Train of Wonders
Quito - Guayaquil | 4 days - 4 nights | Tuesday to FridayBook Now
Our journey begins in the northern Andes of Ecuador, in the valley of Otavalo, as we wind our way through traditional villages to meet craftspeople and enjoy a visit to a rose plantation. Venturing south from Quito, we travel through the famous “Avenue of the Volcanoes”, passing such giants as Cotopaxi and Chimborazo – the closest point on the planet to the sun. After a visit to the truly-authentic Andean market of Guamote, we make our way to warmer climes, zig-zagging down the mythical “Devil’s Nose”. After descending the colossal Andes we enter a tropical forest world, then ride through plantations of sugar-cane, rice and cacao, to end our trip in the peaceful plains of the coastal region.
Departing from Quito we drive north on a 2 hours bus ride across rose plantations and impressive mountains to the valley of Otavalo in the Imbabura Province. Otavalo is home of traditional cultures skilled craftspeople and the world-renowned Otavalo market.
We arrive at San Roque Train station where we will embark a panoramic convoy on a journey full of hidden wonders, musicians, painters, weavers and the skilful woodcarvers who keep the renowned Quito School of Art style alive. Delve yourself into this amazing world of colours and textures while we explore the northern routes of the Ecuadorian railway.
After our train trip we will visit Hacienda la Compania, located close to the equatorial line, this XVIII century hacienda will amaze you with its export-class rose plantation and exquisite Andean cuisine.
We will return to Quito and spend the night in this world heritage city.+
We board our Tren Crucero convoy at Quito’s Chimbacalle station and begin our journey south along the Avenue of Volcanoes. If the weather permits, you can spot up to twenty volcanoes from the train – most extinct or dormant for centuries, some active and full of life.
Here, the Andes range splits into two ranges that run in parallel. The fertile valley in-between these stone, volcanic walls hosts a treasure trove of biodiversity and a hive of agricultural activity. Our first stop is an Andean hacienda where we are treated to a rodeo demonstration performed by skilled local horseman – known as chagras. There’s also a chance to learn about rural life and meet the farm’s animals, such as fluffy llamas.
Upon arrival to Ambato Train Station the devils will take over the train. A picturesque and ancestral tradition the “Diablada Pillareña” parade will add a touch of joy and music to this beautiful day.
In the afternoon, the tracks of the Trans-Andean train will take us to the inhospitable Urbina train station. During our trip we can observe the change in vegetation and landscapes as we slowly climb up to the chilly Andean highlands to Urbina, the highest point in our itinerary at 11,800 feet above sea level. Here, in the shadow of the Chimborazo Volcano, the closest point on the planet to the sun, we meet Balthazar Ushca, the last ice-merchant in the Andes, and learn the story of his ancestral trade.
Later on we will drive to our destination a typical Andean Hacienda in the hearth of the Andes were we will spend the night and be delighted by the delicious gastronomy of our hosts.
Setting off early from Urbina, but this time aboard the “Black Monster” steam engine, we chug our way through the heart of the Central Andes, amid colourful quinoa fields flecked in purples, yellows and reds, alternating with endemic species of flora and wildlife, indigenous settlements and the remains of ancient cultures. At Colta, the train will make a complex manoeuvre to switch locomotives; we will leave the “Black Monster” to be pulled by a electric diesel locomotive and continue south. (Colta saw the birth of this charming nation when Spanish conquerors made its first settlement at its shores.)
At Guamote market, one of the last truly indigenous markets in the Andes, there’s time to wander, admire and barter for goods. We will have lunch before we take a transfer by bus to the mythical Devil’s Nose pass: a vertiginous train ride descent of 450 metres which includes zig zags carved into the mountainside. At Alausi train station we will board a carefully restored convoy. Beautiful XX century wagons will take you on this vertiginous descend to the Sibambe valley a unique and wonderful experience on board one of the most difficult trains of the world.
Returning to Alausi we will board our bus on a mesmerizing trip from the imposing Andes to the peaceful coastal plains. A dramatic change in weather and vegetation will mark the transition between these regions. After this four hours ride we will arrive to our hotels were we can rest and reflect upon the titanic labour undertaken by the Harman brothers to overcome the colossal Andean mountain range.
A pleasant one hour bus ride takes us from the Andean slopes to the tropical planes that burst in colours with rice, sugar cane, pineapple, banana and cacao plantations.
