Day 1 –Sunday - Durán - Yaguachi - Bucay
Temporary modifications for Tren Crucero itineraries due to Cotopaxi volcano yellow alert (increased activity).
A few days ago, ecuadorian authorities declared yellow alert status for Cotopaxi volcano due increased activity. This means that visits to Cotopaxi National Park and El Boliche recreation area are suspended as long as Yellow Alert persists. In order to preserve safe conditions and a pleasant journey, Tren Ecuador has modified Tren Crucero Quito – Guayaquil / Guayaquil – Quito itineraries, looking forward to avoid operations in Cotopaxi influence area.
It is our aim to provide our passengers a suitable itinerary for non-operation train stretches, so we have selected our latest new product – Tren de los Lagos, an impressive steam locomotive full day journey in the northern Andes, to replace Quito – Latacunga or viceversa stretches.
Leave Eloy Alfaro station in Duran at 08:30. A steam locomotive drives the train to the next station, Yaguachi, traveling through banana, sugar cane, mango, pineapple and plantations as well as rice paddies along Ecuador’s coastal plain.
The journey continues with a diesel electric locomotive to Bucay station.
Then, by bus, we continue to the San Rafael hacienda where you will enjoy lunch and visit a cocoa plantation.
Dinner and overnight stay at the D'Franco lodge in Bucay. (-/L/D)
Day 2 – Monday - Bucay - Huigra - Sibambe - Alausí - Guamote - Colta - Riobamba
After breakfast, we continue towards Bucay station where we begin our ascent into the mountains.
Emerging from the coastal lowlands to the high Andean plateau, you will be witness to a fascinating climate change.
The next stop is the Sibambe viewpoint to observe "The Devil's Nose", an engineering feat dating back to the last century. As the train zig-zags its way up 200 meters in just 3 kilometers you will understand why the Ecuadorian railway is known as the most difficult in the world.
The train arrives in Guamote where we take lunch in the station of the same name. Our trip continues with a visit to the Inti Sisa project that provides support to the local development of Guamote through training workshops for education and community tourism.
In the afternoon, we depart on board the train to Colta where the crew will switch locomotives and you’ll be able to enjoy the whistle of a steam locomotive as we move on to Riobamba.
We pause at the Balbanera church, the first evidence of the arrival of Christianity in this land nearly 500 years ago.
Dinner and accommodation in the Abraspungo or Andaluza lodges. (B/L/D)
Day 3 – Tuesday - Riobamba - Urbina - Cevallos - Ambato - Cunchibamba - Latacunga - Lasso
After breakfast, we transfer by bus to Riobamba station to board the Cruise Train at Urbina Station, located 3,609 meters above sea level..
Urbina is the country’s highest station and here you’ll meet Ecuador’s last “ice-gather”, Ushca Baltazar, who will share his experiences on extracting ice from the slopes of the Chimborazo volcano.
We then take the train to Ambato for lunch at the Roka Plaza hotel, an old colonial house.
Weather permitting, we may be able to enjoy – at a safe distance – a beautiful view of the still active Tungurahua volcano, which offers one of nature’s most impressive spectacles: a volcanic eruption.
After lunch, we reach Cunchibamba the starting point for exploring a rose plantation. This is your opportunity to learn about Ecuador’s world-famous roses and their cultivation..
We rejoin the train, continuing to Latacunga where a bus takes us to our hotel.
Departure by bus to Quito. Accommodation and dinner at Hotel Quito, (González Suárez Avenue N27-142)
Dinner and overnight stay at La Cienega, Hato Verde or Rumipamba de las Rosas hotel (depending on availability). (B/L/D)
Day 4 – Wednesday - Lasso - Cotopaxi - Chimbacalle
- After breakfast, we transfer to Latacunga station to take the train and begin the journey towards Cotopaxi station.
- From there, we travel along the Pan-American Highway by bus to Cotopaxi National Park. Andean landscapes dominate the horizon as we pass close to Limpiopingo, a glacial lake.
- The Cotopaxi National Park is home to Andean flora and fauna: Andean gulls, caracaras, white-tailed deer, the moor wolf and the Andean condor. The páramo is the highlight of the day, together with the splendid Cotopaxi volcano, an almost perfect cone rising to 5,897 meters.
- Our journey continues to the San Agustin de Callo hacienda where you´ll be able to sample the new Ecuadorian cuisine for lunch. The ruins of this estate are an example of Inca architecture. Before the colonial period the building was an Inca palace.
- After exploring the hacienda, we continue our journey by bus to Quito, and to one of the capital’s principal hotels (Hilton Colon, Casa Gangotena or Swissôtel). (D/A/-)
- Departure at 06:30 northbound to Ibarra by bus.
- Ibarra – San Antonio – Andrade Marin – San Roque – Otavalo journey with steam locomotive on board patrimonial coaches, with lunch included at Puerto Lago Lodge.
- Afternoon departure to Quito by bus to our main hotels (shuttle).