Tren Crucero — or ‘The Cruise Train’ — is a three day, two night Ecuador train tour that’s certain to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you’ll never forget! Come aboard Tren Crucero’s vintage train car for an incredible voyage through Ecuador’s countryside. You’ll get a taste of this South American nation’s culture, heritage and spirit, as you journey along the historic rail line that extends from Quito in the high Andes to Ecuador’s lush coastal regions.
From Quito you explore the Northern Andes. A steam engine awaits you at the recently restored train station in Otavalo from where you travel on the “Tren de los Lagos” to Ibarra.
In fact, passengers on this Ecuador train tour will enjoy spectacular scenery, ranging from beautiful volcanoes to thriving green plains. Book your ride aboard Tren Crucero and Tren de los Lagos and discover Ecuador’s premier train tour!
Single Room supplement: USD 111.–
The journey starts in the Northern Andes. While we travel towards Otavalo, the highest peak in the equator might appear, the snow-capped Cayambe volcano. The landscape changes constantly: fertile green valleys transform into yellow dry forests as we continue to Otavalo and its millenary market.
A restored steam engine awaits us at Otavalo train station. While we travel on board the train, many wonders are waiting for us at each stop: skilled woodcarvers who keep alive the renowned Quiteña School style; a tasting of the rich Ecuadorian Gastronomy, and local traditions featured in weavers, musicians and healers. Next on our journey, we will descend 3’600m (11,811ft) from the heights of the Andes to the shore of the Pacific Ocean, traveling along the famous “Avenue of Volcanoes”. Here, the Andes split into two ranges that run to the south. The fertile valley trapped in between these imposing zone walls is home to a veritable treasure trove of biodiversity.
Pristine landscapes, endemic species of wildlife and flora, indigenous cultures as well as archaeological and historical remains are scattered everywhere, all guarded by magnificent volcanoes. The train leaves behind Cotopaxi volcano and National Park and slowly climbs across purple-tinged quinoa fields towards Urbina station, the highest point on our route at 3’610m (11,843ft) a.s.l. There, protected by the majestic and powerful Chimborazo volcano awaits Baltasar Ushca, the last “ice-harvester” and guardian of this ancestral trade. After a visit to Guamote traditional indigenous market, the mythical “Nariz del Diablo” pass awaits; a vertiginous descent of 450m (1,476 ft) that signals the transition from the Andes to the tropical lowlands.
The landscape changes as we leave the narrow gorge of the Chanchán river and its cloud forest and ride into the wide, fertile tropical plains. Rice, banana, cocoa, pineapple and sugar cane plantations pass before our eyes as the steam engine whistles its way towards the Pacific Coast and the end of our trip.
Day 01: Quito – Otavalo – Ibarra
Check in at Swissôtel lobby in Quito. Departure by bus to Otavalo. The stretch of Otavalo to Ibarra is operated with a steam locomotive across the northern valleys. Visit to woodcarving workshops at San Antonio, discovery of local traditional food in Andrade Marin, and a show of local music and textile weaving at San Roque train station. Overnight in Quito.
Day 02: Quito – Boliche – Urbina
Journey across the Avenue of the Volcanoes, exploration of Andean woods, an ecosystem in the el Boliche area in Cotopaxi National Park, amazing views of Yambo lake and visit to Baltasar, the last ice-harvester in the Chimborazo slopes. Overnight in Riobamba.
Day 03: Riobamba – Colta – Alausi – Devil’s Nose – Bucay
Riobamba – Colta with steam engine, visit to one of the very last Andean indigenous markets: Guamote. Devil´s Nose crossing and the impressive climatic transition while traveling from the Andes Mountain Range to the Pacific coast. Overnight in Bucay.
Day 04: Bucay – Duran (Guayaquil)
Cacao and chocolates tasting at Naranjito in a Coastal Hacienda. Yaguachi to Duran is operated with a steam engine.
