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Tren Crucero Train - Quito to Guayaquil


EYD7Q
7 NIGHTS
FROM £2,295
International flights quoted separately
The iconic Tren Crucero train travels the length of Ecuador, starting in the historic colonial city of Quito and journeying through the spectacular Avenue of the Volcanoes to the port city of Guayaquil - the gateway to the Galapagos Islands. See spectacular Andean scenery and absorb the local culture, staying at local haciendas along the way. All transfers included.
Photo Tren Crucero Train Ecuador Quito Galapagos & Avenue of the Volcanoes Guayaquil Photo
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Quito
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Centre of the World
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Train of Wonders
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Otavalo excursion
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Tren Crucero Train
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Avenue of Volcanoes
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Cotopaxi National Park
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Andean Highlands
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Devils Nose
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Guayaquil
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Quito
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Centre of the World
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Train of Wonders
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Otavalo excursion
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Tren Crucero Train
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Avenue of Volcanoes
• 
Cotopaxi National Park
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Andean Highlands
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Devils Nose
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Guayaquil
Day 1
You will be met at Quito Airport and transferred to your hotel in this historic Spanish colonial city that straddles the equator and is today a World Heritage Site.
 
Check in and relax in this capital city in the Andean Highlands, with its many museums, monasteries and churches with golden altars. The prosperous centre of the Kingdom of Quitus during the 13th century, and later the northern capital of the Inca Empire, it has a setting that few cities in the world can match.
Day 2
This morning we suggest an optional visit to the equatorial monument that marks the Centre of the World at latitude 0º - about 16 miles (25 km) north of Quito. Here you can stand with a foot on each hemisphere and visit the Intiñan folk museum that showcases the different Native American groups living in Ecuador, their culture and traditions. There is also a colonial-style tourist village complete with main square, church, post office, bull ring and gift shops.
 
Afterwards enjoy a walking tour through the streets and main square of the historic Colonial Quarter, the largest and best preserved in South America. Take in its magnificent colonial architecture - including the Cathedral, President's Palace, Archbishop's Palace and the Municipal Building flanking Independence Plaza. You will see many mansions, monasteries and churches, and visit the Church & Convent of Santo Domingo. The city also has many cosmopolitan galleries and boutiques filled with contemporary paintings, sculptures and exquisite traditional crafts.
 
Please note: Quito walking tour is conducted at an altitude of 2,800 m and includes climbing stairs. As you will be visiting churches (except on Sundays, when this is not permitted), do not wear shorts or mini skirts as these are not allowed.
Day 3
Today we depart by bus from Quito and travel 2.5-hours north to Ibarra in the Lake Province. Along the way we may see the Cayambe Volcano, as we cross rose plantations for which Ecuador is famous.
 
The Train of Wonders, an old steam locomotive that travels across the beautiful northern valleys to Otavalo, awaits us at the recently restored Ibarra Station.
 
We depart for the small village of San Antonio de Ibarra, to discover old colonial woodcarving techniques. We continue to the highland village of Andrade Marin to visit their textile museum and continue to San Roque, home of ancestral weavers, musicians and healers.
 
Our trip ends in Otavalo, where a large handcraft market takes place weekly. After a traditional meal on the shores of Lake San Pablo, we return by bus to Quito.
 
Note: Hotels used by Tren Crucero vary and will be confirmed at time of booking.
Day 4
This morning we transfer to Chimbacalle Station in good time to board the Tren Crucero Excursion Train departing at 07.30 southwards through the Avenue of the Volcanoes to the port at Guayaquil.
 
The Avenue of the Volcanoes is formed by two parallel chains of the Andes Mountains that travel the length of Ecuador, rising to dramatic peaks. Eight of the highest mountains in the country are found in this spectacular region, including 20 volcanoes. Defined by its four coaches, this heritage train seats 54 people and is pulled by steam and diesel locomotives.
 
Travelling by train through this breathtaking Andean scenery, the snow-capped Cotopaxi Volcano dominates the landscape and on clear days offers a magnificent backdrop. It is an almost perfect cone rising to 19,347 ft (5,897 m), making it the highest active volcano in the world.
 
We continue by train through the small town of Ambato to Urbina, the highest point on our itinerary. Here you will meet the last remaining ice-collector working on the Chimborazo Volcano. A dying craft, he walks 5-hours twice a week to mine the ice from the volcano and sell it at the local market.  On a clear day, enjoy seeing Chimborazo Volcano outlined against an amazing sunset.
 
Returning to the train, we continue to Riobamba Station and transfer by bus to our hacienda for an included dinner and overnight. This small town is surrounded by five volcanoes and is known as the "Sultan of the Andes".
 
The train departs on selected Tuesdays, with all meals included (but not alcohol). Haciendas used for overnighting are subject to change, depending on availability. Remember to wear good walking shoes & layers of warm clothing - including rainwear, sunscreen, sunglasses & hat. Also pack insect repellant for Devil's Nose on the third day.
Day 5
After breakfast we re-board the train at Riobamba and continue our trip south.
 
Our train journey continues through breathtaking Andean landscapes, this time driven by a steam locomotive, to Colta where the Spanish conquistadors built their first settlement in Ecuador. In this region you will see colourful purple, yellow and red quinoa fields, endemic flora  and wildlife, indigenous settlements and the remains of ancient cultures. We disembark at Colta and visit Iglesia de Balbanera, the oldest church in the country, dating back almost 500 years.
 
Back aboard the train, we travel on to Guamote where one of the last indigenous Indian markets is waiting to be explored.
 
After an included lunch on the train, we continue to Alausí passing through curious geological formations before beginning the steep descent down the mythical Devil's Nose. Experience an amazing climatic transition, as we drop down from the Andean Highlands to the coastal plains. Zig-zagging its way down the mountainside, the trains drops a hair-raising 1,600 ft (450 m) over the course of only 7.5 miles (12 km).
 
A short break at a viewpoint enables you to appreciate the magnitude of this engineering feat, before we continue our descent along the narrow Chanchán River gorge and through an impressive cloud forest towards Bucay, the gateway to the temperate coastal plains. On arrival we check into our lodge and enjoy an included dinner.
Day 6
After breakfast we board the train at Bucay Station and see the landscape changes yet again, as we leave the tropical forests behind.
 
We disembark at Naranjito for an included lunch and chocolate tasting at a coastal hacienda.
 
At Yaguachi station we switch to a steam-driven engine, before heading to our final destination of Durán. As we approach the coast, the train weaves its way through rice paddies and plantations of bananas, pineapples, mangos and sugar cane, marking its trail with clouds of billowing steam.
 
Our trip ends on arrival at Durán Station, where you will be met and transferred to your Guayaquil hotel. Check in and relax in this port, that is the largest city in Ecuador. Here the vibe is Caribbean, in marked contrast to the Andean region.
Day 7
This morning enjoy a half day tour of the cosmopolitan port of Guayaquil, the largest city in Ecuador. This prosperous city has a rich historical background, wonderful museums and a modern shopping district with many good restaurants.
 
You will see the splendid Moorish Clock Tower and La Rotonda, a historical monument on the waterfront walkway. Santo Domingo church, built by Dominican friars, is the oldest in the city. Also view the Las Peñas neighbourhood, the artistic centre of the city, and beautiful Guayaquil Historical Park on the waterfront walkway, which is a haven for wildlife, history and architecture.
 
Afternoon is at leisure to relax or explore more of the city on your own.
Day 8
Transfer to Guayaquil Airport for your flight home.

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