Tren Crucero Ecuador, South America
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Ecuador is a fascinating country. Crossing the Andes on Tren Crucero is a memorable adventure, immersed in the High Andean way of life and traversing the valley of volcanoes; an amazing experience, the highlight of a South American tour.
About Tren Crucero
Ride across Ecuador´s Andes to experience the following: moorlands through to cloud forests, tropical coastal landscapes, crossing spectacular terrain, traversing mountains and then travelling the Avenue of Volcanoes of more than 10 volcanoes before descending to sea level. Wonder at the spectacular feat of engineering of the zigzag (Devil's Nose) that hugs the side of the mountain, whilst affording one amazing views. Along the route, there are opportunities to meet Andean and coastal indigenous communities whose welcome is memorable. Enjoy local museums and authentic experiences.
Tren Crucero's ethos is to support local people by bringing tourism to them. The hotels are locally owned.
Tren Crucero took 1st place in the Lonely Planet’s Train Journeys as well as 4th place among the world’s unforgettable train trips. Many newspapers and websites recommend this voyage as the best option for exploring Ecuador.
Here is an illustrated 8-page booklet about Tren Crucero with details of the restaurants, hotels, attractions and heritage sites visited en route, Guayaquil to Quito.
Here are frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Tren Crucero.
Preview - The Inca Road Three Luxury Trains
The Inca Road, 12 - 31 May 2020
The Inca Road is currently being planned by Golden Eagle Trains - a new tour to South America departing Buenos Aires, Argentina.
You would be travelling on some of the world's most scenic railways and luxury trains, including Belmond Hiram Bingham and Belmond Andean Explorer in Peru and Ecuador's Tren Crucero.
Buenos Aires • Montevideo • Uyuni • La Paz •Lake Titicaca • Puno • Cusco • Machu Picchu •Lima • Guayaquil • Riobamba • Quito • Galapagos Islands extension
The itinerary is expected to be released late March 2019.
Please contact the Club to register your interest. Club Member discount applies; join free by subscribing to our newsletter.
Tren Crucero Accommodation
The four air-conditioned First Class carriages (two Colonial- and Republican-style passenger cars) each have a different Ecuadorian style and carry a total of 50 passengers. They are hauled by a mixture of steam and diesel locomotives.
Two carriages with tables and chairs, like a dining car. Bar Car, serving light snacks and drinks, with seating and a gift shop selling indigenous gifts. Observation car, with sofas and an open viewing platform.
Hotels are of first class Ecuadorian style. Here is information about the Tren Crucero Hotels (as at 15.8.17).
Gold Class Tren Crucero
Introducing - Gold Class Tren Crucero. Unique hotels, haciendas and iconic buildings located in historical properties enhance the journey through the history of Ecuador.
Gold Class Tren Crucero hotels
Tren Crucero Experiential Travel
Tren Crucero in Ecuador is proud of its commitment to the communities through which it travels.
The Club highlights Tren Crucero Experiential Travel - or immersion travel - because re-opening the railway line through the Ecuadorian Andes has re-invigorated villages along the route. Tren Crucero passengers have an unique access to Andean indigenous peoples and their cultures, arts and crafts.
All catering is traditional. All meals are eaten in local restaurants or in the hotels where one is staying the night. There is a Bar Car on the train from where one can purchase hot and cold drinks and local tapas.
Tren Crucero Itineraries
** Last year, Ecuador had the worse rainy season in the last 30 years; therefore 80 Km of the 450 km of the railway system will be under preventive maintenance. The exact portion of the railway in maintenance is from Naranjito to Pistishi (80 Km). The updated itineraries are shown below. Day 3 on the Train of Wonders and Day 2 on Train to the Clouds for Tren Crucero Programs will be modified. Fully equipped buses will provide transportation service on those extensions of the railway that are under maintenance.
Train to the Clouds - Guayaquil to Quito
4 days/4 nights (last night in Quito is complimentary).
Check-in 07:00. Duran Station. Departure 08:30hrs. Confirmed times on tickets.
Day 1-Saturday. Durán - Yaguachi - Naranjito – Alausi. Depart on board the Tren Crucero. A restored steam locomotive pulls the train through coastal plantations of bananas, sugar cane, coffee and rice, before switching engines in Yaguachi, continuing to Naranjito. There the bus will take us along a road that climbs to the Andes on a pleasant 4 hour drive. During this ride there are amazing changes in landscape, from the peaceful green plains of the coast to the colossal Andean mountains that cast their shadows on the road. Our first day ends in the comfort of the hotel in Alausi, a small town nestled in the sharp mountains, allowing one to wander the timeless streets. Accommodation, L/D.
