quito is complimentary).
Check-in 07:30. Duran Train Station (details are here). Departure 08:30hrs
Day 1, Sunday. Durán - Yaguachi - Naranjito - Bucay. Depart on board the Tren Crucero. A restored steam locomotive pulls the train through coastal plantations of bananas, sugar cane and rice, as it makes its way to Bucay. In Bucay we visit the San Rafael ranch where one can enjoy activities such as hiking, horse-riding or just relaxing, before having lunch. After lunch we will explore a Shuar community, which migrated years ago from the Amazon basin to the Coast. The community will share their ancestral customs and traditions.
Overnight and dinner at D´ Franco Lodge in Bucay.
Day 2, Monday. Bucay - Huigra - Devil´s Nose Viewpoint - Alausi - Colta. After breakfast, we return to Bucay station, which is the starting point of our dramatic ascent to the Andes. With a series of zig-zags and horseshoe bends, in just 50 miles the train climbs over 9,700ft (2,960m), offering passengers fantastic views especially from the Observation Car. There is a short stop at Sibambe viewpoint, from where one can appreciate the major engineering achievement that led engineers to call this railway the most difficult in the world. Continue to the renowned Devil´s Nose and then onto Alausi, dominated by a colossal statue of St Peter. Lunch onboard as 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 the hotel. Overnight and dinner at Abraspungo Hacienda.
Day 3, Tuesday. Riobamba - Urbina - Boliche - Quito. After breakfast a bus takes us to Urbina, the highest station in the country. Here we meet the last ice-trader, who at 69 years' old and like his father and grandfather before him, uses a donkey to travel to the slopes of the Chimborazo Volcano to dig ice from the glacier to sell to the vendors in the villages and towns. 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, with its UNESCO World Heritage old quarter. Overnight and dinner in Quito.
Day 4, Wednesday. Quito - Otavalo - San Antonio - San Roque - Ibarra*. After breakfast the steam locomotive takes us across the northern valleys. Visit woodcarving workshops at San Antonio, discover local traditional food in Andrade Marin and enjoy a show of local music and textile weaving at San Roque train station. After lunch in the Hacienda La Compañíawe return to Quito where you will be transferred to the Swissotel - offer excludes dinner, but includes breakfast.
Dates and Prices 2017
2017: January 21. February 4,18. March 4,18. April 1,15,29. May 13,27. June 10,24. July 8,22. August 5,19. September 2,16,30. October 14,28. November 11,25. December 9,27
Price per person, sharing a double room
USD $ 1,650.00
USD $ 247.50 single supplement.
Quito to Guayaquil
4 days/4 nights (last night in Guayaquil is complimentary).
Check in 06:30hrs Swissotel (Quito). Departure: 07:30 (Tuesday)
Day 1, Tuesday. Quito - Otavalo – San Roque – Andrade Marin – San Antonio – Ibarra. Travel from Otavalo to Ibarra on the steam locomotive across the northern valleys. Visit woodcarving workshops at San Antonio, discover local traditional food in Andrade Marin, a show of local music and textile weaving at San Roque train station and a visit to a rose plantation. Overnight in Quito.
Day 2, Wednesday. Quito – Boliche – Ambato - Urbina. Journey across the Avenue of the Volcanoes amidst the typical Andean landscapes. The Cotopaxi National Park is home to Andean flora and fauna: Andean gulls, caracaras, white-tailed deer, the moor wolf and the Andean condor. There are amazing views of the Yambo lake. Lunch on board. If weather conditions permit, you may witnesses – at a safe distance – a volcanic eruption of the majestic Tungurahua. The train travels towards Urbina station, located at 3,609 meters above sea level. Here you will meet a very special person, Baltazar Ushca, the last ice-harvester in the Chimborazo volcanic slopes. Dinner and overnight in Riobamba
Day 3, Thursday. Riobamba - Colta - Guamote - Alausí - Devil´s Nose View point - Bucay. In the morning, we depart by bus to Riobamba station. The town is surrounded by five volcanoes and is known as the "Sultan of the Andes". Continuing by train pulled by a steam locomotive, we travel through the Andean landscapes to Colta Station. A stop provides time to visit the church of Balbanera whose walls, dating back almost 500 years, provide the first evidence of the arrival of Christianity in Ecuador and where the Spanish conquerors built their first settlement in Ecuador. Back on the train, we travel to Guamote to visit one of the last Andean indigenous the Indian markets. Lunch is taken on board the train as it traverses the Devil's nose crossing. Zig-zagging its way down the mountainside, the trains drops 200 meters in just 3 kilometers. A short break at a viewpoint enables us to appreciate the magnitude of this engineering feat that has earned the Ecuadorian rail system the “world's most difficult" tag. Then we experience the impressive climatic transition while traveling from the Andes Mountain Range to the Pacific coast. Overnight in Bucay, the gateway to the Coastal plains.
