FAQ: Tren Crucero
Tren Crucero is a 4 day/3 night journey along Ecuador, from Quito to Guayaquil (Train of Wonders) or Guayaquil to Quito (Train To the Clouds).
When detailing the day-by-day Itinerary, the First number indicates the day in the Quito-Guayaquil journey and the second number indicates the day in the Guayaquil – Quito journey).
WHERE DOES THE JOURNEY START/END?
Train of Wonders (Quito – Guayaquil)
Start: Tuesdays 6:30AM at Swissôtel.
End: Saturdays 6:00PM at Durán Railway Station (free shuttle to selected hotels in Guayaquil).
Train to the Clouds (Guayaquil – Quito)
Start: Saturday 7:30AM Durán Railway Station.
End: Thursday at Swissôtel, Quito. (check out: 12:30 PM)
WHAT KIND OF COACHES ARE AVAILABLE ON BOARD TREN CRUCERO?
The train operates a high quality convoy of two luxury, Colonial and Republican-style themed passenger cars carrying just fifty passengers. Passengers can also enjoy a bar, two observation coaches and an open terrace. Tren Crucero is an interconnected style train with no doors to access from coach to coach. The train environment and temperature are electronically controlled.
DO YOU OPERATE STEAM LOCOMOTIVES?
Yes. Lovingly restored, antique steam locomotives pull the train on certain stretches for approximately 1h30 hours each one: between Riobamba and Colta and Yaguachi to Duran train stations. Modern electric-diesel locomotives operate the remaining stretches. For the Northern Andes, we operate steam locomotives on a full day itinerary from Otavalo to Ibarra stretch.
IS ACCOMMODATION AVAILABLE ON BOARD?
The train does not offer accommodation on board. Hotels and haciendas (best available in the area) are used for overnight stays.
WHAT TYPE OF ACCOMMODATION IS AVAILABLE?
Nights are spent in characterful countryside hotels and haciendas. Suites are available on certain hotels at extra cost. Please check with your sales agent for more information.
WHAT SIZE ARE THE BEDS AT HOTELS AND HACIENDAS DURING THE JOURNEY?
We offer standard queen-size beds.
ARE MEALS AVAILABLE ON BOARD?
A wide variety of sweet and salt snacks as well as coffee (hot and cold), soft drinks (fruit juices, coke, water, etc.) and local fruits are unlimited and free of charge. The bar also serves a fine variety of white, red and sparkling, local and artisan beers as well as whiskey and wine.
CAN YOU CATER FOR SPECIAL DIETARY REQUIREMENTS?
Yes. We can handle vegetarians, vegans, diabetics and others dietary restrictions. Food in Ecuador has a huge variety; therefore if you provide your special requirements with advance we might be able to fulfil them. We regret not being able to provide kosher food.
ARE ALL MEALS, ACCOMMODATION AND EXCURSIONS INCLUDED IN THE PRICE?
Yes, all meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner), accommodation and excursions are included as well as land transportation. Off train beverages and snacks are not included. Alcoholic beverages are extra off and on board the train.
DOES A DRESS CODE APPLY ON BOARD TREN CRUCERO
Smart casual attire is fine. The train travels on a variety of climatic zones. While travelling in the Andes (highlands) we recommend dressing in layers and including warm clothing for cold mornings and evenings. While travelling in the Pacific Coast, weather is very warm, lightweight pants and sweaters and short-sleeved shirts are recommended. With regard to off-train excursions, we strongly recommend comfortable walking shoes (you might find mud at certain excursions). During your visit to Ecuador, sunglasses, sunscreen (at least SPF 50+) and hats are a must. Remember, there are no seasons in the equator and you might expect sunny mornings, afternoon rains and cold while night falls.
HOW´S THE WEATHER, ALTITUDE AND TEMPERATURE?
Ecuador has a dry season from July to mid October and a wet season for the rest of the year. Altitude ranges from 262 ft. / 80 mts to 11,844 ft. / 3,610 mts. above sea level. Temperature ranges from 14ºF / 57C ° to 95ºF / 35°C.
WHAT SERVICE CAN I EXPECT ON BOARD?
Expert tourist guides will escort you during the whole journey on excursions, on board the train and while overnight. Service is always available while guests are on board the train. The Expedition Leader is always ready during the whole journey to assist you and accompanies guests during the train journeys and overnight.
WHAT LANGUAGES DO THE STAFF SPEAK ON BOARD THE TRAIN?