Day 2–Sunday. Alausí – Devil´s Nose – Riobamba. The second day begins with the impressive trip aboard a twentieth century train that descends through the fearsome pass of La Nariz del Diablo (the Devil’s Nose); an intricate switch-back that allows the train to descend 511 meters in just 12 kilometers of railway. The Sibambe station below, is full of people and different activities from the surroundings, a small community depending on the touristic activity from the train. Returning to Alausí, visit the lively, colourful local market. Back on the train lunch is served as we travel to Colta. There we can visit the first church in the country known as the Balvanera before travelling to Riobamba. Take the time to stroll the cobbled streets of this enchanting city, steeped in history. Accommodation, B,L,D.
Day 3–Monday. Riobamba – La Moya – Urbina – Latacunga. In the morning, the inhabitants of the community of La Moya demonstrate life in the Andes, with the chance to see one of the best examples of community organisation working in ways their ancestors have taught the different generations. The tour continues towards Urbina station, located just over 3,600 meters above sea level, allowing us to see the “paramo” ecosystems of the skirts of Chimborazo. Baltazar Ushca, the last ice merchant of Chimborazo, relates his dedication to ice gathering from the glaciers. The train travels through the valley near Cotopaxi but on the way, a group of devils will take the train by surprise when the Diablada de Pillaro (devils from Pillaro) is celebrated on board, full of colour, music and joy that reminds us of the spirit of the Andean communities. The final stop of the day will be the Latacunga station for transfers to the hotels. Accommodation, B,L,D.
Day 4–Tuesday. Latacunga – Cotopaxi National Park – Quito. We travel to the Cotopaxi National Park, where we take a moderate walk around the Limpiopungo lagoon. Natural photography will be part of this morning. Boarding the train, we continue near the slopes of Cotopaxi towards our next stop, a typical Andean hacienda where we will be part of the daily activities of it and its dwellers. Upon our arrival we are welcomed by Andean cowboys, the “Chagras”, who demonstrate their skills as riders and teach us a little of their culture and traditions. Our last day of expedition ends at the Eloy Alfaro station with a tour of this property. The capital of Ecuador, the beautiful city of Quito, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, will welcome us at night. Accommodation, B,L.
Day 1: Alausí: El Molino
Day 2: Riobamba: Andaluza / Andaluza Suite
Day 3: Lasso: Ciénega
Day 4: Quito: Swissotel/Plaza Grande
***Hotels are subject to change and will be confirmed upon reservation. Tren Ecuador reserves the
right to provide hotels of the same category.
Dates and Prices 2019
2019: June 1,15. July 6. September 7,21. October 5. November 2,16. December 14.
2019: USD Price per person Luxury
$1,735, two sharing a room.
$2,082, single room
2019: USD Price per person Gold Class
$ 2,322, two sharing a room.
$2,722, single room
Train of Wonders - Quito to Guayaquil
4 days/4 nights (last night in Guayaquil is complimentary).
Check-in 07:00 at Chimbacalle station. Departure 08:00hrs. Confirmed times on tickets.
Day 1- Tuesday. Quito – Cotopaxi National Park – Lasso – Latacunga. Meet at the historic 1908 Chimbacalle station, south of Quito. From there the trains travels across the impressive "Avenue of the Volcanoes". If the weather permits, you can spot up to twenty volcanoes from the train – most extinct or dormant for centuries. Here, the Andes splits into two ranges that run in parallel. The fertile valley in-between these stone, volcanic walls hosts a treasure trove of biodiversity and a hive of agricultural activity. We arrive at the second highest station of the Ecuadorian railway system and disembark to take a tour of a farm of Roses, learning about some of the best roses in the world. After lunch we will go up to the Cotopaxi National Park, taking a moderate altitude walk at 12,631 feet around the Limpiopungo lagoon, where we find different varieties of plants and birds adapted to this altitude environment. Natural photography will be part of this afternoon before arriving at the historical hacienda. Accommodation, L/D.
Day 2–Wednesday. Latacunga – Urbina – Riobamba. In the morning we depart to cross the inter-Andean valley. Beware, the devils will take over the train! A picturesque and ancestral tradition, the “Diablada Pillareña” parade will add a touch of joy and music to this beautiful day Arriving at Urbina station, the highest point of our visit at 3609 meters above sea level (11 000 feet), and in the shadow of the Chimborazo Volcano, the closest point on the planet to the sun, we meet Balthazar Ushca who is the last ice-merchant in the Andes. He will tell the story of his ancestral trade. Following this we go to Jatari to see the Community of La Moya where we will learn about the Quichua - Puruha culture and their ancestral work systems. Returning to the train we travel to Riobamba, a unique historical town, where we can walk through the handcraft plaza and the city will be part of the end of the day before the sun sets. Accommodation, B,L,D.
Day 3–Thursday. Riobamba – Devil´s Nose – Alausí. Early in the morning we go to the historic Riobamba station, where a huge steam locomotive known as "The Black Monster" is waiting to take us through colourful quinoa fields, picturesque villages and unique landscapes. Upon arrival in Colta we can visit the first church in Ecuador known as the Balvanera. Once in Guamote, we visit an authentic Andean market, where people from several communities come together to trade a myriad of products. This market has maintained its traditional essence and observe how the barter works among the merchants that meet there coming from many other indigenous communities of the country. A short trip by bus takes us to Alausí, to take a train that to the mythical Nariz del Diablo (the Devi´ls Nose) - an impressive system of switch-backs on a steep mountain that allows the locomotive to descend into the Sibambe valley. Returning to Alausi for the night, one has time to wander this historical town. Accommodation, B,L,D.
