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Tren Crucero Ecuador, South America

Tren Crucero carriage 
Route map of Tren Crucero, Ecaudor
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. Along the route, there are opportunities to meet Andean and coastal indigenous communities whose welcome is memorable. Enjoy local museums and authentic experiences. Wonder at the spectacular feat of engineering of the zigzag that hugs the side of the mountain, whilst affording one amazing views.

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. Also, 2016 World Responsible Tourism Awards Winner, being chosen from 13 worldwide finalists. 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 can be booked now for travel from September 2017. Members already booked can upgrade to Gold Class Tren Crucero - please contact us.

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.


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 exactly portion of the railway in maintenance is from Naranjito to Pistishi (80 Km). Please ask for updated itinerary information. The itineraries below have not been updated as this is temporary.

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 Train Station (details are here). Departure 08:30hrs

Day 1. Durán - Yaguachi - Naranjito - Bucay. Depart on board the Tren Crucero. A restored steam locomotive pulls the train through coastal plantations of bananas, sugar cane and rice, before switching engines in Yaguachi, continuing to Naranjito. Lunch is served in a traditional hacienda, where we learn about cocoa and taste hot-chocolate. After a show of Montubio culture we continue our trip towards Bucay. If the day is clear, we will get tour first glimpse of the Andes in the distance. Overnight and dinner at D´ Franco Lodge in Bucay.

Day 2. Bucay - Devil´s Nose Viewpoint - Colta - Riobamba. After breakfast, we return to Bucay station, which is the starting point of our dramatic ascent to the Andes. As we travel along the canyon of river Chanchán the vegetation and temperature change abruptly. The cloud forest clears and the sparse vegetation of the highlands take its place, while the stone walls of the Andes loom in the horizon. With a series of zig-zags and horseshoe bends, in just 50 miles the train climbs over 9,700ft (2,960m), offering passengers fantastic views especially from the Observation Car. There is a short stop at Pistishi viewpoint, from where one can appreciate the major engineering achievement that led engineers to call this railway the most difficult in the world. Continue to the renowned Devil´s Nose and then onto Alausi, dominated by a colossal statue of St Peter. Lunch onboard as we continue our journey to Riobamba, crossing colorful quinoa fields. In Colta we visit the indigenous community of Palacio Real, where we learn about llama breeding. We arrive in Riobamba pulled by a powerful steam engine, with time to visit the Train Station Artisans’ Square before heading to the hotel. Overnight and dinner at Abraspungo Hacienda.

Day 3. Riobamba - Urbina - Boliche - Quito. After breakfast a bus takes us to Urbina, the highest station in the country. Here we meet the last ice-trader, who at 69 years' old and like his father and grandfather before him, uses a donkey to travel to the slopes of the Chimborazo Volcano to dig ice from the glacier to sell to the vendors in the villages and towns. Then we ride north along the Avenue of Volcanoes, the fertile valley sheltered between the two arms of the Andes mountain range. In clear days you can spot up to twenty volcanoes from the comfort of your seat. In the skirts of Cotopaxi volcano we will explore a singular Andean forest trail before continuing our ride towards Quito, with its UNESCO World Heritage old quarter. Overnight and dinner in Quito, Swissotel.

Day 4. Quito - Otavalo - San Antonio de Ibarra - Quito. After breakfast the steam locomotive takes us across the northern valleys. Visit woodcarving workshops at San Antonio, discover local traditional food in Andrade Marin and enjoy a show of local music and textile weaving at San Roque train station. After lunch in the Hacienda La Compañía, we return to Quito where you will be transferred to the Swissotel - offer excludes dinner, but includes breakfast.

Dates and Prices 2018/2019

2018: April 14,28. May 12,26. June 9,23. July 7. August 4,18. September 1,15. October 13,27. November 10. December 1,15.

2019: January 12,26. February 9,23. March 9,23. April 6,20. June 15. July 13,27. August 10,24. September 7,21. October 5,19. November 2,16,30. December 14,27.

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 06:30hrs Swissotel (Quito). Departure: 07:30 (Tuesday)

Day 1. Quito - Otavalo – San Roque – Andrade Marin – San Antonio – Ibarra - Quito. Travel from Quito for an hour and a half drive north to Otavalo, home of a millenary market. Here we take the steam engine to discover towns and village skills, be it woodcarving workshops at San Antonio, traditional local food in Andrade Marin, a show of local music and textile weaving at San Roque train station and a visit to a world-class rose plantation. Overnight in Quito at Swissotel.

Day 2. Quito - Urbina - Riobamba. Journey across the Avenue of the Volcanoes amidst the typical Andean landscapes. The Cotopaxi National Park is home to Andean flora and fauna: Andean gulls, caracaras, white-tailed deer, the moor wolf and the Andean condor. There are amazing views of the Yambo lake. Lunch on board. If weather conditions permit, you may see 20 volcanos from the train, many dormant. The train travels towards Urbina station, located at 3,609 meters above sea level. Here you will meet the last ice-harvester in the Chimborazo volcanic slopes. Dinner and overnight in Riobamba

Day 3. Riobamba - Colta - Guamote - Devil´s Nose View point - 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". Continuing by train, we travel 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 and where the Spanish conquerors built their first settlement in Ecuador. Back on the train, we travel to Guamote to visit one of the last Andean indigenous the Indian markets. Lunch is taken on board the train as it traverses the Devil's nose crossing. 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. Then we experience the impressive climatic transition while traveling from the Andes Mountain Range to the Pacific coast. Overnight in Bucay, the gateway to the Coastal plains.

Day 4. Bucay - Naranjito – Yaguachi - Guayaquil. After breakfast, we depart by train from Bucay station en route for San Rafael station. We take a bus to the San Rafael hacienda where we have lunch and visit a cocoa plantation to sample chocolate. After this visit, we take the train to our final destination, Durán 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 Durán station where transport is provided to the Oro Verde Hotel - offer excludes dinner, includes breakfast.

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

Dates and Prices 2018/2019

2018: April 10,24. May 8,22. June 5,19. July 13,17,31. August 14,28. September 11,25. October 9,23. November 6,27. December 11.

2019: January 8,22. February 5,19. March 5,19. April 2,16. May 28. June 11,25. July 9,23. August 20. September 3,17. October 1,15,29. November 12,26. 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 offered to the offered hotels.

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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