Travel from Quito to Guayaquil on board the The Tren Crucero in South America on this 4 night 5 day journey
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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.
SPECIAL OFFER! Book the Tren Crucero now and receive the Cartagena Luxury Escape as a complimentary add-on to your tour. Please contact us for more details.
The meeting point of the tour is at Swissotel in Quito. Please plan to arrive at 7:00AM 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.
Please Note: All itineraries are approximate and subject to change based on availability and conditions at the destination.
Meet the group at Swissotel at 6:30 AM, where we will leave for an exciting trip to Otavalo. Traverse the stretch from Otavalo to Ibarra and cross the northern valleys on a steam locomotive. We may visit woodcarving workshops, discover traditional food, watch a local music show and textile weaving, and visit a rose plantation. After lunch we return to Quito where we stay overnight.
Dinner at the hotel with the group.
Journey across the Avenue of the Volcanoes, and explore the Andean woods and ecosystems in the El Boliche area. Have lunch en route and possibly stop for a nature walk amid the lush Ecuadorian landscape. Proceed to Urbina, where we may get a chance to meet the family Baltasar, the last "ice merchant" of the Chimborazo slopes. We journey on to Riobamba, where we will spend the night in a comfortable hacienda.
"The Last Ice Merchant" - A Humbling Story
Dinner is at the hotel with your group.
In the morning, we depart by bus to Riobamba station. Tren Crucero travels across stunning Andean landscapes to Colta, where we have a short stop to visit Balbanera church, the first mark Christianity made upon its arrival to these lands in 1534. Then we travel to Guamote and possibly explore its famous indigenous market, one of the last authentic markets in the Ecuadorian Andes. We will have lunch and switch the locomotive to a Diesel Engine in preparation for the Devil's Nose Ride. In the afternoon we travel across fascinating natural geological formations and then start our descent down the famous Devil´s Nose. Here the train has to perform zigzag maneuvers, descending 200 meters of altitude whilst traversing 3 kilometers of rail. We make a short stop at a viewpoint to observe and photograph this magnificent engineering achievement, known as the most difficult railway project in the world. We continue our journey into Bucay, where we will disembark and spend the night.
Dinner is with your group.
After breakfast, we depart by train from Bucay station. Our journey brings us alongside the tropical rainforest, home to banana, cacao and sugar-cane plantations. We arrive in Naranjito, where we depart by bus to a coastal hacienda. We then visit a cocoa plantation to learn about the history of this grain and its effect on Ecuadorian culture. We return to the hacienda for a chocolate tasting and a typical lunch. We continue on to Yaguachi train station and on to the magnificently restored steam locomotive that will pull us up to the Duran train station in Guayaquil. This final and fascinating section of the journey passes through Ecuador’s coastal plain with its rich soil, lush vegetation, and plantations heavy with bananas, sugarcane, mango, pineapple and rice.
We will spend the night at a main hotel in Guayaquil.
Check out of your hotel after breakfast.
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The prices do not include VAT (For Ecuador residents ONLY – not applicable for international guests)
Children Under 12 (Should not have completed 12th birthday) allowed child fare but they have to pay along side with 2 Adults (triple room)
What your journey prices includes:
What your journey price DOES NOT include:
10% of total tour cost is due at the time of booking, with the remaining balance of 90% is due no later than 45 days prior to the tour's departure date.
If a customer wishes to change their tour dates and their original departure date is more than 45 days away, then they will be charged a $200 fee per person.
If a customer wishes to change their tour dates and their original departure date is less than 45 days away, then relevant cancellation fees will apply.
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 or to purchase travel insurance, please visit www.palacetours.com/insurance.
Visa and Travel Documents
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.
Insurance (Personal and Otherwise):
Pre- and Post-Tour Hotel Accommodations
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.
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