Take a spectacular journey by vintage train, Tren Crucero, on this newly upgraded rail route that takes you through Ecuador’s diverse and dramatic landscapes. Your first experience of train travel in Ecuador is on board Tren de la Libertad, on which you journey through the northern highlands to Salinas. Here you visit an Afro-Ecuadorian community where you can immerse yourself in the local culture and music. This holiday gives you time to fully explore the cultural highlights of Quito and its surrounds before setting off through the snow capped mountain peaks, misty volcanoes and magnificent valleys en route to coastal Guayaquil. Stay in comfotable accommodation at every stop and sit back and enjoy the fantastic service on board the train. At certain points on the journey the train is pulled by a steam locomotive, adding to the nostalgic, historic feel of the trip. This is a truly a wonderful and unique way to see Ecuador.
UK - Quito
Depart the UK for your daytime flight to Quito in Ecuador. Stay at the charming in La Casona de la Ronda, located in the heart of the this city full of narrow cobblestone streets lined with whitewashed walls, rising above, the steeples and cupolas of the city ́s many spectacularly decorated historic churches. Quito has one of the best preserved colonial centrers in the continent.
Accommodation: La Casona de la Ronda
Quito's colonial district is a UNESCO World Heritage site with a host of architectural treasures. During your private city tour you will explore the Independence Plaza, flanked by the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, the Municipal Building and the Archbishop's Palace. You will also visit one of the great religious buildings of the New World, the Monastery of San Francisco. In the old town we recommend lunch at the Cafe Plaza Grande which is situated within the historic and opulent, Plaza Grande hotel.
Sitting at the foot of Pichincha volcano, Quito is set in a valley just south of the Equator. Venture from the charming colonial heart of the city to the 'teleferico' cable car which takes you to an elevation of over 4000m. Here, on a clear day, the views of the city are spectacular. Alternatively visit the monument representing the equator line is around 23km north of the city accompanied by an interesting ethnographic museum.
Tren Crucero - Quito - Otavalo - San Antonio - San Roque - Ibarra - Quito
Travel by bus northwards from Quito to the town of Ibarra where you will board the Tren de los Lagos (train of the lakes), a steam locomotive travelling through the lush, undulating mountains of northern Ecuador. The ‘White City’ of San Antonio de Ibarra is internationally recognised for its colourful people, great artists and sculptors. Visit the Andrade Marin, where the textiles museum is located, a legacy to the testimony of the Industrial Revolution in Ecuador. Admire the wonderful landscapes of San Roque before ending at Otavalo, home to the famous indigenous market and return to Quito.
Tren Crucero - Quito – Boliche – Ambato - Urbina - Riobamba
After breakfast, drive to Ambato to visit the flowers plantation to learn about Ecuador’s world-renowned roses. At Cunchibamba station, board Tren Crucero for your southbound jouney through the highlands. If weather conditions permit, you may witness – at a safe distance – an eruption of the majestic Tungurahua volcano! After lunch, Tren Crucero travels on towards Urbina station, located 3,609 metres above sea level. Here you will meet a very special Andean character, Baltasar Ushca, the last ice-merchant of Chimborazo volcano. Continue by train to Riobamba and overnight.
Tren Crucero - Riobamba – Colta – Guamote – Alausí – Devil´s Nose – Bucay
Departing from Riobamba, today's scenery will be the most diverse taking you from the cool mountain highlands, through transitional cloud forest and onto the steamy coastal region. Take the steam locamotive to Colta to visit the Balbanera church, the first to be built in the country and onto Guamote for the indigenous market. The highlight, after lunch, is the Devil's Nose section of the track with it's switchbacks and dramatic scenery. You will also be able to appreciate the complexities encountered during the construction of this railway. Overnight in Bucay at Hosteria D'Franco, or similar.
Tren Crucero - Bucay – Naranjito – Yaguachi – Durán (Guayaquil)
Morning exploration of the nearby forest to appreciate the typical flora and fauna of the coastal region along with a visit to the Shuar community. Many years ago they migrated from the Amazon to the Coast but still retain their customs and traditions. Lunch at San Rafael before embarking the locamotive to complete the remainder of the journey to Duran. On arrival transfer to your hotel in Guayaquil.
Guayaquil - UK
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK.
Pricing Information & Dates
8 day tour, from £2460 per person
Tour includes breakfast throughout and full board during the train package from Quito to Guayaquil. The train journey has set dates of operation and also runs Guayaquil - Quito.
Quito - Guayaquil
2016 - September 20 & 27, October 11 & 25, November 08 & 22, December 06 & 20
2017 - January 03, 17 & 31, February 14 & 28, March 14 & 28, April 11 & 25, May 09 & 23, June 06 & 20, July 04 & 18, August 01, 15 & 29, September 12 & 26, October 10 & 24, November 07 & 21, December 05 & 19
Guayaquil - Quito
2016 - September 17 & 24, October 02, 16 & 30, November 08 & 22, December 11 & 25
2017 - January 07 & 21, February 04 & 18, March 04 & 18, April 01, 15 & 29, May 13 & 27, June 10 & 24, July 08 & 22, August 05 & 19, September 02, 16 & 30, October 14 & 28, November 11 & 25, December 09 & 27
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