Tren Crucero: Ecuador by Rail
Ecuador, tucked in on the West coast of South America, is one of the continents smallest nations.
Nonetheless, what it may lack in size it makes up for in what it has to offer - from charming colonial cities, looming conical shaped volcanoes and national parks, to wildlife-rich cloud forests, lush tropical rainforests and of course the Galapagos archipelago.
This unique Tren Crucero journey takes you down the spine of the Andes through some of the country’s most dramatic scenery. Aboard this vintage steam locomotive, you will transition from the cool Andean highlands and misty cloud forest down to the steamy coastal region. A highlight of the adventure is the infamous “Devil’s Nose” and its series of steep switchbacks down a vertiginous descent. Get a real feel for the rich history and culture of Ecuador as you visit indigenous markets and settlements and learn about ancient customs and traditions along the way. Each night, disembark the train to overnight in characterful properties dotted down the backbone of the Andes. The Tren Crucero itinerary from Quito to Guayaquil can also be done in reverse order, climbing back up from the coast to the highlands. Please enquire for more details.
Our team of knowledgeable Travel Specialists can create a completely bespoke Ecuador holiday for you, perhaps adding on a stay in one of Ecuador’s Amazon Rainforest Lodges or a cruise or land-based stay in the Galapagos. Please enquire for further details.
UK – Quito
Board your overnight flight with Avianca via Bogota, Colombia.
Upon arrival, transfer to the charming Casona de la Ronda for a three-night stay in the historic old town of Quito. Located on a narrow cobblestoned street, this area of Quito is home to whitewashed walls, ornate churches and neo-gothic buildings. It is one of the best preserved colonial centres in Latin America. Accommodation Options
Quito was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its abundance of preserved architectural treasures. On a private city tour you will explore the main Independence Plaza flanked by the cathedral, the Presidential Palace, the Municipal Building and the Archbishop’s Palace. Stop at the Monastery of San Francisco with its impressive facades and baroque interior before ending at a beautiful look out point over the city. Accommodation Options
Spend the day exploring the Ecuadorian capital. Take the cable car 4,000 metres up the side of Pichincha Volcano for a bird’s eye view of the city. Alternatively, venture out of the city to visit “The Middle of the World”, also known as the Equator monument, where you can straddle the equator line with one foot in the Southern Hemisphere and one in the Northern. Accommodation Options
Quito - Otavalo - San Antonio - San Roque - Ibarra – QuitoQuito
Travel north by bus to Otavalo, home of the famous indigenous market, textiles and handicrafts. Board a steam locomotive which will travel through green valleys and dense forest on its way to the picturesque town of Ibarra. Along the way, visit woodcarving workshops and textile weaving show, and learn about Ecuador’s famous Roses. In the afternoon return to Quito by bus. Accommodation Options
Quito – Boliche – Ambato - Urbina – Riobamba
Travel south along the Avenue of the Volcanoes, admiring the panoramic views as you go. Visit the Andean Forest Trail in El Boliche, famous for its pine and cypress plantations. In Urbina, located 3,609m above sea level, you will meet Baltazar Ushca, the last ice-merchant of the Chimborazo volcano. Tonight you will stay in a characterful hotel or hacienda – your Travel Specialist will confirm all your accommodation details.
Riobamba – Colta – Guamote – Alausi – Mirador Nariz del Diablo – Bucay
Take in the staggeringly diverse scenery of the cool highlands, cloud forest and the steamy coast. Stop by Colta’s Balbanera Church, the first to be built in the country, and visit Guamote’s indigenous market. Continue down the Devil’s Nose, an 800-metre descent down a steep wall by a series of switchbacks. Dropping down from high sierra to lowlands, continue onto Bucay for an overnight stay in a hotel or hacienda.
Bucay – Naranjito – Yaguachi – Durán (Guayaquil)Guayaquil
Today disembark the train at Naranjito and continue by bus to a coastal hacienda where you will visit a cocoa plantation, partake in chocolate tasting and have a traditional Ecuadorian lunch. Pass banana, sugarcane and rice plantations en route to Yaguachi, where you will travel by steam train through the tropical lowlands to Durán. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel in Guayaquil. Accommodation Options
Guayaquil - UK
Transfer to the airport for your overnight return flight to the UK.