The official language on board the train is Spanish. Guidance and announcements are always performed in Spanish and English. We can provide guidance in Italian, German and French at extra cost. Japanese, Russian and Chinese can be provided upon request and availability.
ARE TIPS INCLUDED IN THE JOURNEY?
We suggest a discretionary daily amount from US$ 5 to US$ 10 per guest per day. It is totally customary to give gratuities in recognition of exceptional service.
WHAT CURRENCY DO I NEED?
Only United States Dollars are accepted on board. We accept all major credit cards on the train. Ecuador´s official currency is the US Dollar.
IS THE TRIP SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?
Tren Crucero admits children 7 years old and older. Parents are totally responsible for their children behaviour, which must not interfere in any way with other guests right to enjoy the journey. For an awesome experience, we recommend our journey for children with at least ten years old when travelling or older.
CAN PEOPLE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS TRAVEL ON TREN CRUCERO?
TrenEcuador is an inclusive company; therefore guests with special needs are welcome on board. We do not recommend the journey to guests with reduced or no mobility. Certain excursions at remote zones do not have facilities for wheelchairs or they go through uneven terrain. Depending on the wheelchair type, the train internal dimensions might not be suitable for moving on. We strongly suggest guests with special needs to travel accompanied.
High altitude and lower oxygen availability need to be considered for medical conditions that might be aggravated when traveling across the Andean region.
In case you require special assistance, please let your travel agent know when booking.
IS SMOKING ALLOWED DURING THE JOURNEY?
Ecuadorian laws prohibit smoking on public locations, on board any train, at train stations or near railways.
IS THERE AN ON-BOARD GIFT ON BOARD THE TRAIN?
Yes. We accept cash, however credit cards are preferred for purchasing. Handcrafts are also available for purchasing on every train station (cash only).
ARE THERE LOCKERS FOR MY LUGGAGE ON BOARD THE TRAIN?
We provide one small locker per guest for storing hand luggage and other personal belongings while on board the train. The locker size is 19,68 in. (50cm) x 15,74in. (40cm).
IS THERE A LAUNDRY SERVICE ON THE TRAIN?
No. Laundry service is available only at hotels and depends on arrival time. Hotels might not have enough time to provide laundry service; we recommend bringing enough clothes for the whole journey.
WHAT IS THE ELECTRICITY VOLTAGE ON THE TRAIN?
The train operates 220V AC 50Hz, 3-point round-pronged wall plugs on every seat.
CAN I USE A MOBILE PHONE ON BOARD? IS WI-FI AVAILABLE ON BOARD?
It is our aim to disconnect guests from the outside world while traveling on stunning landscapes at isolated/exclusive locations. We have no radio, cable TV or Wi-Fi on board. On certain areas of the journey, especially while traveling across the Andes, mobile phones might have limited service due to poor signal. Internet will be available at hotels and haciendas. The use of any device that might disturb other guests while traveling is not allowed or the crew on board will restrict their use.
DOES THE TRAIN HAVE SECURITY?
Ecuador is a safe and peaceful country to visit. Since the train is always cleaned on every station, all valuables must be taken away with you daily. While guests are not on board the train, all personal belongings must be left inside the lockers.
DO I REQUIRE VISAS TO ENTER ECUADOR?
Ecuador policy is to welcome any visitor. However, we recommend to check with your local Ecuadorian embassy or consulate to make sure if you require or not a visa. For most countries, Ecuador does not request a visa, however a valid passport is mandatory to enter the country.
WILL I NEED INSURANCE FOR MY TRIP?
We always recommend to separately purchasing a travel insurance to cover any medical or travel casualties
DO YOU ARRANGE FLIGHTS?
No, we do not book flights. In case you need to return to Quito or Guayaquil the very same day of your arrival, we suggest taking flights departing no early than 20h00. Even though the program ends at main hotels or includes shuttles, traffic jams from train stations or hotels to airports are common in Quito and Guayaquil. Tren Crucero program does not operate shuttles to airports at any cities. For luggage restrictions on local flights, please check with your airline or travel agent.
IS YELLOW FEVER VACCINE COMPULSORY?
No. Ecuador is a yellow fever and malaria free country. Regarding Zika, Ecuador has 39 cases confirmed and all of them in the northern coastal provinces, which are not included in the train itinerary. Zika is not a fatal disease, however for pregnant women we suggest to take precautions. The virus is unable to live over 2,000 meters above sea level.