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Ecuador by Rail: from the Mountains to the Sea
Enjoy a 4 day adventure on board the Tren Crucero as you journey from Otavalo high in the northern Andes, through the Avenue of Volcanoes and tropical forest until you reach the plains in the coastal region.
Day 1: Quito – Otavalo – Quito
Early in the morning you will head into the northern Andes and the valley of Otavalo, famous for its indigenous cultures, handicrafts and bustling local market. Starting from San Roque Station, you will begin your journey through stunning landscapes as you travel across the northern sections of the Ecuadorian railway such as around Ibarra. You will enjoy a typical Andean lunch at a traditional hacienda before returning to Quito for the night.
Day 2: Quito – Cotopaxi – Riobamba
On your second day, you will board the train again at Chimbcalle Station to start your journey south along the incredible Avenue of Volcanoes, made up of dozens of active and dormant snow-peaked volcanoes, which split and run parallel towards the south. The railway across the valley in between will give you the perfect view of the biodiversity and agricultural practices that it is home to.
After a brief stop at Ambato Station, you’ll continue towards Urbina, the highest station in the journey at approximately 3,500m above sea level. Here you can visit the local interpretation centre of the famous "Ice Men", whilst enjoying the beauty of the landscape at the slopes of Chimborazo, the highest volcano in Ecuador. After this leg of the journey you will enjoy dinner and overnight in Riobamba.
Day 3: Riobamba – Devil’s Nose – Bucay
Depart Riobamba today for Colta, travelling across colourful fields filled with endemic species of plant and wildlife. Colta is where the Spanish conquerors built their first settlement in Ecuador.
Then continue your journey by train to Guamote, where you will visit the main attractions of the city and the indigenous market, which is one of the largest and most important in the country. After this visit you will have lunch at the train station. In the afternoon you will continue to Alausí for a major highlight of the trip; the Devil's Nose Train. This remarkable feat of engineering zigzags down a sheer cliff to a beautiful river valley below, and you will stop for a few minutes at the viewpoint to appreciate and understand why it is called the most difficult train in the world. Continue by train to Bucay, where you will enjoy dinner and overnight.
Day 4: Bucay – Guayaquil
On this final day, the landscape changes again as the train leaves the tropical forest behind. On the way you will pass through typical coast plantations, including banana and sugarcane, whilst you enjoy the experience of a steam locomotive which carries you towards the Pacific Ocean. You will end your journey at Duran’s Train station, where you’ll be collected and taken to Guayaquil for your overnight.