Trains & Coffee in Ecuador, Colombia and Panama
Apr 18 – May 08 & Oct 31 – Nov 20, 2019 | 21 Days | Escorted Small Group Journey | Max. 15 Guests | Price from USD 6’570.–
Jul 09 – 29 & Oct 29 – Nov 18, 2020 | 21 Days | Escorted Small Group Journey | Max. 15 Guests | Price from USD 6’770.–
Traveling on trains, learn about the world of Coffee and the Flower Industry and touring to new sites off the beaten track are the main ingredients of this tour. The northwestern part of South America was neglected for a long time by travelers due to safety concerns in Colombia, but today, the country is safe, and traveling is more comfortable as ever before.
We start the tour by traveling aboard the Tren Crucero from the Pacific Lowlands into the high Andes in Ecuador. In Colombia, we visit the Bogota region traveling on the “Tren de la Sabana” from Bogota to Zipaquira where we visit the famous Salt Cathedral. Colombia is internationally known for its excellent Coffee; we explore its secrets visiting the famous Coffee Triangle. We continue the trip to Medellin where we have a closer look into the Colombian Flower Industry and visit the world famous Peñol Rock. After a short break in the Caribbean in Cartagena de Indias, we end the tour in Panama, traveling along the Panama Canal from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean aboard the Transoceanic Train.
We stay overnight in good middle class hotels 3 – 4 *
- Travel on the Tren Crucero discovering Ecuador from the Pacific Lowlands to the high Andes.
- Ecuador and Colombia are significant exporters of Coffee and Flowers. Learn about the production process of these products before they are shipped overseas and you find them at home in your favorite shop or supermarket.
- Travelers avoided Colombia in the past due to safety concerns. Today, Colombia’s safety is not an issue anymore among travelers, and it is just the right moment to visit the country. Enjoy its breathtaking sceneries and fascinating cities without being surrounded by a massive crowd of other travelers.
- Visit the famous Panama Canal and observe the ships crossing from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean or vice versa. Panama is also a wildlife sanctuary, and the country has a fascinating history to explore.
Considering the character of our trips, we may be making ongoing improvements to this itinerary. Below you find the day-by-day itinerary for the tour “Trains & Coffee in Ecuador, Colombia, and Panama.” Unless otherwise specified, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the trip. We do our maximum to comply to the scheduled tour program, but due to the travel style and regions we visit, we may deviate the journey slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, and culture.
Day 1: Arrival in Guayaquil - Ecuador
You arrive with your international flight in Guayaquil – Ecuador. Welcome and transfer to your Hotel in Guayaquil.
Day 2: City Tour in Guayaquil - Ecuador
Half Day City Tour in Guayaquil. We visit the San Pedro Cathedral, the Municipality, and the Malecon Simon Bolivar. Then, we continue to the “Parque Historico,” a cultural, environmental, and educational space. We have our Welcome Lunch during the city tour. We spend the night at our Hotel in Guayaquil.
Day 3: On the Tren Crucero from Duran to Alausi
From the Duran railway station we board the “Tren Crucero” and travel being pulled by a carefully restored steam locomotive to Yaguachi. The trip aboard the “Tren Crucero” will continue to Naranjito where we visit a Cacao Plantation. We continue our trip by bus to Alausi at an altitude of 2340 m (7677 ft) above sea level. We spend the night in a comfortable hotel in Alausi.
Day 4: Train over the Devil's Nose and Tren Crucero to Riobamba
We travel on a regular train over the famous Devil’s Nose. Back in Alausí, we have time to discover this small town. A short ride on the tour bus brings us to the Palmira railway station where the “Tren Crucero” is waiting. We have lunch on board the train. A Baldwin Steam Locomotive will pull the “Tren Crucero” from Colta to Riobamba. In Riobamba transfer to our hotel.
Day 5: Tren Crucero through the Volcanoes Avenue
The community of La Moya will receive us and show as about their daily life. The tour continues towards the Urbina train station, located just over 3,600 meters (11’900 ft) above sea level. In Urbina, we will meet Baltazar Ushca, the last ice trader of the Chimborazo. The “Tren Crucero” will advance during the afternoon into the Avenue of the Volcanoes to Latacunga where we stay overnight.
Day 6: Tren Crucero from Cotopaxi to Quito
We travel by bus to the Cotopaxi National Park. Within the Park, we make a moderate walk in the lagoon of Limpiopungo from where we have breathtaking views of the Cotopaxi Volcano. The Tren Crucero will wait near the National Park entrance and bring us to a colonial Hacienda where we will be part of the daily activities of the hacienda. Our tour ends at Quito’s Chimbacalle Railway Station where a private vehicle brings us to our hotel in Quito.
Day 7: City Tour in Quito
We start the city tour in the old part of Quito with its many squares, historical buildings, churches, and convents. We have lunch in a typical restaurant in Quito’s old town. After lunch, we go to the Equator-Line where you can do Equator experiments and take pictures being in the northern and southern hemisphere at the same time.