Day 4-Friday. Alausi – Naranjito – Yaguachi – Duran. As the sun rises, we take the bus for a four hour mesmerizing trip from the imposing Andes to the peaceful coastal plains. A dramatic change in weather and vegetation will mark the transition between these regions. Arriving at a traditional hacienda on the Coast of Ecuador, we take a tour inside one of the plantations and learn about the sowing and harvesting of Ecuadorian cacao, which is considered the best cocoa bean in the world. Lunch is served at the hacienda before we travel to Naranjito where we board the train to Yaguachi, the first station built for the Ecuadorian railway system. There, a Baldwin steam locomotive awaits us to lead the train to its final destination on this trip, a journey full of wonderful landscapes and cultural experiences. Arrival to Duran before sunset. Accommodation, B,L.
Day 1: Lasso: Ciénega
Day 2: Riobamba: Abraspungo/Abraspungo Suite
Day 3: Alausí: El Molino
Day 4: Guayaquil: Oro Verde/Hotel del Parque
***Hotels are subject to change and will be confirmed upon reservation. Tren Ecuador reserves the right to provide hotels of the same category
Dates and Prices 2019
2019: May 28. June 11. July 2. August 20. September 17. October 1,29. November 12. December 10.
2019: USD Price per person Luxury
$1,735, two sharing a room.
$2,082, single room
2019: USD Price per person Gold Class
$2,322, two sharing a room.
$2,722, single room
Included: excursions, hotel accommodation with full board. Spanish/English speaking guide (Italian, French, German, Portuguese and Japanese speaking guides are also available and are subject to availability and extra cost.
Excluded: alcoholic drinks (wine, beer and whisky are available from the train´s bar), meals or visits not detailed, personal expenses, tips or shuttles/transfers to non-specified hotels. We strongly suggest travel insurance.
Transfers: in Guayaquil and Quito there are free transfers to the offered hotels.
Insurance: health Insurance is obligatory upon entry into Ecuador.
Altitude and climate: eastbound (Guayaquil to Quito) allows for a gradual altitude acclimatisation. Crossing the Andes, temperature and weather might abruptly change. Early morning may be cold whilst during the day temperatures will rise. In the valleys temperatures might suddenly increase at noon. During the afternoon, temperatures will start to drop until dusk. Nights in the Andes are very cold; expect rain during the day; sun radiation is very intense. The Coast Temperature is warm most of the time, especially if there are higher levels of humidity. Travelling towards the coast, temperatures will increase. Nights are cooler. You might expect heavy rains during the day and night. Sun radiation is intense. Temperature varies from 97ºF in the coast to 40ºF in the paramos and rises again to 77ºF in the inter-Andean valleys. The maximum altitude in this journey is 11,841 feet above sea level.
Accommodation: Tren Ecuador has selected the best available properties in the areas visited in the itinerary. 2017 - The last night in Guayaquil or Quito is complimentary.
Medical: oxygen tanks are onboard, as well as first aid kits. Up to 29 days before the trip, it is the passenger's responsibility to inform Ferrocarriles del Ecuador of any ailments, diseases, medical requirements to ensure greater care possible and be able, if necessary, to provide the respective first aid. It is not the responsibility of Ferrocarriles del Ecuador Empresa Pública, to supply medical assistance, medicines, or other arising for this omission
Security: lockers are provided on the train
Dress code: smart/casual, with comfortable shoes for excursions plus hats, sun protection, headache tablets (altitude). Layering of clothes is recommended, to account for the variations in temperature. Dress in layers, appropriate walking shoes, use sunscreen (at least SPF 70), sunglasses, hat and insect repellent.
Luggage allowance: 2 pieces of luggage and 1 carry on item.
Technology: no internet on board, but there are plugs to plug in cameras or phones. Internet in the mentioned hotels is available in the lobby but not in the rooms.
Money: US Dollars recommended as many of the communities do not accept credit cards.
Gratuities: this is the choice of the passenger. Ecuadorian culture is not used to tips.
Smoking: the train is non-smoking.
Unforeseen events/changes: itineraries, routes and times may change at any time for reasons outside the control of the train company. Every effort will be made by train staff to minimise any impact; the Luxury Train Club cannot accept any responsibility for any changes. The Club aims to keep itineraries as up to date as possible.
Prices: subject to change due to economic conditions.
Child Fares: apply up to and including 12 years of age, only where the child shares rooms with 2 adults as a triple.
Booking & Reservations
All prices are at publicly-quoted rates. Club-discounted prices are given when we quote for your journey.
We will be happy to answer any questions and make the booking for you.
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