Travel from Quito to Guayaquil on board the The Tren Crucero in South America on this 5 day 4 night journey.
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.
Please Note: All itineraries are approximate and subject to change based on availability and conditions at the destination.
The meeting point of the tour is at Chimbacalle Station in Quito. Report at 7:00 AM at Sincholagua s/n y Maldonado Chimbacalle train station– Quito to start your Tren Crucero Tour.
Our first meeting will be at the Chimbacalle station, south of Quito, a historic station that will open its doors to us with the country's railway history. On our train, we will cross the impressive "Avenue of the Volcanoes"; the term that Alexander von Humboldt gave to this part of the Andean ridge, where there are more than 20 volcanoes, few of them still active. We will arrive at the second highest station of the Ecuadorian railway system and disembark to begin our journey through a farm of Roses, there, we will learn why Ecuador gathers all the right characteristics to produce some of the best roses in the world. After lunch we will go up to the Cotopaxi National Park. Within the park we can pay a moderate altitude walk at 12,631 feet around the Limpiopungo lagoon where different varieties of plants and birds adapted to this altitude environment. Natural photography will be part of this afternoon before arriving at the hotel for rest.
The departure by train in the morning will be from Latacunga Station. We will cross the inter-Andean valley and then the Yambo lagoon will open before our eyes by a scenic cliff. During the journey we will be approached by colorful devils, part of a long Andean tradition known as the Diablada Pillareña (devils from Pillaro), declared national heritage. We will celebrate with this folkloric demonstration and from the comfort of our train. We will arrive to Urbina station, the highest point of our visit, located at 3609 meters above sea level (11 000 feet). There we will be received by Baltazar Ushca, the last ice merchant of the Chimborazo who will share the secrets of his old and almost extinct tradition.
Enjoy some communitary tourism, when we arrive to Jatari and the Community of La Moya where we will learn about the Quichua - Puruha culture and their ancestral work systems, we will be able to participate in some of these activities led by the inhabitants of the area. We will share the table with them and we will be able to interact with this culture. After this great day, the train is waiting for us to take the group to Riobamba where we can enjoy its beauties, the handcraft plaza and a short sunset walk through the city before arriving at the hotel for rest
Early in the morning we will head to the historic Riobamba station, where a huge steam locomotive known as "The Black Monster" will be waiting to take us through colorful quinoa fields, picturesque villages and unique landscapes.
Upon our arrival to Colta, we will carry out a maneuver that will switch the steam locomotive for a diesel-electric machine, meanwhile we can visit the first church in Ecuador known as the Balvanera or you can film the train with the steam locomotive before we leave it behind from the outside of the maneuver area.
Once in Guamote, we will visit an authentic Andean market, where people from several communities come together to trade a myriad of products. This market has maintained its traditional essence and with luck we will be able to observe how the barter works among the merchants that meet there coming from many other indigenous communities from the country.
A short trip by bus will take us to Alausí, where the patrimonial consist(set) awaits the group; that one will transport us to the mythical Nariz del Diablo (the Devi´ls Nose). An impressive system of swicht-backs on a steep mountain that allow the locomotive to descend into the Sibambe valley; during its construction, was considered one of the most important engineering milestones in the country.
Our patrimonial set will return to Alausí, the city of the Five Heritage and we can rest tonight in this small city nestled in between sharp mountains and diverse plantations. Walking at night through its streets will give us a feeling of returning several decades in time. Return to the Hotel for the night.
We will take our bus with the first sun rays and that one will take us on a scenic trip from the imposing Andes to the quiet esplanades of the Pacific coast. During this trip we can witness the dramatic climatic and geographical changes that mark the transition between coast and mountains.
We will arrive at a very traditional and tasteful hacienda in the Coast of Ecuador; we will take a tour inside one of the plantations and learn about the sowing and harvesting of Ecuadorian cacao, which is considered the best cocoa bean in the world. Our lunch will be served at the hacienda and we will enjoy the gastronomy of local cuisine.
