Landscapes, the whisper of volcanoes and snow-capped mountains, the picturesque colors of the coast and the astonishing views of valleys, the equatorial sunshine, the kindness of its people... all these are features of a true lifetime experience as you take a memorable four day train trip through Ecuador from Quito to Guayaquil.
The Tren Crucero was launched in June 2013 following a $280 million rehabilitation of the famous historic railway line between Quito in the Andean highlands to Guayaquil on the Pacific coast. Daytime stops include the Cotopaxi National Park, where one can admire the massive snow-capped cone of the world’s second highest active volcano; Nevado Roses, where Ecuador’s huge rose export industry comes to life; and a visit to a displaced Shuar indigenous group that have curiously established a new community on the western side of the Andes – hundreds of miles from their homeland in the Amazon. Wander around the Guamote Market, where the indigenous peoples from the neighbouring villages mostly all wearing their traditional outfits come to town to buy and sell goods. Hold your breath in wonder as you descend hundreds of metres to the ‘Devil’s Nose’ by train on an almost sheer cliff including two switchbacks - an incredible feat of engineering even today.
Overnight stops are made at three traditional haciendas or hosterias: these are not luxury establishments, but offer comfortable accommodation and good, traditional Ecuadorian cuisine.
Enjoy a personalized vacation that best suits your needs, developed by one of our experienced destination experts. Relax during your trip with our 24/7 support and expert local guidance.
Enjoy a private Airport Transfer in Quito with a professional driver.
Experience unmatched elegance at the JW Marriott Quito Hotel in Ecuador, the gateway to the Galapagos Islands and Andean Mountains. Located in the heart of the city, the JW Marriott is located on the famous Amazonas Avenue and features an amazing atrium lobby where you can enjoy a martini or espresso while enjoying the view. Amenities include spacious guest rooms and suites with magnificent views, high-speed Internet access, in-room safe and luxurious bedding. On-site restaurants offer innovative Ecuadorian and international cuisine while the tropical gardens and resort-style pool offer the perfect backdrop for some relaxation. There is also a fitness centre as well as full spa onsite.
Experience a wonderful tour through the streets and main squares of Quitos' historical centre, the first city in the world to be declared by UNESCO as “World Cultural Heritage” in recognition for its architecture and artistic value. Narrow and sometimes steep streets are surrounded with classic architecture, colonial style houses, gracious flowered balconies, charming squares and more than 50 monumental churches, convents, monasteries, cloisters and historic monuments.
A visit to the Church and Convent of Santo Domingo is part of this visit; this convent has the best exhibit of architectural and religious art in the colonial city. Treasures such as the Chapels of El Rosario and Pompeya whose walls and columns are decorated in gold, are a vivid example of the world famous Quito School of Art. The Convent of Santo Domingo displays colossal doors and ceilings covered with oil paintings and gold leaf.
After this unique and special experience, you'll be brought to lunch in one of the city's local restaurants.
In the afternoon, a short trip to the north of the city of Quito will lead you to the planet's Latitude 0´0´0´´and the Itiñan Museum known as The trek of Sun. Mixed with culture, traditions and physic laws, this is the place where you can stand with one foot on the northern hemisphere and the other one on the southern hemisphere…truly a unique experience.
Meet your driver for a train transfer in Quito.
Get ready for 4 days of adventure onboard a new way of traveling through Ecuador - by train! You will be taken on an exceptional trip across different ages and periods of Ecuadorian history onboard a train fitted out with four different coaches, each one with its own style reflecting Ecuadorian history and culture. Upon your arrival, a professional crew will await you with the warmest welcome and they will join you throughout the journey, offering unmatched service throughout.
Depart from the Chimbacalle train station in Quito this morning and take in the changing scenerary on the way to El Boliche located in the surroundings of Cotopaxi National Park. The train ride should take approximately 3 hours.
Upon your arrival at El Boliche train station, you'll be transferred to an awaiting coach which will take you to explore Cotopaxi National Park. Incredible landscapes will dominate your visit while hiking near Limpiopungo glacial lake. Cotopaxi is an important shelter for a variety of Andean fauna as caracaras, Andean gulls, Andean dear, wolves, the unique bear of South America, the spectacle bear and one of the last places to see occasionally the magnificent Andean Condor. Moorlands are also a highlight of the park as well as the impressive snow-capped Cotopaxi volcano rising almost 6.000 meters above sea level.