On this journey on board Tren Crucero you will climb 3,600 m (11,811ft.), thus experiencing one of the most dramatic changes in vegetation and scenery in the world. The train travels through the fertile plains of the coast into a dense cloud forest that slowly clears before the imposing walls of the Andes. The “Nariz del Diablo” pass looms in the distance. The train slowly zigzags its way up the daunting tracks to arrive at the quaint village of Alausi in the Andean Highlands.
From here on, imposing volcanoes preside over the landscape as the train cruises through the grazing lands, dotted with herds of sheep, llama and alpaca, and colourful quinoa fields at 3’610m (11,843ft) a.s.l. On the eastern flanks of Chimborazo volcano awaits the last “ice-harvester.” Tasting an ice cream made of fresh fruit and hand-harvested ice from Chimborazo’s glacier is a completely unique experience!
From here we make a slow descent towards Quito across the Avenue of Volcanoes, after paying our respects to Cotopaxi volcano and exploring a mountain forest in its surroundings.
After, it is time to explore the Northern Andes. On the road we might spot the Cayambe volcano while we cross export-class rose plantations and livestock farms. The impressive Otavalo market is where a large handcraft market takes place weekly and a steam engine awaits us at the recently restored train station in Otavalo. Many wonders are ready to be explored: skilled woodcarvers who keep alive the renowned Quiteña School style; a tasting of the rich Ecuadorian Gastronomy, and local traditional culture featured in weavers, musicians and healers. Our journey ends back in Quito, with its World Heritage colonial quarter.
Day 01: Duran (Guayaquil) – Bucay
Check in at Duran train station, departure from Duran to Yaguachi operated by steam engine. Includes a visit to a Coastal Hacienda in Bucay and cacao and chocolate tasting. Overnight in Bucay.
Day 02: Bucay – Riobamba
An amazing climatic transition from Bucay to Huigra as we travel from the Pacific coast to the largest mountain range in the world, the Andes, crossing the emblematic Devil’s Nose Pass and a visit to an ancestral Andean indigenous community. The stretch from Colta to Riobamba is with steam engine. Overnight in Riobamba.
Day 03: Urbina – Ambato –Quito
A unique visit to the last Ice-harvester up in the highlands of Chimborazo volcano (the highest peak in Ecuador), impressive views of the Avenue of Volcanoes (at least 10 volcanoes in the area), and a leisurely hike in Andean mountain woods. Overnight in Quito.
Day 04: Quito – Otavalo – Ibarra
Travel the stretch of Otavalo to Ibarra with steam locomotive across the northern valleys. Visit to woodcarving workshops at San Antonio, discovery of local gastronomy in Andrade Marin, and a show of local music and textile weaving at San Roque train station. Return to Quito. The journey ends at 18:00 at the Swissôtel lobby.
The Swissotel Quito is one of the best 5* hotels in Quito. The hotel is located in La Floresta where you find many excellent restaurants and fancy shops. Also the entertaining district of La Mariscal is nearby. The hotel has an indoor swimming pool, an outstanding SPA and many restaurants. The rooms have all the amenities you expect form such a 5* hotel.
The Hosteria Abraspungo is a comfortable place to stay in a residential outskirt of Riobamba. The comfortable rooms go to a courtyard with a nice garden. From Abraspungo you enjoy fabulous views of Ecuador’s highest mountain, the Chimborazo. The rooms offer all amenities you expect from a comfortable hotel.
The Hacienda Chuquipogio is the home of the Hosteria La Andaluza. The hacienda was built in 1555 and is a ecuadorian cultural heritage site, about 15km north of Riobamba. Simon Bolivar stayed at this hacienda overnight when he was traveling south of Quito. The historial guest rooms and spectacular views of the breathtaking Chimborazo add to the historic ambiance of this place.
The Hosteria D’Franco is a hotel at the hilly, tropical feet of the Ecuadorian Andes. The deep green tropical scenery, with tropical flowers, characterises this part of Ecuador. The comfortable rooms offer all you need for a comfortable night. Don’t forget to do a night walk in the hotel’s unique surroundings.