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.
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.
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.
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"
Laura Iyer ,
January 10, 2014
"We just returned last night from our Patagonia adventure and 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 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! 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.
Catherine Dudley ,
January 10, 2014
"GREAT trip! We were very pleased with every aspect that Brandi set up for us including the tour of Quito and environs. Our guide spoke excellent English, the driver was courteous and we felt safe and well-informed throughout the day. We're still going through the 500+ photos that I took and the 1700+ photos that my son took. Galapagos was a fabulous trip and the Eclipse was a terrific way to navigate the islands.
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.
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