There are many ways to get around Ecuador, but none quite like riding the rails. With the introduction of Tren Crucero by Ecuadorian Railways, Metropolitan Touring looks to take a step forward as the go-to tour operator for booking the 4-day railway adventure from Quito to coastal Guayaquil.
The Tren Crucero is the result of a $280 million government investment toward the rehabilitation of 283 miles of railway in Ecuador. The 4-day adventure launching in June will bring travelers into close contact with different cultures and beauty through the Andes to the Pacific coast.
Nights will be spent in traditional haciendas and hotels, including a first night at La Ciénega, a historic ranch high in the Andes. Active days will find travelers experiencing colorful markets, museums, farms, national parks and towns. The route also includes the dramatic “Devil’s Nose” with a half-mile climb of zigzag cuts up a vertical rock face. It’s quite a ride.
The route to the Pacific runs to Urbina station, the highest railway stop in Ecuador at 11,840 feet, with an Interpretation Center exhibiting “Men of Ice” and beautiful views of Chimborazo, the country’s highest volcano. A steam locomotive continues to Colta where travelers can visit Balbanera, the first church in Ecuador.
The tour cost starts from $1,447 for one night’s bed and breakfast at Casa Gangotena and the 3-night Tren Crucero program per person based on two sharing, including all meals, accommodation, guiding, visits, and soft drinks aboard during the train ride. The price is $991 per person based on two sharing for the train program only.
Fixed departures through 2013:
Quito – Guayaquil:
June 4 & 18; July 2, 16 & 30; August 13 & 27
Guayaquil – Quito:
June 9 & 23; July 7 & 21; August 4 & 18; September 1.
Metropolitan Touring, www.metropolitan-touring.com