We arrive at a traditional hacienda, were we will take a tour around its fields to learn about the farming and harvesting of the Ecuadorian cocoa bean, a bean so exquisite that is considered to be the best in the world. We enjoy a fine dining experience amid the lush gardens before continuing onwards.
A bus transfer take us to Naranjito were our cruise train will be waiting to take us to our next destination, Yaguachi. At Yaguachi train station a restored steam engine awaits us, ready to whistle and thrum its way across the fields towards the Pacific Ocean and the end of our trip at Guayaquil’s Duran train station. Transfer to hotels.
Luxury Experience Rates:
Double room: $1735,00
Single room: $2082,00
Gold Class Rates:
Double room: $2322,00
Single room: $2722,00
*Rates for children apply from 2 years old to 11 years and 11 months old sharing room with 2 adults.
One children for every 2 adults. Rates and Departures are subject to change without prior notice.
TRAIN OF WONDERS
Quito - Guayaquil
6 / 27 nov | 11 dec
TRAIN OF WONDERS
Quito - Guayaquil
8 / 22 jan | 5 / 19 feb | 5 / 19 mar | 16 apr | 28 may | 11 jun | 2 jul | 20 aug | 17 sep | 1 / 29 oct | 12 nov | 10 dec
Day 01 – Quito – Otavalo – San Antonio – San Roque – Ibarra- Quito
Check in at Swissôtel.
Address: 1820, 12 de October Av. & Luis Cordero | Phone: 593-2-567-600
Departure by bus towards through the North Pan-American towards Otavalo valley.
Arrival to Otavalo.
Our first stop is San Roque, like all train stations; it has been refurbished preserving its original structure based on clay bricks also known as adobe. Local gastronomy tasting based on the many ways ecuadorian eat corn! Show with Andean woodwind instruments.
Our next visit is Andrade Marin train station. Here the first textile factory in Ecuador, today restored as a museum, celebrates the textile traditions of Imbabura province. Between 1927 and 1983, the factory had 1,200 employees and contributed to the economic development of the region. Train departs to San Antonio.
Once in San Antonio de Ibarra, we will visit a workshop where skilled woodcarvers still use the Escuela Quiteña (Quiteña School), to create beautiful sculptures. The Quiteña and the Cuzco Schools are considered one of the most exquisite examples of the American baroque.
After San Antonio we continue by bus to Cayambe valley, where we visit an rose plantation. Ecuadorian roses are worldwide famous due of their extraordinary quality, mostly thanks to the soil and an increased exposition to sunlight, a main feature of the equatorial zone.
Lunch at Hacienda La Compañía, at the family dinning room, which has been with the family for more than 5 generations. Later visit to the museum and ancient chapel, both buildings from the XVII century, profusely decorated with spectacular rose bouquets of every colour. In the afternoon, return by bus to Quito.
Once in Quito, accommodation and dinner .
Day 02 – Quito – Cotopaxi – Ambato – Urbina
Departure from Swissôtel to Chimbacalle train station, located in southerm Quito.
The train continues it path northbound across and inter-Andean valley formed when the Andes mountain range slipt into two “cordilleras”, the Eastern and Western. The zone is known as the Volcano Avenue, named after the famous scientist Alexander von Humboldt voyage in the XIX century. More than 12 volcanos are visible from the train in a clear day.
Arrival to La Alegria Farm to learn about the Andean Cowboys, the Chagras. Rodeo show.
Lunch is served on board impressive views of volcanoes, native forests, crops and grasslands.
From the train’s terrace or inside the confortable panoramic wagons, you can enjoy the unparalleled Andean landscape while we move towards the Chimborazo’s foothills at 3,600 meters above sea level. Upon arrival, Baltasar, who keeps alive the ancient job of extracting fossil ice from the Chimborazo’s glacier, welcomes us. Baltasar will share with us his daily life and how he digs ice from the volcano foothills.
Dinner and accommodation in Riobamba at Andaluza Hacienda.
Day 03 – Riobamba – Colta – Guamote – Alausí – Bucay
Transfer by bus to Riobamba train station. A steam locomotive takes us southbound through colourful quinoa and vegetables fields. On our way, we reach Colta lake, where we will visit Balbanera, the first church established in Ecuador by Europeans more than 5 centuries ago.
