TRIPS 4 Days | 3 Nights
The Cruise Train is a magnificent trip, taking you on a tour of Ecuadorian history and culture, from the Andean highlands to the Coastal plains. The four-coach train has been designed to provide comfort and ease to your spectacular journey. Our cordial crew will be attentive to your every need, guiding you along the way with a service par excellence. Accommodation is provided in carefully selected historic residences located along the route. During our daily excursions you will be able to enjoy breathtaking scenery, the whisper of volcanoes, snowcapped peaks, the cheerful and colorful coastal mosaic, the brilliance of the Equatorial sun and the warmth of the Ecuadorian people.
In 2013, the Cruise Train was recognized as the best tourism product outside Europe. It also took first place in the Lonely Planet’s Train Journeys as well as fourth place among the world’s unforgettable train trips. The Independent on Sunday, The Week, Travel Telegraph, The Guardian, Financial Times, My Destination, The Sunday Times and Odyssey newspapers and websites recommend this voyage as the best option for exploring Ecuador.
Map Cruise Train
Day 1 - Tuesday: Chimbacalle - Cotopaxi - Lasso
The tour begins at 08:00, leaving Chimbacalle station aboard a traditional excursion train (coach).
We travel towards Cotopaxi station close to the Cotopaxi National Park, where we will arrive on a bus. Taking a walk around Limpiopungo, a glacial lake located at in the folds of the volcano, we are surrounded by typical bleak but spectacular Andean landscapes.
The National Park is home to Andean flora and fauna: Andean gulls, caracaras, white-tailed deer, the moor wolf and the Andean condor. The paramo is the highlight of the day, together with the splendid Cotopaxi volcano, an almost perfect cone rising to 5,897 meters.
Our journey continues to the San Agustin de Callo hacienda where lunch is a specialty of the new Ecuadorian cuisine. Lunch is accompanied by a performance by the local community’s dancers. The ruins of this estate are a fine example of Inca architecture. Before the colonial period the building was an Inca palace.
After exploring the Hacienda, we return to Cotopaxi station to take the Cruise Train to Lasso from where we take a bus to the hotel.
Overnight stay La Ciénega, Hato Verde or Rumipamba de las Rosas (Depending on availability). (-/A/D)
Photo Gallery Andes
Day 2 - Wednesday: Lasso - Latacunga - Cunchibamba - Ambato - Cevallos - Urbina - Riobamba
After breakfast, we depart for Latacunga station to board the Cruise Train and continue our journey south.
The day’s itinerary includes a visit to a flower plantation to learn more about Ecuador’s world-renowned roses.
The train then takes us to Ambato where we enjoy lunch at the Roka Plaza hotel, a converted heritage-style house. If weather conditions permit, you may witnesses – at a safe distance – a volcanic eruption of the majestic Tungurahua.
After lunch, the train travels on towards Urbina station, located at 3,609 meters above sea level. Here you will meet a very special person, Baltazar Ushca, the last ice-collector of the Chimborazo volcano.
Weather permitting, Chimborazo may provide a spectacular sight from the station.
After this visit, the train takes us to Riobamba station from where a bus transfers us to our hotel and dinner, either at Abraspungo or La Andaluza hotel(Depending on availability). (D/A/C)
Photo Gallery Andes
Day 3 - Thursday: Riobamba - Colta - Guamote - Alausí - Sibambe - Bucay
In the morning, we depart by bus to Riobamba station. The town is surrounded by five volcanoes and is known as the "Sultan of the Andes". From there, we continue by train, this time driven by a steam locomotive through the Andean landscapes to Colta Station.
A stop provides time to visit the church of Balbanera whose walls, dating back almost 500 years, provide the first evidence of the arrival of Christianity in Ecuador.
Back on the train, we travel on to Guamote where the Indian market is waiting to be explored. Lunch is taken on board the train.
In the afternoon, the train continues its journey to the station of Alausi, following curious geological formations before beginning the descent down the emblematic “Devil's Nose”. Zig-zagging its way down the mountainside, the trains drops 200 meters in just 3 kilometers. A short break at a viewpoint enables us to appreciate the magnitude of this engineering feat that has earned the Ecuadorian rail system the “world's most difficult" tag.
We continue by train to Bucay, the gateway to the coastal plains. Dinner and accommodation are provided in the D'Franco lodge in this pleasant and temperate area. (D/A/C)
Photo Gallery Andes
Day 4 - Friday: Bucay - Yaguachi - Durán
After breakfast, we depart by train from Bucay station enroute for San Rafael station.
Our journey then continues by bus to the Shuar community that migrated to the Pacific Coast from the Amazon basin more than 70 years ago. The Shuar share their traditions with us with a demonstration of dances, crafts and cuisine.
We take a bus to the San Rafael hacienda where we have lunch and visit a cocoa plantation to learn about the history of this delicious grain.
After this visit, we take the train to our final destination, Duran station, with a short stop at Yaguachi station to switch from a diesel electric locomotive a steam-driven engine.
The train weaves its way through plantations of banana, pineapple, mango, sugar cane as well as rice paddies, marking its trail with clouds of billowing steam.
The trip ends upon arrival at Duran station. Transport is provided to take you to Guayaquil’s main hotels (Hilton Colón, Oro Verde, Hampton Inn, Wyndham, Gran Hotel Guayaquil and Sonesta. (D/A/-)