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 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.
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.
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.
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).
Enjoy a private transfer from your hotel in Guayaquil to the airport.
Welcome to Quito Ecuador and the JW Marriott Hotel Quito, where you will be greeted by an awe-inspiring atrium entrance. This hotel in Quito is one of the top-ranked Ecuador hotels according to Tripadvisor and Frommers. The guest rooms feature magnificent views of the mountains and volcanoes surrounding the city, including the famous snow-capped Cotopaxi Volcano. The JW Marriott is located next to the popular La Mariscal neighborhood, host to many Quito restaurants and bars. The hotel is close to the famous old city which is a Cultural World Heritage Site, and is just two hours to Otavalo, the largest craft market in South America. What sets the hotel apart is the resort type heated pool, the large fitness facility, and relaxing treatments available in the spa. Many vacation travelers and incentive groups stay at this hotel in Quito before or after their cruises to the Galapagos Islands.
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.
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.
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.
Located in the commercial and banking districts of Guayaquil, Ecuador, the Oro Verde Hotel is a pleasant hotel to stay at when getting to know the largest city in the country. The hotel offers beautiful renovated rooms, featuring the latest in amenities and technology. The Oro Verde Hotel offers a number of restaurants to choose from, serving everything from sandwiches to French haute cuisine. 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.
December 12, 2014
"We are back. We did have a wonderful time with our daughter and I certainly had no reason at all for being at all nervous that things would not go smoothly. Everyone associated with our time in Iguazu Falls was helpful, more than pleasant and always on time. I thought originally that we could manage such a trip on our own. But when we got there and saw the hassles we would have run into with the visas, border crossings, transportation and such, I realized that going the way we did was the wise choice. Absolutely we would travel with you again. And if anyone asks about the best way to see that part of the country, I would not hesitate to recommend KT. "
Janet Huebert ,
December 12, 2014
"Well, Cindy, we’ve been home for a week but I can’t stop replaying every day of our wonderful holiday in my head! It was all that I had hoped for and MORE! We enjoyed all of the locations we visited – the beauty of the landscapes, the sight of wildlife, the rich culture & interesting history of Argentina & the outgoing, positive attitude of its people. Our guides were terrific – so friendly & knowledgeable & helpful & enthusiastic! We had no delays or difficulties & our accommodations were outstanding. Have I mentioned that it was a FABULOUS holiday??!!! My thanks to you for coordinating, booking, confirming and generally taking care of our requests in planning our adventure. "
Ann Schiller ,
December 12, 2014
"Fabulous trip to Machu Picchu, Cusco and Lima. Trip of a lifetime with a sensational group of guides, drivers, and transfer staff! Loved the Sanctuary Lodge! A must! Thank you, Nella Huaringa, for planning this amazing journey! Thanks for making sure we didn't miss a thing on our itinerary even when we lost a travel day, due to a broken airplane that turned back midair, on our way to Lima. We appreciate your service above and beyond. "
December 12, 2014
"Wow! All my life, I have planned and organized our trips, requiring considerable research and contact time--not to mention, most significantly, all the stress involved at each destination to make sure all connections are made. This time, I put it in the hands of some extremely capable people--and sat back and relaxed. And relax I did! We were booked into full-service, quality accommodations at all times; our transport and tour guidance were all on an individual, private basis, except where public transportation was in order; and--most valuable to us--we were met and assisted through all travel/hotel connections. We truly felt pampered. At one point, in fact, we had a problem with an immigration paper that we had lost, and a Kensington representative personally accompanied us through the whole process of replacing it--even though we were officially "on our own" that day. That's what makes the difference--the responsibility and accountability toward clients. Kudos to Kensington and to our representative, Brandi Merchant. We are already planning more travel and see no reason to look any further than to an agency that has earned our trust. "
December 12, 2014
"We had a wonderful time on our trip. The accommodations were all great. The guides and drivers were all very pleasant and knowledgeable. We were very happy with our choice of destinations and with the way the trip was organized. It was a lot of flying in two weeks but well worth it. Erika was able to accommodate a short-notice addition (Nazca Lines) to our trip which we appreciated. Thank you Erika for your help. Great trip!!"
Christina Adams ,
April 21, 2014
"I know it's silly to give all 10's, obviously every trip has it's ups and downs, but if it hadn't been for our Kensington Tours planning, guides and drivers we would have been lost! It was wonderful to be out in a strange new environment yet know we had a safety net and a friendly face. The places we visited were awesome but I think we'll remember most the people that we met. Thank you and I'll send photos soon! Sincerely, Christina Adams"
Frank Manna ,
April 21, 2014
"Our guided transfers were exceptionally accommodating even though our flights were considerably delayed. The Annavillanas Jungle Lodge was spectacular for location, accommodations and food. The Rio Carnival experience was unique and unforgettable and our seats were wonderful. Loved the location of our hotel in Rio.......right on the street of Copacabana Beach.......fantastic. "
Vivian Jennings ,
April 21, 2014
"Very pleased with organization. Not having to worry about connections or arrangements is wonderful. Great selection with hotels, Coral 1 and Napo Wildlife. Kensington puts all the details together to ensure a wonderful trip. Highly recommend the Galapagos and Amazon. "
Daniel More ,
April 21, 2014
"All was great. Guides were knowledgeable, personable, friendly... that's what really made the trip."
Marlin Barad ,
April 21, 2014
"Sofia, thank you for putting together a great trip. We certainly enjoyed ourselves very much. The planning and care was excellent. We hope we can do another trip with you all soon. Marlin Barad"
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