Explore the Avenue of the Volcanoes refurbished Tren Crucero. The luxury vintage train starts in Guayaquil and travels through the Andes, over snow-capped mountains, past volcanoes, around a harrowing turn called the Devil’s Nose and through the countryside until arriving in Quito. The train also runs from Quito to Guayaquil.
The four-day trip includes an excursion to Cotopaxi National Park where you might see deer, wolves, bears or one of those condors.
About the train: Experience the wonders of Ecuador on board Tren Crucero, recognized as the Leading Luxury Train in South America in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. Modern, electric-diesel, and lovingly restored, antique steam locomotives pull a high quality convoy of two luxury, Colonial and Republican-style themed passenger cars carrying just fifty passengers, to ensure personalized service for all. A bar and gift-shop car with two comfortable observation lounges and an open air terrace complete the setup of this comfortable, select boutique train.
Nights are spent in characterful countryside hotels and haciendas.
Durán – Yaguachi – Naranjito – Alausí
Depart this morning on a magnificent train journey, travelling along the Avenue of the Volcanoes from Guayaquil to the capital of Quito.
The four-coach train has been designed to provide comfort and ease. Accommodation is provided in carefully selected historic residences located along the route. During your daily excursions you will be able to enjoy breathtaking scenery, the whisper of volcanoes, snow-capped peaks, the cheerful and colourful Coastal mosaic, the brilliance of the equatorial sun and the warmth of the Ecuadorian people.
Depart from Guayaquil and transfer to the train station in Duran where your train departs. The first stop will be at the Yaguachi station, the first one built in this railway system, where we will say goodbye to our steam locomotive to make a way for a diesel-electric, we will be able to observe the exchange of these impressive machines from outside the maneuver area.
We continue through extensive plantations of sugarcane, banana, coffee, pineapple and a countless number of tropical products to Naranjito area.
Our bus will take us along a road that climbs to the Andes, a very scenic bus trip in which we will ascend more than 2000 meters in altitude in just 4 hours. During this trip we can witness the abrupt changes of climate, vegetation and geography resulting from the presence of the Andean mountain range. This fact gives Ecuador an incomparable beauty and biodiversity.
Overnight at El Molino (Tourist)
Alausí – Devil´s Nose – Riobamba
The second day begins with the impressive trip aboard a different train which dates from the twentieth century, this one will be ready to descend through the fearsome pass of La Nariz del Diablo (the Devi´ls Nose); an intricate switch-back that allows the train to descend 511 meters in just 12 kilometers of railway. The Sibambe station awaits us down below, full of people and different activities in the surroundings, a small community depending merely on the touristic activity from the train.
Back in Alausí, we will have a time for pictures and visit the local market, the quiet city lost in the time of the previous night, becomes the scenery of one of the most colourful markets in the area, serving more than a dozen communities of the surroundings.
Lunch will be served on board after a short bus ride. Our main set run towards Colta where the “Black Monster” is ready to pull the train, an impressive Baldwin steam locomotive that has been carefully overhauled. There we can visit the first church in the country known as the Balvanera or another option for train-lovers, will be filming the run of the set with the steam locomotive ahead.
The fields of quinoa, potatoes, onions, corn and other products of these fertile soils, will be decorating the landscape while waiting for the great Chimborazo to show up before we reach the capital city of the province, Riobamba. Riobamba an enchanting city where we can take a short walk. Its cobbled streets and squares tell the history of the country at every step.
Overnight at Hacienda La Andaluza (Boutique)
Riobamba – La Moya – Urbina – Latacunga
In the morning, the inhabitants of the community of La Moya will show us the life in the Andes, we will be able to interact with them and see one of the best examples of community organization for work, such as the ancestors taught the different generations.
The tour continues towards the Urbina station. Located just over 3,600 meters above sea level, we will get to know the “paramo” ecosystems of the skirts of Chimborazo. Baltazar Ushca, the last ice merchant of Chimborazo, will tell us his story and explain the reasons behind his dedication, despite the opposition and arrival of machines to the country.
The train will go through the valley near Cotopaxi but on the way, a group of devils will take the train by surprise when the Diablada de Pillaro (devils from Pillaro) is celebrated on board, a parade full of colours, music and joy that reminds us of the spirit of the Andean communities and their understanding of the world, this parade was declared national heritage.
The final stop of the day will be the Latacunga station from where we can get to the different hotels in the area. Accommodation.
Overnight at Hacienda La Cienaga (Boutique hotel)
We will travel to the Cotopaxi National Park. Within the park we are able to join a moderate walk around the Limpiopungo lagoon where it is possible to find different sorts of plants and birds adapted to the altitude. Natural photography will be part of this morning and then we will board our train.
The set will continue near the slopes of Cotopaxi towards our next stop, a typical Andean hacienda where we will be part of the daily activities of it and its dwellers. Upon our arrival we will be welcomed by these Andean cowboys, the “Chagras”, who will show their skills as riders and teach us a little of their culture and traditions. Your last day of expedition ends at the Eloy Alfaro station with a short walk inside the property, where the guides will help you discover the secrets of this patrimony.
The capital of Ecuador, the beautiful city of Quito, declared a World Heritage Site by, will welcome us at night. Overnight in Quito.
Overnight at Swissotel Quito