Tren Crucero (The Cruise Train) is an enchanting vintage train journey that takes you on an unforgettable voyage through Ecuadorian heritage, culture and scenery. Travelling along the historic railway line that connects Quito in the high Andes with Ecuador’s lush coastal plain is a fascinating train-adventure. The train crosses the Avenue of the Volcanoes and some of Latin America’s most spectacular scenery between Quito and Duran.
This four day – three night journey is undertaken in a refurbished heritage train pulled, wherever possible, by a magnificent 100-year old steam engine. Up to 54 passengers are accommodated in two luxurious carriages accompanied by a coffee and beverages lounge and an observation car with an outside viewing platform.
1st Day: Tuesday: Quito – Lasso
The crew from “Tren Crucero” meets and greets you at the Quito railway-station. As soon s the train leaves the city, it enters the famous Volcanoes Avenue where you enjoy amazing views of Mt Cotopaxi and other high volcanoes. At the Boliche railway-station, a bus is waiting for you to visit the Cotopaxi National Park. You have lunch at the Hacienda San Augustin de Callo which was an ancient ceremonial site for the incas. In the afternoon, you are invited to a private cultural event at the Lasso railway-station. Dinner and the night you spend at a Hotel near Latacunga. (L/D)
2nd Day: Wednesday: Lasso – Riobamba
A bus brings you to the Latacunga railway-station where you board the Tren Crucero. The first stop is at the Nevado Rose farm. This morning you get introduced to the famous Ecuadorian Roses which are exported worldwide. In the late morning, the train follows the Inter Andean valley to Ambato where you have lunch. In the afternoon, the train climbs to Urbina at 3609m (11’840ft), the highest point of our journey. Here, in the skirts of Ecuador’s highest mountain Mt. Chimborazo, you meet Ecuador’s last ice trader. You have dinner and spend the night in a Hotel near Riobamba. (B/L/D)
3rd Day: Thursday: Riobamba – Bucay
The Tren Crucero leaves from the Riobamba Railway Station early morning. Take photos of the dramatic Mt. Chimborazo while the train travels to Guamote. In Guamote, you have time to explore the authentic and colorful indigenous market. During the afternoon, the Tren Crucero descends to Alausi and from there, over the famous “Devil’s Nose” to Sibambe. The train leaves slowly the Andes and enters the tropics following the Chanchan river. In the evening, the Tren Crucero reaches Bucay where you have dinner and spend the night. (B/L/D)
4th Day: Friday: Bucay – Guayaquil
The day starts with a visit to a nearby Shuar Indigenous Community. The Shuars are from the Amazon rainforest and settled over the Andes a few decades ago. Learn about the best cacao in the World when you visit a cacao plantation. You have lunch at the cacao farm. During the afternoon, the train crosses the fertile plain between the Andes and the Guayas River. Rice, Banana and Cacao Plantations alternate with small towns. The train reaches Duran where the tour ends in the early evening. (B/L)
(B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
Sunday: Guayaquil – Bucay
The crew of the Tren Crucero meet and greets you at the railway-station in Duran. In the morning, the train crosses the fertile plain between the Guayas River and the Andes. Rice, Banana and Cacao Plantation alternate with small towns. Learn about the best cacao in the World at the cacao plantation where you have lunch. A short train ride away is Bucay where you visit a Shuar Indigenous Community. The Shuars are from the Amazon rainforest and settled over the Andes a few decades ago. You have dinner and spend the night in a hotel near Bucay. (L/D)
Monday: Bucay – Riobamba
The Tren Crucero slowly enters the Andes following the charming Chanchan valley. Take photos below the famous Devil’s Nose before the train starts its ascent over this engineering marvel. The train does a short stop in Alausi before the journey continues to Guamote where you have lunch. Explore this fascinating and colorful town before you continue on the train to Riobamba. You have dinner and stay overnight in a Hotel near Riobamba. (B/L/D)
Tuesday: Riobamba – Lasso
You travel on the train from Riobamba to Urbina, the highest point of our journey at 3609m (11’840ft) above sea level. Enjoy breathtaking views of Ecuador’s highest mountain Mt. Chimborazo. In Urbina, you meet Ecuador’s last ice-trader. You have lunch in the city of Ambato which is famous for its flower, and fruit production. The next train stop is at Nevado Roses where you learn about the famous Ecuadorian Roses. You continue on the train to Latacunga where you spend the night at a nearby Hotel. (B/L/D)
Wednesday: Lasso – Quito
You visit the Cotopaxi National Park in the morning. Enjoy excellent views of this conical shaped, snow-capped Volcano. Lunch you have at the hacienda San Augustin de Callo which was a ceremonial site for the Incas. At the Boliche railway-station, you board the train for the journey to Quito trough the Volcanoes Avenue. The Tren Crucero reaches the Chimbacalle railway-station in Quito in the late afternoon. (B/L)
(B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
It was in 1908 when the first steam train reached Quito’s Chimbacalle railway-station from Guayaquil. The “Tren Crucero” revives this journey. In 1908 took the journey 2 days, staying overnight in Riobamba. The train travels during 4 days from the high Andes in Quito to Guayaquil or vice versa, showing the train guests many interesting attractions along the way.
The modern “Tren Crucero” consists of 2 passenger carriages, a bar-carriage and and observation car. Meals are served in restaurants and the train passengers stay overnight in good hotels and hosterias along the way.
Web: Hacienda La Cienega
Web: Hacienda Hato Verde
Web: Hacienda La Andaluza
Web: Hosteria Abraspungo
Web: Hosteria D’Franco