in 2014 and 2015. Modern, electric-diesel, and lovingly restored, antique steam locomotives pull a high quality convoy of two luxuries, Colonial and Republican-style themed passenger cars carrying just fifty passengers, to ensure personalized service for all. A bar and gift-shop car with two comfortable observation lounges and an open air terrace complete the setup of this comfortable, select boutique train.
Depart on board the Tren Crucero. A restored steam locomotive pulls the train through coastal plantations of bananas, sugar cane and rice, as it makes its way to Bucay. In Bucay, visit the San Rafael ranch where one can enjoy activities such as hiking, horse-riding or just relaxing, before having lunch. After lunch explore a Shuar community, which migrated years ago from the Amazon basin to the Coast. The community will share their ancestral customs and traditions. Overnight and dinner at D´ Franco Lodge in Bucay.
Return to Bucay station, which is the starting point of the dramatic ascent to the Andes. 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 Sibambe 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. Lunch on board as we continue our journey to Riobamba, crossing colourful quinoa fields. In Colta you will visit the indigenous community of Palacio Real.
Take a bus to Urbina, the highest station in the country. Here you will meet the last ice-trader, who still 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. Later, ride north along the Avenue of Volcanoes, which on clear days you can spot up to twenty volcanoes from the comfort of your seat.
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.
Ecuador is more than Galapagos. The unusual variety of ecosystems packed in this small stretch of land accounts for an astounding biodiversity, the largest in the world proportional to country size. Ecuador is home to 382 species of mammals, the largest per square metre; 1600 species of birds, more than half of those found in South America; 132 species of hummingbirds, 10% of all frogs, 10% of vascular plants, 7000 types of butterflies, 60% of the orchids found in South America, 40% of which are endemic, the finest cocoa bean in the world, twenty-two ethnic groups, with thirteen different languages. This treasure trove of riches is yours to discover in this amazing four day-three night ride on board Tren Crucero.
On this journey on board Tren Crucero you will climb about 12000ft. in roughly 300 miles, thus experiencing one of the most dramatic changes in vegetation and scenery in the world as the train travels through the fertile plains of the coast into a dense cloud forest that slowly clears before the imposing walls of the Andes.
Tren Ecuador has selected the best available properties in the areas visited in the itinerary.
The coastal lowlands in the western part of Ecuador are typically warm with temperatures in the region of 25 °C (77 °F). Coastal areas are affected by ocean currents and between January and April are hot and rainy. The weather in Quito is consistent with that of a subtropical highland climate. Peak seasons are dictated by holiday periods – mid June to early September are busiest, as are late December to early January.