Continue to San Agustin del Callo Hacienda for a delicious typical lunch. The hacienda was built on top of Inca ruins which now form part of the hacienda's construction. These ruins have the same construction style as the ruins found in Cuzco and Machu Picchu.
Fully sated, at Lasso Train station the local community will display an impressive exhibition of syncretism with local dancers playing a typical ballet before making your way towards your home for tonight.
Meals throughout the train journey will be set menus and will include three courses and one soft drink. Alcohol is not included.
Overnight and enjoy dinner at La Cienega Hacienda this evening. This hacienda once lodged important scientists as Alexander Von Humboldt and the members of the French Geodesic Mission while they attempted to measure the exact circumference of Earth for the first time in modern history. The hacienda also lodged the most important South American hero, the liberator Simon Bolivar who led four countries to become independent from Spain.
The room interiors are rustic and quite simple in style, in keeping with the historical manor house. Room facilities include an en-suite bathroom (with either a shower or bathtub) and phone and some rooms have fireplaces.
After breakfast at the Hacienda this morning, you'll take a coach to Latacunga train station (approx. 20 mins).
Once in Latacunga, board the train to continue your journey to the south. On the way you will get to explore a rose plantation to learn more about the world renowned Ecuadorian roses and how this flower is grown.
Next, continue on board the train to Ambato city.
Lunch will be served at Roka Plaza hotel, an ancient colonial house.
If weather conditions permits, you should be able to get an impressive view of Tungurahua volcano, which is still active and occasionally offers nature´s most impressive scenery, an eruption.
After lunch, continue on board the train to Urbina station, the highest train station in the country, located at 11,840 feet above sea level. Meet the last ice-trader and gain some insight into what tis entails as he recounts his daily trip to the slopes of Chimborazo Volcano to dig ice from the glacier. If weather permits, enjoy a breath taking view of Chimborazo volcano.
After meeting with the Ice trader, you'll be transferred to Abraspungo Inn by coach for dinner and your overnight stay.
The rustic Abraspungo Inn is located at 2,754 metres above sea level and is surrounded by the magnificence of the Ecuadorian Andes, in the centre of the country. It is named after a glacial valley which is situated between the Chimborazo Volcano and Carihuairazo.
Hacienda Abraspungo, with its comfortable, and charming rooms offers a personalized service in the ideal spot to enjoy the peace and beauty of the Andes.
The architectural style found here offers the best of traditional colonial design often used in the ancestral mansions and haciendas of Ecuador.
Please note that there are limited accommodation options in this area, and that although charming rooms are quite basic and rustic.
Depart early this morning for Riobamba train station (approx. 30 mins). The city enjoyed acclaim for once being Ecuador´s capital before it was usurped by Quito.
Depart on board the train passing through fascinating Andean landscapes to the Colta community. Enjoy a short stop at Balbanera church. Almost 500 years ago, the location where the actual church is located was the first landmark Christianity made upon arrival to these lands.
Back on the train, you'll continue on to Guamote where its impressive indigenous market awaits discovery. This market is one of the last authentic markets in the Andes where traders still exchange products as they did four thousand years ago.
Lunch will be served at the Guamote train station today.
This afternoon, depart by train to Alausi train station passing various impressive geological formations en route as the train passes from the northern part of the Andes to the central area which is geographically older. Once in Alausi, the train will descend to the emblematic Devil´s Nose where it will perform a zigzag maneuver in order to descend 535 meters of altitude over 12 kilometers.Stretch your legs on a short stop at a viewpoint to appreciate this major engineering achievement that led engineers to call this train navigation as the most difficult in the world.
Continue by train to Huigra train station - a small village located between the Andes and the coast lands.
Relax over dinner and overnight in Hosteria La Eterna Primavera lodge this evening. The Hosteria is located a mere 500 metres from the train station and 200 metres from the Panama waterfall. It includes an outdoor swimming pool and is surrounded by gardens complete with hammocks for relaxing. The on site restaurant offers regional and international cuisine and there is complimentary wi-fi available. The 37 rooms all come equipped with en-suite facilities.