We continue our journey to Guamote, where each Thursday a colourful and ancient market take place: more than 30 surrounding communities, with their brightly colour attires, still exchange goods using “trueque” (barter).
Lunch on board the train or at the Guamote’s train station.
Arrival at Alausí were we will board a restored early XX century convoy. The huge Chanchan canyon is the starting point from which the train descends to the Pacific Coast through a zigzag dug in almost perpendicular walls on the famous Devil’s Nose. Within minutes, we will descend from 2, 347 to 1,836 meters.
Panoramic stop at Nariz del Diablo’s viewpoint for photographs and an historical overview of this impressive construction.
Departure towards Bucay by bus. The foothills of the Andes that give Ecuador the world’s highest biodiversity per square kilometre creates an almost infinite variety of microclimates and temperatures. Our ride offers a rarely seen spectacle: a climate transition. When leaving the Andes and go into the Pacific coast, mountains and its dry forest suddenly transforms into a tropical forest.
Arrival at Bucay. Dinner and accommodation.
Day 04 – Bucay – San Antonio – Yaguachi – Duran
Transfer by bus to Bucay. The landscape during our last day journey changes again as we leave the tropical forest enter into enormous banana, sugar cane, rice and cocoa plantations.
Arrival to Hacienda Danesa. The Hacienda was founded in 1870 along with the first train stations in the coast. Opportunity to visit a plantation of world-renowned Ecuadorian cocoa. It’s a belief that cocoa was originated in the Amazon jungle millions of years ago, precisely between the Ecuadorian and Colombian border. Domesticated between 5,000 and 3,000 b.C. cocoa later sprood thanks to the pre-Columbian commerce routes towards Central America.
Typical lunch. The “farm to table” style warranties a flavour experience with local ingredients organic and sustainable produced.
Departure by train to Duran. On our last stop at Yaguachi train station, another steam locomotive awaits for us. The engine change manoeuvre is a spectacle for itself. The sound of the whistle and steam takes us back in time to the beginning of the Ecuadorian railroad construction.
Arrival to Duran. Transfer to your hotel for accommodation in Guayaquil.
End of services
Hacienda La Alegria will be available from 2018 departures. On day 4 Tuesday, the stretch between Otavalo and San Roque is temporarily operated by bus due to maintenance. Starting on February 1st 2018 the tracks from Naranjito to Pistishi train station (80 km of the 450 km of the railway system), will come under maintenance. Due to this works itineraries on Day 3 on the Train of Wonders and Day 2 on Train to the Clouds for Tren Crucero Programs will be modified. Fully equipped buses will provide transportation service on those extensions of the railway that are under maintenance.
The program includes transportation aboard Tren Crucero, all meals during the trip, snacks and soft drinks on board, guide in Spanish and English*, excursions according to the itinerary, transportation by bus/van during the program for excursions and accommodation based on double occupancy. In the Quito to Guayaquil route, once the train has arrived at Duran station (Guayaquil), you will be transferred to the hotel for overnight**. For Gold Class travelers, all transfers to hotels are included.
*Guidance in languages other than Spanish and English as Italian, French, German, Portuguese and Japanese can be provided on request. It is subject to availability and applies an extra cost.
**For Day 4: Dinner is not included. Breakfast included for the next day.
Taxes, alcoholic beverages (Tren Crucero offers wine, beer and whiskey), meals and excursions not included in the program, air tickets, personal expenses, gratuities or transfers to hotels different from the ones listed here. Passengers are recommended to purchase travel insurance.
CLOTHING: Wear layers: a jacket for cold weather and a light coat for the rain (coast). Comfortable walking shoes, hat, sunscreen with high SPF, repellant, sunglasses. Don’t forget your camera!
ALTITUDE: It ranges from 80 to 3,610 meters above sea level. The temperature ranges from 14 ° to 35 °C.
IMPORTANT: Duran station is 30 minutes away from Guayaquil. Take it into account to ensure you arrive on time for check-in. In Quito, Swissôtel is located in the city of Quito, Avenida 12 de Octubre y Luis Cordero. Unusued services are not refunded. Consult with our sales department about the possibility of boarding Tren Crucero Train of Wonders (southbound) in Otavalo.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: All itineraries are subjected to change due to force majeure or technical, operational circumstances. Please check our policy regarding refunds and cancellations. At Tren Ecuador we are committed to providing the best possible travel experience.