Take a spectacular Ecuador holiday through the Andes Mountains by vintage train on Tren Crucero. This upgraded rail route that takes you through Ecuador's diverse and dramatic landscapes.
Tren Crucero will take you on an incredible trip through Ecuador's history from the soaring highlands to the endless plains of the coast. This is a unique experience on a vintage train which features four different coaches each reflecting aspects of the countries history and culture. For some parts of the journey the train is pulled by restored steam locomotives, adding to the authenticity of the trip. The on board service is excellent and the hotels which feature en route are luxurious.
The journey starts in Quito and travels through the landscapes taking in the snow capped mountains, the whisper of the volcanoes, magnificent valleys and the vibrant colours of the coast before reaching Guayaquil. Along the way you will experience the kindness of the Ecuadorian people and will be astonished by the countries diverse and striking landscapes. This is a unique and memorable way to spend an Ecuador holiday.
Day 1 Depart the UK for your overnight flight to Quito via Bogota, Colombia.
Day 2 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 centres in the continent.
Day 3 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.
Day 4 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.
Day 5 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.
Day 6 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.
Day 7 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.
Day 8 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.
Day 9 Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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