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Ecuador

Falling for South America

Overview

A small South American country located right on the equator, Ecuador has a rich offering for any traveler. From the high andean and volcanic peaks to the vast swaths of amazonian rainforest and the iconic Galapagos Islands, although small in size Ecuador is a wonder from top to bottom.  

With so much to see the best way to travel through this breathtaking landscape is by the Tren Crucero. An ode to colonial times, this beautifully restored locomotive will take you on a four day journey through the beautiful Ecuadorian landscape, immerse you in the experiences of the indigenous culture and exhilarate you with its unique itinerary.

Itinerary

On this four day journey you will witness one of the most dramatic changes in vegetation and scenery as you traverse altitudes as low as sea level and climb as high 3,600 meters/12,000 feet. You will begin in the fertile plains of the coast then enter the dense cloud forests that slowly clears to display the imposing Andes. 

Quinoa crops color the landscape while herds of sheep and llama lackadaisically graze. You will pass through large plantations of sugar, bananas, pineapple, rice and many other tropical fruit dotted with the colorful ponchos of the local people. As you pass, they will take a pause from work for a moment to wave and say hi as they welcome the train. 

You will weave through the thick and enchanting cloud forest. When the mist clears, before you, you will see the Andes mountains. Strong and tall, it is an impressive sight. The train will begin its ascent up through a series of switchbacks while the edge is merely inches away. However soon you will clear the peak and have magnificent views of the stunning landscape before you. 

Throughout this journey, there will be stops to explore the towns and village that you pass through. There will be many opportunities to learn about the local culture and history as well as witness and take part in the traditions. You will enjoy traditional meals from the various restaurants and haciendas along the way. 

A journey of a lifetime through a culture and scenery found nowhere else in the world. And after your train adventure it's time to relax in the forest, where you can immerse yourself in the Ecuadorian landscape. 

Location

Although small, Ecuador is home to a vast and diverse terrain. Here you will find low and fertile coastal plains, soaring peaks and lush rainforests. Crafted by volcanoes and thrived on by the indigenous people. Here you will find a plethora of exotic wildlife and flora. A country with a rich storyline, you will find the pasts of the Quito to the Incas and the arrival of the Spanish woven into a telling tale that has created the rich culture that exists today.

Highlights

From lofty Andean peaks, to fertile volcanic soil, to the Galapagos Islands and the hidden indigenous villages there is much to be seen and done in Ecuador. 

Take a ride through the dramatic and diverse landscape. You will stunned by the beauty and  witness scenery that you will never forget. 

Experience the traditions and culture that exist here. Learn about the ancient civilizations that thrived here. 

Get to know the local people who are so happy to see train running again. Share a friendly greeting and feel the warmth that permeates this country. 

With its absolutely unique landscape and culture, Ecuador will trip that you will never forget. 

Accommodations

Tren Crucero is reminiscent of colonial luxury and grandeur with a modern twist. The train is composed of eight beautifully restored antique carriages each decorated in a different ecuadorian style. There are four first class air conditioned cars that can carry 54 passengers and where each passenger has a window seat to take in the exquisite views. There are two dining cars, where although there are no meals served, you can enjoy lights snacks and drinks. Additionally there is an observation car with open viewing terrace. You will experience ecuador in style and luxury. 

After your train adventure is over, it's time to immerse yourself in the rainforest.The wonders waiting at Mashpi lodge will delight your senses. A three story lodge built at 900 metres above sea level between lower montane rainforest and cloud forests, the lodge is surrounded by a profusion of plant and animal species. You wake up to captivating views and are able to observe forest life from the comfort of your bed.

Useful Info

With its equatorial climate, there is no best time to visit Ecuador - but there are months that may be more appealing than others depending on why you're going. Find calmer seas around the Galapagos, drier trails in the mountains, or travel when the rainforest floods to experience the Amazon in a canoe. The warmest and driest months in the sierra are June to September. Outside these months, typical sierra weather offers sunny, clear mornings and cloudy, often wet, afternoons. In the Oriente, you can expect it to be warm, humid and rainy throughout the year, though there are often short breaks from the daily rains from August to September and December to February. In the lowlands it can get particularly hot on clear days, with temperatures easily topping 30°C. The coast has the most clearly defined wet and dry seasons, and the best time to visit is from December to April, when frequent showers alternate with clear blue skies and temperatures stay high. From May to November it’s often overcast and relatively cool, especially in the south, with less chance of rainfall. The Galápagosclimate sees hot, sunny days interspersed with the odd heavy shower from January to June, and dry and overcast weather for the rest of the year, when the garúa mists are prevalent. El Niño years can bring enormous fluctuations in weather patterns on the coast and at the Galápagos archipelago, when levels of rainfall can be many times the norm.


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