Day 8: Ecuadorian Roses
We drive to Cayambe where we visit a Rose Plantation. We walk around the farm and learn about the methods that are applied to roses before they are shipped overseas. We have lunch at the picturesque Hacienda “La Compania” in Cayambe. On the way back to Quito, our driver leaves us at the Quito International Airport from where we take an evening flight to Bogota in Colombia. In Bogota transfer to our Hotel.
Day 9: City Tour in Bogota
A funicular brings us up to the Monserrate Hill at 3’152 meters (10’341 ft) above sea level. From the Monserrate Hill, we have breathtaking views of the city of Bogota. Back in the city, we visit the Gold and Botero Museums. We visit the Plaza Bolivar, the National Capitol, the Cathedral, and Bogota’s old town called Candelaria. We spend the night in Bogota.
Day 10: Tren de la Sabana & Salt Cathedral
At the Sabana Railway Station we board the “Tren de la Sabana”. Enjoy from the train Bogota’s Savannah Region during the 53 km journey to Zipaquira. In Zipaquira, we visit the Salt Cathedral inside an old salt mine. On the train journey back to Bogota, the train stops in Cojiba where we have lunch. From Cojiba we return to Bogota’s Usaquen train station where our private vehicle awaits us and brings us to our hotel.
Day 11: Santa Rosa Thermes
Transfer to the Airport in Bogota and flight to Pereira. We will enjoy a refreshing bath in the Thermal Springs of Santa Rosa with its impressive waterfall. Enjoy the surrounding mountains and the tropical cloud forest from inside the thermal pools. In the afternoon, we drive to our hotel near Pereira.
Day 12: Discover one of the Best Coffees in the World
A speciality Coffee producer invites us for a walk through their steep fields of coffee bushes while learning every detail that is needed to produce an excellent coffee. Then, we have a close look at the post-harvest installation where coffee beans are cleaned, selected and roasted. Our visit ends in the laboratory with a coffee tasting session. In the afternoon, we return to our hotel where we stay overnight.
Day 13: City Tour in Medellin
In the morning, we go to the Airport in Perreira for the flight to Medellin. We travel on the suburban train to the Acevedo railway station where we board the aerial cable car into the mountains. After lunch, we visit a “Silletero” house near the cable car’s terminal station. Silleteros work with fresh flowers and are the main attraction of Medellin’s picturesque flower festival that takes place every year. Our private vehicle brings us back to the city. We stay overnight in Medellin.
Day 14: Hyderangeas & Orchids
We visit the Hacienda San Isidro which cultivates Hydrangeas and Orchids. The San Isidro Farm was a pioneer in Colombia in Hydrangeas farming and exporting the flower overseas. The owner’s of San Isidro has one of the largest private collections of orchids in Colombia. He will open for us the doors to his large Orchid Collection and show us around his Orchid Garden. In the afternoon, we return to Medellin where we stay overnight.
Day 15: Guatape & Peñol Rock
We visit the Peñol-Guatapé reservoir which has a dam that was built at the end of the 1970s, flooding thousands of hectares. From the “Piedra del Peñol,” you have beautiful views over the lake and the surrounding forests. We have lunch and visit the picturesque town of Guatape. In the afternoon, transfer to the Airport in Medellin for the flight to Cartagena de Indias in the Caribbean. Transfer-in to the hotel where we stay overnight.
Day 16: City Tour in Cartagena de Indias
Experience all of Cartagena’s historical highlights on a comprehensive guided tour of Colombia’s most vibrant city. Immerse yourself in the Caribbean flair of the town as you visit revered museums, iconic fortresses, and impressive monuments. Admire the astonishing colonial architecture of the Clock Tower and explore the glittering exhibitions of the Museum of Gold.
Day 17: Day at Leisure in Cartagena de Indias
You have a day at leisure in Cartagena de Indias. The only thing programed today is the breakfast at the hotel. You have time to go to a beach, visit a museum, do shopping or just having a beer in one of the colorful streets and watching people walk by.
Day 18: City Tour in Panama City
Transfer to the airport in Cartagena and flight to Panama City. Transfer to the Hotel where we have lunch. In the afternoon, we visit the Ancon Hill from where you have breathtaking views over Panama City. Later we go to the Bio Museum where you get introduced to Panama’s bio diversity. We stay overnight in Panama City.
Day 19: Trans Oceanic Railway and Panama Canal
We travel along the Panama Canal on the Transoceanic Train. In Colon on the Caribbean side, we go to the nearby Agua Clara observation area, where you can observe Panamax Class ships going from the Gatun Lake to the lower level of the Caribbean Ocean or vice versa. On the way back to Panama City, we do a short boat ride on the Gatun Lake visiting a nearby wildlife sanctuary. Before reaching Panama City, we go to see the Miraflores Lock. We stay overnight at our hotel in Panama City. (B/L)
Day 20: Panama City Old Town
We start our city tour at Panama’s old town that has become an open-air museum. Among the best-preserved buildings are the “Cathedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción,” the former private residence Casa Alarcón, and church and convent of Santo Domingo. We learn about Rhum in an artisanal Rum Distillery in Panama’s old town before we have our farewell lunch. In the afternoon, we return to our hotel in Panama City.
Day 21: Departure
At the agreed time, transfer to the Airport and flight to your home country.