After breakfast, your awaiting coach will take you to nearby Huigra train station. The train route this morning will follow the Chanchan riverbed to Bucay and should take approximately 1.5hours. Enroute to this morning's destination of Bucay you'll witness the impressive transition from the Andes to coast.
Once in Bucay, you'll get to explore a Shuar community, which migrated many years ago from the Amazon basin to the Coast. The community will share their ancestral customs and traditions with you and you'll gain an insight into their way of life.
Continue by coach to San Rafael ranch for what is sure to be an enjoyable lunch.
After lunch, you'll board the train to continue onwards to Durán train station. At Yuguachi train station, a restored steam locomotive will be waiting to take you further down the tracks, passing through typical coast plantations such as bananas, sugarcane and rice.
Upon arrival to Duran, you will be transferred by coach to your hotel in Guayaquil (approx. 30 mins).
Located in the commercial and banking districts of Guayaquil, Ecuador, the Oro Verde is a pleasant hotel to stay at when getting to know the largest city in the country. The hotel offers beautiful rooms, each promising a fulfilling sleep on comfortable bedding. The hotel offers a number of restaurants to choose from, serving everything from sandwiches to French haute cuisine. Staff is always friendly and willing to suggest favored restaurants in the area, as well. Catch up with friends and the world with wireless internet in the lobby and bar. For those who prefer working out, check out the hotel's gym.
Enjoy a private transfer from your hotel in Guayaquil to the airport.
Laura Iyer ,
January 10, 2014
We just returned last night from our Patagonia adventure and wanted to tell you we had the time of our lives! Everything turned out perfectly. Guides were fun, on time and informative. The excursions were great for an active family and, of course, amazing.
I can't tell you what was our favorite. The boys enjoyed exploring the mountains in El Chalten (they called it Mountain running) while Mohan and I relaxed in the beautiful hotel. I thought after the glacier trek it can't get any better - but it kept surprising me and amazing me. My personal favorite was the horseback riding. I thought afterwards after everything we have seen the bike tour would have to be a let down - NOPE - it also was so exciting and our guide was a hoot! We had great weather for each activity (I know there is a bit of luck involved with that one).
Meals were amazing and after so many active excursions no guilt in pigging out.
I am so happy we took a little risk and went out of the way with our vacation this year. We will have this with us for a life time.
Thank you again,
Laura, Mohan, Ryan, and Nathan
Catherine Dudley ,
January 10, 2014
Happy New Year!
GREAT trip! The brochure you sent to us the week before we set off was marvelous -- the pages are marked and worn with us referring to it so often! We were very pleased with every aspect that you set up for us including the airport pick-up and drop off and the tour of Quito and environs on Friday. Our guide spoke excellent English, the driver was courteous and we felt safe and well-informed throughout the day. The transfer to the Eclipse team was super easy and the flight to Guayaquil and trip to the boat went off without a hitch.
We're still going through the 500+ photos that I took and the 1700+ photos that my son took, but I promise to send a few to you in the next week or so. Galapagos was a fabulous trip and the Eclipse was a terrific way to navigate the islands. Gave them a 10 on their feedback form and would recommend Eclipse very highly.
Mark Dornfeld ,
November 11, 2013
"My wife and I had a wonderful trip, we really enjoyed ourselves. All the accommodations that you booked for us were exceptional and our drivers and guides were lovely. We had great weather the whole trip and only lost one activity due to high winds. As you know this is a beautiful part of the world so my camera was snapping all the time. We would definitely use your services in the future for this type of travel. Thanks for all you help and expertise........be well.....m.d."
Jack Gregory ,
November 11, 2013
I wanted to give you a little feedback on our recent trip to Peru.
In a word – EXCELLENT – especially the high quality people you work with in Peru. We have taken tours all over the world, S. Africa, France, England, Vietnam, China to name just a few, and the service we received in Peru was far beyond and of the other experiences we have had. The attention to detail was very much appreciated, picking us up at the airport, taking us back to the airport and complete, hassle free, handling of all our details truly made this a stress free experience.