Our next destination will be Naranjito where we will board the train to Yaguachi, the first station built for the Ecuadorian railway system. There, a Baldwin steam locomotive awaits us to lead the train to its final destination on this trip, a journey full of wonderful landscapes and cultural experiences. Arrival to Duran before sunset. Return to the hotel for the night.
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.
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35% of total tour cost is due at the time of booking, with the remaining balance of 65% due no later than 65 days prior to the tour's departure date.
If a guest needs to change their tour date, an administrative fee will be charged at the discretion of Palace Tours.
Children between the ages of two and up to 12 years of age at time of travel are priced at 75% of the adult cost.
All itineraries are approximate and subject to change based on availability and conditions at the destination.
We strongly recommend purchasing travel insurance to cover the losses incurred in case of cancellation. For information on available plans please visit palacetours.com/insurance.
Please note that as of February 2018, all guests travelling to Ecuador are obligated to provide proof of health insurance when passing through immigration in order to gain entry into the country of Ecuador. Guests must be able to show valid proof of international travel insurance, whether public or private, for the duration of their stay in Ecuador. For further information contact the consulate office at destination. For any other questions or concerns, please contact Palace Tours.
Visas may be required. Please check with the the nearest/local Ecuadorian embassy/consulate. Palace tours doesn't assist guests providing visa or consultancy.
You can review this web site from the Ecuadorian Government to see the requirements for your nationality to enter the country. http://www.ecuador.org/nuevosite/serviciosconsulares_e.php
Ecuador do not require yellow fever vaccine. Ecuador has no current malaria or yellow fever alert on any location.
No, both languages are spoken due to standard. German, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese or Russian is available prior request and extra charge.
Yes, plenty distributed all across the train.
Soft/Non alcoholic beverages are unlimited and free of charge on board (hot or ice coffee, fruit juices, iced tea, coke, diet/zero coke, water, mineral water, infusions among others. We serve one AM snack and one PM snack. Snacks are based on local gastronomy.
Yes, there are two complete medic kits on board. Crew has first aid (including basic CPR) training every year, however they are not certified. They are capable to supply medical assistance while travelling. We do not supply or recommend any kind of medicine/drug on board due to allergies and train rules.
- Luggage is taken on the buses while travelling. Lockers are small and designed to store small carry-ons, however valuables are recommended to be taken with guests all the time since the train is cleaned on every station and at the end of the day.
Yes they are available during the whole trip. Native guides are part of certain activities, however the train guides always accompany guests. Tipping is included on the program price.
Yes. We recommend guests to use their own portable device or cell phone with wifi capacity.
Ecuador uses 110. Adapters are not common on Haciendas/hotels, we recommend guests to bring their own.
Yes, we can handle vegetarians, gluten or lactose free diets at no extra charge. Special request for Asian passengers is not available.
We used modern and A/C coaches during the itinerary. Guests will share buses. As we used one or two hotels in the area, most of the time we use 2 coaches of 30 to 45 seats and separate guests by hotels. However this is not warranted and we might do several bus stops to collect guests in different hotels. This will not exceed 2 stops.
Tipping is included on the program price. 10% is suggested for lunch dinner (main course can be calculated on a US $20 to US $45 per person). Haciendas/hotels do have attendants all the time.
Entrance fees are included in the price. In case of professional cameras (reporters or filming purposes) an authorization/fee must be paid in advance (before arrival) to the National Tourism Agency. We must receive a notification while booking.
Yes, on every hacienda/hotel. Price range from US $4 to US $10 per pound/piece of clothing. It is not pricey.
Ecuador national currency is US Dollar. ATMs are available only at Ambato and Riobamba cities. We make a short stop at Alausi train station (before of after the Devil`s nose) in case guests require an extra ATM machine.
Local and/or international food both for lunch and dinner. Menu is designed to avoid repetitive dishes. Ecuadorian gastronomy offers an excellent variety of options for vegetarians including quinoa and other grains (specially maize).
Casual attire is recommended for the train and dinner. Good walking shoes and dress in layers is strongly suggested.
All Guides speak English and Spanish. Guidance in languages other than Spanish and English as Italian, French, German, Portuguese and Japanese can be provided under request, subject to availability and applies an extra cost
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