Concorde Travel - Travel Consultants

Home » Great Railway Journeys » ECUADOR – Train Journey Quito to Guayaquil

 

 

 

Luxury Train Journey Quito to Guayaquil.

 4 days and 3 nights

 

The Train is new but the railway is actually over a century old. Construction of the first railway in Ecuador started in 1861 with section that was built to join Quito to Guayaquil being started in 1897 and completed in 1908. It was and still is a great engineering feat, and was built as a single line track. In just 50 miles the railway ascends from 970ft above sea level to nearly 10,700ft, this part known the Devil’s Nose Zig-Zag where the track has a series of switch-backs, and the train has to reverse direction to get the change in altitude. It was a great success for many years, but aircraft finally made the route uneconomic and the line fell into disrepair.  In 2008 the centennial year - there was only 10% of the line operational.

 

 

The government then stepped in and the line was resored and new carriages ordered. The steam locomotives were also restored and are an integral part of the Train Cruise Itinerary, and are used in different parts of the journey.     

Now operated as the Tren Crucero which translates to Train Cruise, its new style is defined by its 4 coaches, true treasures of historical design, hauled at different times by steam and diesel-electric locomotives. The most iconic parts of the trip will be made with steam locomotives that were built at the beginning of the 20th century, they have been carefully restored and upgraded to guarantee comfort and safety. The train has the capacity to carry 54 persons in comfort. The accommodation part of the trip is spent in centuries old haciendas

 

As the train crawls through the Andes, an accompanying bus will follow to meet passengers at arrival stations to transport them to local attractions and their hotels. Tourists will also visit rose plantations, local markets, communities, and historic sites.

 

  

2014 Departures

 Guayaquil to Quito 

2014:  January 5, 19.  February 2, 16.  March 2.  June 8, 22.  July 6, 20.  August 3, 17, 31.  December 7, 21.

 

 Quito to Guayaquil

2014:  January 14, 28.  February 11, 25.  June 3, 17.  July 1, 15, 29.  August 12, 26. December 2, 16, 31.

 

 

ITINERARY.    -  Guayaquil to Quito or in reverse

 Day 1                      Sunday               Durán to Bucay.   

Departure from Eloy Alfaro station at 8:00hrs, on board the Tren Crucero.   A restored steam locomotive will pull the train through coastal plantations of bananas, sugar cane and rice, as it makes its way to Bucay.  In Bucay we visit the San Rafael ranch where one can enjoy activities such as hiking, horse-riding or just relaxing, before having lunch. After lunch we will 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.

 

 

Day 2                              Monday                Bucay toRiobamba.  

After breakfast, we return to Bucay station, which is the starting point of our dramatic ascent to theAndes.  Thanks to 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, before continuing to the renowned Devil´s Nose and then onto Alausi, dominated by a colossal statue of St Peter.

As we arrive in Guamote, lunch is taken in the station after which we visit the town, which has some handsome timber buildings from the early twentieth century railway era, with their characteristic balconies leaning on thick wooden pillars.   We also visit Inti Sisa, a non-profit foundation that organizes workshops in Guamote.   We board the train to travel across the fascinating landscapes to the Colta community with a short stop at the Balbanera church, built about 500 years’ ago and the first landmark Christians made upon arrival to these lands.  The journey continues to Riobamba.
Overnight and dinner at Abraspungo Hacienda.     

 

 

Day 3                      Tuesday             Urbina to Latacunga.   

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.
Next the train takes us to Ambato for lunch, served at the Roka Plaza hotel, an ancient colonial house, after which we return to the train to travel to Cunchibamba where we explore a rose plantation and learn about the world-renowned Ecuadorian roses.
After this visit, we continue our journey by train from Cunchibamba to Latacunga.   From there we take the coach to Lasso where the local community will display an impressive exhibition of synchronisation; local dancers perform  an indigenous dance.
Overnight and dinner at La Cienega Hacienda.

The renowned scientist, Alexander Von Humboldt,  and members of the French Geodesic Mission stayed here while they measured the exact circumference of Earth for the first time in modern history.  The hacienda also lodged South America’s most important hero, ‘the Liberator’ Simon Bolivar, who led four countries to become independent from Spain.

 

 

Day 4                              Wednesday                    Cotopaxi National Park toQuito. 

After breakfast we travel across the Pan-American Highway by bus to Cotopaxi National Park.  Walk around the Limpiopungo glacial lake, surrounded by wonderful scenery. Cotopaxi is an important shelter for a variety of Andean fauna, gulls, deer, wolves, the unique bear of South America and the magnificent Andean Condor.
Our journey continues to San Agustin del Callo Hacienda for a delicious traditional lunch.  The hacienda features incredible Inca walls. After lunch we return to El Boliche station to board the train.  We depart for Quito travelling through our final views of beautiful landscapes.  

On arrival at Quito, you will be transferred by bus to your hotel.

 

                              

 

This is a complete Itinerary in its own right; however, it can be adjusted to suit your vacation dates and times and can include other destinations in Ecuador or elsewhere in Central America.