Train to the Clouds

Guayaquil – Quito | 4 days – 4 nights | Saturday to Tuesday
US$ 1,735 pp

In this journey on board the Tren Crucero, you will pass from the Coastal plains to the colossal Andes, experiencing one of the most dramatic changes in vegetation and scenery in the world. An amazing deed of engineering, “The Devil´s Nose” pass allows the train to overcome such an impressive task, this and many other difficulties made people name this train as “the most difficult railway of the world”.

 

From the fertile plains of the coast, you will climb up to the highlands of the Andes through the mythical Devil’s Nose pass. Riding through the Avenue of Volcanoes, you will reach Quito, a dazzling city recognized by UNESCO as a Cultural World Heritage Site city. On the last day of this journey you will visit the town of Otavalo, in the folds of the northern Andes Mountains, where you will explore the Quichua culture, skills and traditions of its people. Lunch will be served at one of Ecuador´s most ancient haciendas and in the evening you will return to Quito after finishing this amazing trip across the Andes.

Day 1 – Saturday

Durán – Yaguachi – Naranjito – Bucay (L.D)

Our journey to the Andes begins in Duran train station where we will board a convoy pulled by a carefully restored steam locomotive. The roaring engine, steam whistles and steel wheels over the railways will take us back in time to the early XIX century and the adventurous experience that is the Tren Crucero.

 

Our first stop is Yaguachi, were we will switch engines to continue our trip across vast plantations of sugar cane, banana, rice and pineapple until we reach the Naranjito station.

 

A short bus transfer will take us to a local hacienda were we will learn about the cocoa bean and we will be part of the chocolate making process. Ecuadorian cocoa beans are considered to be the best of the world and you would have the opportunity to taste them while we visit the hacienda.

 

In the afternoon a “montubio” show will welcome us before we taste the delicious food of the coast of Ecuador.
A bus transfer will take us to Bucay were we will take a hike around the tropical forest, home of countless plants, birds and orchids that will marvel us with their different sizes and exuberant colours.

We will check in at our hotel and prepare for dinner.

 

Meals:

  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 2 – Sunday

Bucay – The Devil’s Nose – Riobamba (B,L,D)

Our next day adventure continues by bus when we climb the Andes on a pleasant 4 hours drive. During this ride we will look at the amazing changes in, landscape from the peaceful green plains of the coast to the colossal Andean mountains that cast their shadows on the road. Our destination is the town of Alausi were we will embark on a thrilling adventure on board the famous Devil´s Nose train.

 

Upon arrival at Alausi Train station we will join a restored XX century convoy and we will start our trip to the Devil´s Nose pass, a 450-meter descend in barely 12 kilometres on a zig-zagging railway that allows the locomotive to pull forwards and backwards the convoy to reach its destination, Sibambe train station. At Sibambe a colourful Andean community ballet will welcome us. Many are the histories that tell us why this pass was baptized as La Nariz del Diablo or The Devil´s Nose, from the shape of the mountain that awakens our imagination to the number of human lives that took to overcome this nearly impossible obstacle.

 

After our thrilling adventure of The Devil´s Nose, we will take a bus ride to Guamote. Lunch will be served on board and afterwards we will continue or journey north to Colta were an impressive steam engine locomotive known as “The Black Monster” will be waiting for us. This huge steam engine was carefully overhauled and is strong enough to pull convoys over the railways of the Andes where the altitude and lack of oxygen makes this a titanic task. Once we arrive to Riobamba a bus transfer will take us to our hotel for a delicious meal and a good night sleep.

 

Meals included.

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 3 – Monday

Riobamba – Urbina – Quito (B,L,D)

We depart for Urbina train station, the highest point in our itinerary at 3,600 metres above sea level. There, on the eastern flanks of the Chimborazo Volcano, we meet the fascinating last ice merchant, Baltazar Ushca, to tell the tale of his ancestral trade.

 

We continue north across the Avenue of Volcanoes a term coined by Alexander Von Humboldt due to the impressive number of volcanoes present in this part of the Andean mountain range. In between the two flanks of the Andes colourful valleys extend for many miles, offering you unique landscapes along the way.

 

While our train continues making its way up north 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.

 

Under the watchful eyes of the Cotopaxi our train will makes its way to of the local haciendas to take part on the daily farm activities. At the hacienda we will be greet by the “chagras” the cowboys of the Andes, who will share part of their culture with you.

