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Tren Crucero - Quito to Guayaquil (Train of Wonders)


Take a luxury train experience in Ecuador from Quito to Guayaquil. This journey starts in Quito, in the Northern Andes, from where you will travel towards Otavalo. Marvel at the snowcapped Cayambe volcano, the highest peak located directly on the equator. Here the landscape changes constantly, from fertile green valley to yellow dry forest, as you continue to Otavalo and its textile market. In Otavalo, a restored steam engine will await you at the train station. While onboard the train, encounter many wonders at each stop: skilled Quiteña woodcarvers, rich Ecuadorian Gastronomy, and local traditions of weavers, musicians and healers. Then as you descend 3,600 meters from the heights of the Andes to the shore of the Pacific Ocean, you will travel along the famous “Avenue of Volcanoes”. This fertile valley, trapped between the natural walls built by volcanoes, is home to a veritable treasure trove of biodiversity.

Pristine landscapes, endemic species of wildlife and flora, indigenous cultures, as well as archaeological and historical remains are scattered everywhere in this area, guarded by magnificent volcanoes. You may stop for a nature walk near El Boliche, where the Cotopaxi Volcano looms in the distance. The train will then slowly climb across purple-tinged quinoa fields towards Urbina station, the highest point on this route. Here, protected by the majestic and powerful Chimborazo volcano, you may have a chance to meet Baltazar Ushca, the last “ice merchant” and guardian of this ancient trade. As you continue south, you will pass through Guamote and possibly visit the indigenous market, before continuing on to the mythical “Nariz del Diablo” pass. This is a vertiginous descent of 450 meters that signals the transition from the Andes to the tropical lowlands. Here the landscape changes as you leave the narrow gorge of the Chan Chan River and its cloud forest and ride into the wide tropical plains. You will pass rice, banana, cocoa, pineapple, and sugar cane plantations as the steam engine whistles its way towards the Pacific Coast and the end of your trip.

Devil's nose
Tren Crucero near Devils Nose

Itinerary


The meeting point of the tour is at Swissotel in Quito. Please plan to arrive at 6:30AM on the day of departure at the reception of the hotel.

Please present your voucher, along with valid photo ID, to the representative. All necessary paperwork, as applicable, will be handed over to you at this time. 

Embarkation and Disembarkation.

  • Prior to the train's departure, guests have a meet and greet in Swissotel Quito.
  • If a guest plans on joining Tren Crucero at a station besides the start point (Swissotel), train staff will be available to help coordinate the process.
Cities Covered Quito ,  Otavalo ,  Ibarra

Please Note: All itineraries are approximate and subject to change based on availability and conditions at the destination.

Departing from Quito we drive north on a 2 hours bus ride across rose plantations and impressive mountains to the valley of Otavalo in the Imbabura Province. Otavalo is home of traditional cultures skilled craftspeople and the world-renowned Otavalo market.

We arrive at San Roque Train station where we will embark a panoramic convoy on a journey full of hidden wonders, musicians, painters, weavers and the skilful woodcarvers who keep the renowned Quito School of Art style alive. Delve yourself into this amazing world of colours and textures while we explore the northern routes of the Ecuadorian railway.

After our train trip we will visit Hacienda la Compania, located close to the equatorial line, this XVIII century hacienda will amaze you with its export-class rose plantation and exquisite Andean cuisine.

We will return to Quito and spend the night in this world heritage city.+

Meals included:

  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Accommodations : Swisshotel Quito,Quito(Other) or similiar
Cities Covered Ambato ,  Urbina ,  Riobamba

We board our Tren Crucero convoy at Quito’s 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, some active and full of life.

Here, the Andes range splits into two ranges that run in parallel. The fertile valley in-between these stone, volcanic walls hosts a treasure trove of biodiversity and a hive of agricultural activity. Our first stop is an Andean hacienda where we are treated to a rodeo demonstration performed by skilled local horseman – known as chagras. There’s also a chance to learn about rural life and meet the farm’s animals, such as fluffy llamas.

Upon arrival to Ambato Train Station the devils will take over the train. A picturesque and ancestral tradition the “Diablada Pillareña” parade will add a touch of joy and music to this beautiful day.

