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Tren Crucero Ecuador, South America

Tren Crucero carriage 
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Route map of Tren Crucero, Ecaudor
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Tren Crucero from Luxury Train Club

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Members of the Club (free to join) benefit from:

- Discount off the published prices of any journey;

- 2019 dates at 2018 prices - at present.

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.

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 Luxury Train Club

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.

Tren Crucero Experiential Travel Luxury Train Club

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.

Catering

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.


Tren Crucero Map Luxury Train Club

Train to the Clouds - Guayaquil to Quito

4 days/4 nights (last night in Quito is complimentary).

Check-in 07:30. Duran Station. Departure 08:00hrs

Day 1. Duran - Yaguachi - Naranjito - Bucay. Our journey to the Andes begins in Duran train station where we join the train pulled by a carefully restored steam locomotive. The roaring engine, steam whistles and steel wheels over the railways will take us back in time to the early XIX century and the adventurous experience that is the Tren Crucero.

Our first stop is Yaguachi, switching engines to continue our trip across vast plantations of sugar cane, banana, rice and pineapple until we reach the Naranjito station. A short bus transfer will take us to a local hacienda were we learn about the cocoa bean and the chocolate making process. Ecuadorian cocoa beans are considered to be the best of the world and there is a tasting while we visit the hacienda.

In the afternoon a “montubio” show welcomes us before we taste the delicious food of the coast of Ecuador. Then a bus transfer takes us to Bucay were we walk around the tropical forest; home of countless plants, birds and orchids, all with exuberant colours.

Later check-in at the hotel and dinner (L,D)

Day 2. Bucay - Devil's Nose - Riobamba. The next day continues by bus when we climb 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 destination is the town of Alausi were we embark on a thrilling adventure on board the famous Devil´s Nose train.

Upon arrival at Alausi Train station we join a restored XX century convoy to begin our trip to the Devil´s Nose pass, a 450-meter descent in barely 12 kilometres on a zig-zagging railway that allows the locomotive to pull the carriages forwards and backwards in order to reach its destination, Sibambe train station. At Sibambe a colourful Andean community ballet will welcome us. Many are the stories that tell us why this pass was baptized La Nariz del Diablo or The Devil´s Nose, from the shape of the mountain that awakens our imagination to the number of human lives that it took to overcome this nearly impossible obstacle.

After our thrilling adventure of The Devil´s Nose, we take the bus to Guamote. Lunch is served on board as we travel north to Colta where an impressive locomotive known as “The Black Monster” is waiting. This huge steam engine was carefully overhauled and is strong enough to pull carriages over the railways of the Andes where the altitude and lack of oxygen makes this a titanic task. Once we arrive to Riobamba a bus transfer will take us to our hotel for a delicious meal and the night. (B,L,D)

Day 3. Riobamba - Urbina - Quito. We depart for Urbina train station, the highest point in our itinerary at 3,600 metres above sea level. There, on the eastern flanks of the Chimborazo Volcano, we meet the fascinating last ice merchant, Baltazar Ushca, who tells the tale of his ancestral trade.

We continue north across the Avenue of Volcanoes, a term coined by Alexander Von Humboldt due to the impressive number of volcanoes present in this part of the Andean mountain range. In between the two flanks of the Andes colourful valleys extend for many miles, offering you unique landscapes along the way.

While the train continues north the 'devils' will take over the train. A picturesque and ancestral tradition, the “Diablada Pillareña” parade will add a touch of fun and music to this beautiful day. Under the watchful eyes of the Cotopaxi our train makes its way to of the local haciendas to take part in the daily farm activities. At the hacienda we are greeted by the “chagras”, cowboys of the Andes who will share their culture.

Later, arriving Quito Station, located in the traditional neighbourhood of Chimbacalle, a bus takes us to our hotels for dinner and a peaceful night at this UNESCO Cultural Heritage City. (B,L,D)

Day 4. Quito - Otavala - Ibarra - Quito. Our journey continues in the morning with a 2 hour bus ride north across rose plantations and mountains that seem to be patched up in different colours by the many plantations along the way. Our destination is the valley of Otavalo in the Imbabura Province. Otavalo is home of ancient cultures, skilled craftspeople and the world-renowned Otavalo market.

Arriving at San Roque Train station, we take the panorama train (3 observation cars) on a journey full of hidden wonders, musicians, painters, weavers and the skilful woodcarvers who keep the complicated Quito School of Art style alive. Delve into this amazing world of colour and textures while exploring the northern routes of the Ecuadorian railway. Then we visit Hacienda la Compani; located close to the equatorial line, this XVIII century hacienda is full of interest with its export-class rose plantation and exquisite Andean cuisine. After lunch we will return to Quito. (B,L)

Dates and Prices 2018/2019

2018: November 10. December 1,15.