 

We arrive to Quito train Station located in the traditional neighbourhood of Chimbacalle were a bus will be waiting for us to take us to our hotels for dinner and a peaceful night at this UNESCO Cultural Heritage City.

 

Meals included.

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

Day 4 – Tuesday

Quito – Otavalo – Ibarra – Quito

Our journey continues in the morning with a 2 hours bus ride north across rose plantations and charming mountains that seem to be patched up in different colours by the many plantations along the way. Our destination will be the valley of Otavalo in the Imbabura Province. Otavalo is home of ancient 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 complicated 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. After lunch we will return to Quito.

 

Meals included.

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch

Rates

Luxury Experience Rates:

Double room: $1735,00

Single room: $2082,00

Children: $1560,00*

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.

Departures 2018

TRAIN TO THE CLOUDS
Guayaquil - Quito

10 nov | 1 / 15 dec

Departures 2019

TRAIN TO THE CLOUDS
Guayaquil - Quito

12 / 26 jan | 9 / 23 feb | 9 / 23 mar | 20 apr | 6 jun | 6 jul | 7 / 21 sep | 5 oct | 2 / 16 nov | 14 dec

4 Days/4 Nights itinerary | Saturday to Tuesday

Day 01 – Duran – Yaguachi – Naranjito – Bucay

 

8:00

Check in at Duran’s train station (7:30am). The No. 11 Steam Engine awaits us. The sound of the whistle and the steam, the sparks that comes out of its wheels transports us back in time a century ago, to the beginning of the Ecuadorian railroad.

During our first day we cross the coastal plain and we get into huge tropical fruits, rice paddies, sugar cane and banana plantations while traveling to Naranjito.

11:30

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.

13:45

Typical lunch. La Danesa cooking style is based on the “farm to table “concept in which local ingredients are grown in the hacienda and sustainable produced.

17:00

Arrival at Bucay. Dinner and accomodation.

 

Day 02 – Bucay – Devil´s Nose – Alausi – Colta – Riobamba

 

7:05

Transfer by bus to Bucay train station.

7:30

Departure towards Devil’s Nose. The foothills of the Andes that gives Ecuador the world’s highest biodiversity per square kilometre creates an almost infinite variety of microclimates and temperatures. As we as we ascend by bus, we will experience a climatic transition. The tropical jungle will turn into dry forest and mountains as we continue our ride to the clouds.

9:50

Stop at Devil´s Nose viewpoint at the bottom of the Chanchan river canyon for photographs and learn about the dramatic history of this impressive construction.

We ascend 450 meters in a zigzag manoeuvre in almost perpendicular walls on the famous Devil’s Nose. Later, arrival to the picturesque village of Alausi.

12:40

Lunch on board the train or at Guamote’s train station.

While crossing colourful quinoa landscape, the train continues to Colta.

14:45

Arrival to Riobamba. Time to visit the artisans’ square. Transfer to an Abraspungo Hacienda for accommodation and dinner.

 

Day 03 – Riobamba – Urbina – Boliche – Quito

 

6:15

Early departure from Riobamba train station. Departure by train towards Urbina train station in the foothills of Chimborazo volcano, the tallest peak in Ecuador.

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.

The train continues its 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  Avenue of the Volcanoes, named by the famous scientist Alexander von Humboldt, during his voyage in the XIX century. More than 12 volcanos are visible from the train in a clear day.

12:30

Lunch is served on board impressive views of volcanoes, native forests, crops and grasslands.

16:00

Arrival to La Alegria Farm to learn more about the Andean Cowboys, the Chagras. Rodeo show.

17:55

Arrival to Chimbacalle train station in Quito and transfer to Swissôtel for dinner and accommodation.

 

Day 04 – Quito – Otavalo – San Antonio – San Roque – Ibarra- Quito

 

7:00

Departure by bus towards through the North Pan-American towards Otavalo valley.

9:50

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.

14:00

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.

18:30

Once in Quito, accommodation at Swissôtel.

End of services

 

Important notice  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.

 

What is Included?

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 Guayaquil to Quito route, once the train has arrived at Eloy Alfaro Train Station (Quito), you will be transferred for overnight**.

 

*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.

**Day 4: Dinner is not included. Breakfast included for the next day.

What is Extra?

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.

Travel Tips

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.

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