In the afternoon, the tracks of the Trans-Andean train will take us to the inhospitable Urbina train station. During our trip we can observe the change in vegetation and landscapes as we slowly climb up to the chilly Andean highlands to Urbina, the highest point in our itinerary at 11,800 feet above sea level. Here, in the shadow of the Chimborazo Volcano, the closest point on the planet to the sun, we meet Balthazar Ushca, the last ice-merchant in the Andes, and learn the story of his ancestral trade.

Later on we will drive to our destination a typical Andean Hacienda in the hearth of the Andes were we will spend the night and be delighted by the delicious gastronomy of our hosts.

Meals included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Cities Covered Riobamba ,  Bucay

Setting off early from Urbina, but this time aboard the “Black Monster” steam engine, we chug our way through the heart of the Central Andes, amid colourful 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, the train will make a complex manoeuvre to switch locomotives; we will leave the “Black Monster” to be pulled by a electric diesel locomotive and continue south. (Colta saw the birth of this charming nation when Spanish conquerors made its first settlement at its shores.)

At Guamote market, one of the last truly indigenous markets in the Andes, there’s time to wander, admire and barter for goods. We will have lunch before we take a transfer by bus to the mythical Devil’s Nose pass: a vertiginous train ride descent of 450 metres which includes zig zags carved into the mountainside. At Alausi train station we will board a carefully restored convoy. Beautiful XX century wagons will take you on this vertiginous descend to the Sibambe valley a unique and wonderful experience on board one of the most difficult trains of the world.

Returning to Alausi we will board our bus on a mesmerizing trip from the imposing Andes to the peaceful coastal plains. A dramatic change in weather and vegetation will mark the transition between these regions. After this four hours ride we will arrive to our hotels were we can rest and reflect upon the titanic labour undertaken by the Harman brothers to overcome the colossal Andean mountain range.

Meals:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Accommodations : Hosteria D'Franco,Bucay(Other) or similiar
Cities Covered Bucay ,  Yaguachi ,  Duran

A pleasant one hour bus ride takes us from the Andean slopes to the tropical planes that burst in colours with rice, sugar cane, pineapple, banana and cacao plantations.
We arrive at a traditional hacienda, were we will take a tour around its fields to learn about the farming and harvesting of the Ecuadorian cocoa bean, a bean so exquisite that is considered to be the best in the world. We enjoy a fine dining experience amid the lush gardens before continuing onwards.

A bus transfer take us to Naranjito were our cruise train will be waiting to take us to our next destination, Yaguachi. At Yaguachi train station a restored steam engine awaits us, ready to whistle and thrum its way across the fields towards the Pacific Ocean and the end of our trip at Guayaquil’s Duran train station. Transfer to hotels.

Meals Included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Cities Covered

Check out of your hotel after breakfast.

You can also choose a trip to the Galapagos Islands with us where you can enjoy a cruise or an island hopping tour - We got the best deals and experts that will make it happen for you.

Need more services? Contact us and we will be happy to assist with more extensions.


Departure Dates and Rates

Departures
Jun 20185, 19Jul 20183, 17, 31Aug 201814, 28
Sep 201811, 25Oct 20189, 23Nov 20186, 27
Dec 201811Jan 20198, 22Feb 20195, 19
Mar 20195, 19Apr 20192, 16May 201928
Jun 201911, 25Jul 20199, 23Aug 20196, 20
Sep 20193, 17Oct 20191, 15, 29Nov 201912, 26
Dec 201910

All Rates in US$ per person including ALL taxes and surcharges

ClassDatesSingle RateDouble RateTriple Rate
Gold
For departures June 5,2018 through December 10,2019 US$ 2,722 US$ 2,322 US$ 2,322
Luxury (Matrimonial Bed)
For departures June 5,2018 through December 10,2019 US$ 2,082 US$ 1,735 US$ 1,735
Luxury (Twin Beds)
For departures June 5,2018 through December 10,2019 US$ 2,082 US$ 1,735 US$ 1,735





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A visa or visas may be required for some or all of the countries visited on the tour selected. Please check with the respective consulates in your country for visa requirements and they may vary depending on visitor's nationality, origin and/or destination. Palace Tours does not provide assistance with visas or visa consultation.