Day 4 - Friday. Bucay - Naranjito – Yaguachi - Durán. After breakfast, we depart by train from Bucay station en route for San Rafael station. We take a bus to the San Rafael hacienda where we have lunch and visit a cocoa plantation to sample chocolate. After this visit, we take the train to our final destination, Durán station, with a short stop at Yaguachi station to switch from a diesel electric locomotive a steam-driven engine. The train weaves its way through plantations of banana, pineapple, mango, sugar cane as well as rice paddies, marking its trail with clouds of billowing steam. The trip ends upon arrival at Durán station where transport is provided to the Wyndham Hotel - offer excludes dinner, includes breakfast.
N.B. On Day One part of the journey is in a tourist bus.
Dates and Prices 2017
2017: January 17,31. February 14,28. March 17,28. April 11,25. May 9,23. June 6,20. July 4,18. August 1,15,26. September 12,26. October 10,24. November 7,21. December 5,19.
Price per person, sharing a double room
USD $ 1,650.00
USD $ 247.50 single supplement.
Included: Excursions, hotel accommodation with full board. Spanish/English speaking guide (Italian, French, German, Portuguese and Japanese speaking guides are also available and are subject to availability and extra cost.
Excluded: Alcoholic drinks (wine, beer and whisky are available from the train´s bar), meals or visits not detailed, personal expenses, tips or shuttles/transfers to non-specified hotels. We strongly suggest travel insurance.
Transfers: In Guayaquil and Quito there are free transfers offered to the offered hotels.
Altitude and climate: Eastbound (Guayaquil to Quito) allows for a gradual altitude acclimatisation. Crossing the Andes, temperature and weather might abruptly change. Early morning may be cold whilst during the day temperatures will rise. In the valleys temperatures might suddenly increase at noon. During the afternoon, temperatures will start to drop until dusk. Nights in the Andes are very cold; expect rain during the day; sun radiation is very intense. The Coast Temperature is warm most of the time, especially if there are higher levels of humidity. Travelling towards the coast, temperatures will increase. Nights are cooler. You might expect heavy rains during the day and night. Sun radiation is intense. Temperature varies from 97ºF in the coast to 40ºF in the paramos and rises again to 77ºF in the inter-Andean valleys. The maximum altitude in this journey is 11,841 feet above sea level.
Accommodation: Tren Ecuador has selected the best available properties in the areas visited in the itinerary. 2017 - The last night in Guayaquil or Quito is complimentary.
Medical: Oxygen tanks are onboard, as well as first aid kits. Up to 29 days before the trip, it is the passenger's responsibility to inform Ferrocarriles del Ecuador of any ailments, diseases, medical requirements to ensure greater care possible and be able, if necessary, to provide the respective first aid. It is not the responsibility of Ferrocarriles del Ecuador Empresa Pública, to supply medical assistance, medicines, or other arising for this omission
Security: Lockers are provided on the train
Dress code: Smart/casual, with comfortable shoes for excursions plus hats, sun protection, headache tablets (altitude). Layering of clothes is recommended, to account for the variations in temperature. Dress in layers, appropriated walking shoes, use sunscreen (at least SPF 70), sunglasses, hat and insect repellent.
Luggage allowance: 2 pieces of luggage and 1 carry on item.
Technology: No internet on board, but there are plugs to plug in cameras or phones. Internet in the mentioned hotels is available in the lobby but not in the rooms.
Money: US Dollars recommended as many of the communities do not accept credit cards.
Gratuities: This is the choice of the passenger. Ecuadorian culture is not used to tips.
Smoking: The train is non-smoking.
Prices: Subject to change due to economic conditions.
Child Fares: Apply up to and including 12 years of age, only where the child shares rooms with 2 adults as a triple.
Booking & Reservations
All prices are at publicly-quoted rates.
We will be happy to answer any questions and make the booking for you - contact us in the UK : +44 (0)1249 890205 or email@example.com Please sign up to our newsletter to be kept informed of interesting trains and special offers.
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