2019: January 12,26. February 9,23. March 9,23. April 20. June 6,17. July 6. September 7,21. October 5. November 2,16. December 14.

2018/2019: Price per person, sharing a double room

USD $1,735. $2,082 single room

2018/2019: Prices Gold Class Tren Crucero, per person sharing a double room.

USD $ 2,322. $2,722 single room


Train of Wonders - Quito to Guayaquil

4 days/4 nights (last night in Guayaquil is complimentary).

Check-in 06:30. Swissôtel. Departure 07:00hrs

Day 1. Quito - Otavala - Ibarra - Quito. Departing from Quito, we drive north on a 2 hour bus ride across rose plantations and impressive mountains to the valley of Otavalo in the Imbabura Province. Otavalo is home of traditional cultures, skilled craftspeople and the world-renowned Otavalo market.

Later we go to San Roque Train station where we will join the panorama train (3 observation cars) on a journey full of hidden wonders, musicians, painters, weavers and the skillful woodcarvers who keep the renowned Quito School of Art style alive. Delve into this amazing world of colours and textures while we explore the northern routes of the Ecuadorian railway. After our train trip we visit the XVIII century Hacienda la Compania, located close to the equatorial line, with its wonderful rose plantation and exquisite Andean cuisine. Return to Quito for the night.(L,D)

Day 2. Quito - Ambato - Urbina - Riobamba. Join the Tren Crucero at Quito’s Chimbacalle station for the journey south along the Avenue of 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. Our first stop is an Andean hacienda where we are treated to a rodeo demonstration performed by skilled local horseman – known as chagras. There is also a chance to learn about rural life and meet the farms animals, such as fluffy llamas.

Upon arrival into Ambato Train Station 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. In the afternoon, the Trans-Andean train will take us to the inhospitable Urbina train station. During the trip one can observe the change in vegetation and landscapes during the slow climb up to the chilly Andean highlands of Urbina, the highest point in our itinerary at 11,800 feet above sea level. Here, 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.

Later on we drive to our destination, a typical Andean Hacienda in the heart of the Andes, where we spend the night and sample delicious gastronomy. (B,L,D)

Day 3. Riobamba - The Devil's Nose - Bucay. An early morning departure from Urbina, aboard the “Black Monster” steam engine, takes us through the heart of the Central Andes, amid colourful quinoa fields flecked in purples, yellows and reds. This beautiful journey alternates with endemic species of flora and wildlife, indigenous settlements and the remains of ancient cultures. At Colta, the train will make a complex manoeuvre to switch locomotives, leaving behind the “Black Monster” to be pulled by an electric diesel locomotive to continue south. (Colta saw the birth of this charming nation when Spanish conquerors first settled on its shores).

At Guamote market, one of the last truly indigenous markets in the Andes, there is time to wander, admire and barter for goods. Luncheon is taken before boarding a transfer by bus to the mythical Devil’s Nose pass: a vertiginous train ride descent of 450 metres which includes zig zags carved into the mountainside. Upon arrival at Alausi Train station we join a restored XX century convoy to begin our trip to the Devil´s Nose pass, a 450-meter descent in barely 12 kilometres on a zig-zagging railway that allows the locomotive to pull the carriages forwards and backwards in order to reach its destination, Sibambe station. Thus one experiences something unique and wonderful on one of the most difficult train lines in the world.

Returning to Alausi 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. Check-in at the hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 4. Bucay - Naranjito - Yaguachi - Duran. A pleasant one hour bus ride takes us from the Andean slopes to the tropical planes that burst in colours with rice, sugar cane, pineapple, banana and cacao plantations. Arriving at a traditional hacienda, we have a tour around its fields to learn about the farming and harvesting of the Ecuadorian cocoa bean, a bean so exquisite that it is considered to be the best in the world. We enjoy a fine dining experience amid the lush gardens before continuing by bus to Naranjito where our cruise train will be waiting to take us to our next destination, Yaguachi. At Yaguachi train station a restored steam engine then takes the train towards the Pacific Ocean and the end of our trip at Guayaquil’s Duran train station. Transfer to hotel. (B,L,B)

N.B. On Day One part of the journey is in a tourist bus.

Dates and Prices 2018/2019

2018: November 6,27. December 11.

2019: January 8,22. February 5,19. March 5,19. April 16. May 28. June 11. July 2. August 20. September 17. October 1,29. November 12. December 10.

2018/2019: Price per person, sharing a double room

USD $1,735. $2,082 single room

2018/2019: Prices Gold Class Tren Crucero, per person sharing a double room.

USD $ 2,322. $2,722 single room

General Information

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, appropriated 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.

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.


Tren Crucero from Luxury Train Club

Tren Crucero - steam power with horse power


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