Special thanks to:
-The entire reservation system and the people I came in contact with that process...every detail accounted for
-The people that looked after us in Lima
-Andre, the young man in Cusco who faithfully phoned every night just to make sure the day went well, my wife was well and that we knew what we had to do the next day.
-The Sumaq hotel in Aquas Calientes...you can tell the level of service by the details...I watched a waitress hold a high stool for a lady to prevent her from tipping backwards as she got on the stool, the lady didn’t even know the waitress did it....that’s client care.
-Especially Mariela, the tour guide in Cusco...highly knowledgeable, passionate, personable and shows great care for the people she guides.
Hainsworth Sherry ,
November 05, 2013
Clients were very impressed. Guides were amazing and accommodation was beyond expectations. They will definitely travel with you again and they have highly recommended Kensington Tours.
Hope I can work with you again the in the near future.
Scott Parks ,
November 05, 2013
Sandy and I are back from Peru and had a wonderful time. Kensington seems to have the best contacts in each country and Peru was no exception. I wanted to take the time to give you some specific feedback on each segment of out trip.
The “Hotel B” in Lima is fantastic. It’s an old house that has been turned into a small Hotel. The people are great and the location in Barranco is just what we like.
The Inkaterra Amazonica is probably the best place place to stay in the Amazon region. The rooms give a real feel of the sounds of the rain forest.
The hotels in both Cusco and Aquas Calientes were perfect with great locations. We added an additional day in Aquas Calientes which gave us three days in Machu Picchu. For us, this was well worth it and gave us the time we wanted to see all aspects of Machu Picchu. Pictures did not do justice to the site, although we got some great pictures.
The trip to see the Nasca Lines was, also, worth the time. Our guide added some side trips including lunch at a local winery which we really enjoyed. The Hotel Paracas was an unexpectedly high quality resort and a great way to end our trip.
Thanks for your help we look forward to next year
June Murray ,
August 20, 2013
"Buenas Noches Brandi-
I filled out the survey but I wanted to send you a note to say thank you. Our trip was the stuff lifelong memories are made of and I mean every part of it. From our time spent in Quito, to the Safari Camp and Isla Isabela. I cannot say enough about the professionalism of the staff at our accommodations and the expertise of all our guides (most especially Tanya Helmig at the Safari Camp). We hope to go back for an extended stay.
I have attached 2 photos for you of Bart and I. I think the joy is clearly evident- thank you for making it possible.
Barbara Mackey ,
July 22, 2013
"We just completed a family trip to Costa Rica, with three families traveling from different locations. All the coordination efforts were made easily and efficiently by our Kensington representative, Brandi Merchant, who was wonderful; an absolute delight to work with. All the accommodations were first class and the guides knowledgeable and very punctual. We will be using Kensington again!
Cindy Thoene ,
July 22, 2013
What an AMAZING trip!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Seriously…the trip of a lifetime!
We returned late on Thursday and had out of town visitors through the weekend and we are just now unpacking and getting back to non-vacation reality.
I will share my feedback and get pictures sent to you soon.
Thanks for everything….truly a perfect trip!
July 24, 2013
Our trip was wonderful, we had a great time, wish we could have spent more time. In fact, I now know I would have spent more time in Cuzco and the Machu Picchu area.
Machu Picchu was fabulous.
Margot, our guide, and the driver, were absolutely wonderful, low key, very personable, very accommodating, really good. We didn't end up with enough time on the last morning in Cusco to finish the tour, but got a feel- of Sacsayhuman, Qengo, Koricancha. We saw Ollayantatambo, and went to Moray and Maras, and Wayra ranch which was also outstanding, on the next day, but did not do Pisac and the market. We got tired and ran out of time so cut a couple things. Louis the coordinator was good as well.
Would love to go back and learn more some time.
The coordinator in Lima was extremely nice too, and very helpful.
In fact, we loved the food, the people and everything. The Libertador Palacio , the Tambo del Inka and the Sanctuary were indeed outstanding hotels. LAN was all on time, great service.
Thank you again for all your help.
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