Itinerary at a Glance
Day 1: Quito –Cotopaxi National Park – Lasso – Latacunga
Our first meeting will be at the Chimbacalle station, south of Quito, a historic station that will open its doors to us with the country’s railway history from 1908. After the Check in we will enjoy an exhibition of a Baldwin steam engine to revive the golden years of the Ecuadorian railway system.
Once on our train, we will cross the impressive “Avenue of the Volcanoes”; the term that Alexander von Humboldt gave to this part of the Andean ridge, where we have more than 20 volcanoes, few of them still active. We will arrive at the second highest station of the Ecuadorian railway system and disembark to take our touristic bus to visit a rose farm, there, we will learn why Ecuador gathers all the right characteristics to produce some of the best roses in the world.
After lunch we will go up to the Cotopaxi National Park. Within the park we can enjoy a moderate altitude walk at 12,631 feet around the Limpiopungo lagoon, where we find a big diversity of flora and fauna adapted to this altitude environment. Natural photography will be part of this afternoon before arriving at the historical hacienda.
Night at Hostería Rumipamba de las Rosas / Hacienda La Ciénega or similar
Golden: Room Upgrade
Included: English speaking guide, lunch, dinner, accommodation
Day 2: Latacunga – Urbina – Riobamba
The departure by train in the morning will be from Latacunga Station. We will cross the inter-Andean valley and then the Yambo lagoon will open before our eyes by a scenic cliff. During the journey we will be approached by colorful devils from Pillaro village, part of a long Andean tradition known as the “Diablada Pillareña”, declared national heritage. We will celebrate with this folkloric demonstration from the comfort of our train. We will arrive to Urbina station, the highest train station of Ecuador, located at 3609 meters above sea level (11 000 feet). There we will be received by Baltazar Ushca, the last ice merchant of the Chimborazo who will share the secrets of his old and almost extinct tradition.
Enjoy some community experience, when we arrive to Jatari Train Station and the Community of La Moya where we will learn about the Quichua – Puruha culture and their ancestral knowledge, we will be able to participate in some of these activities led by the native guides. Share the table with them and be able to interact with this amazing group.
To conclude this great day, the train is waiting for us to take the group from Jatari to Riobamba, capital of Chimborazo Province, a unique historical city for the country and for the railroad development in the past, where we can enjoy its beauties, the handcraft plaza and a short walk through the city will be part of the end of the day before the sun sets.
Night at Hacienda Abraspungo or similar
Golden: Room Upgrade
Included: English speaking guide, breakfast, lunch, dinner, accommodation
Day 3:Riobamba – Devil´s Nose – Alausí
Riobamba – Devil´s Nose – Alausí
Early in the morning we will head to the historic Riobamba station, the train will be waiting to take us through colorful quinoa fields, picturesque villages and unique landscapes. Upon our arrival to Colta, where we find the first church ever built in Ecuador, known as the Balvanera. Then we head to Guamote, we will visit an authentic Andean market, where people from several communities come together to trade a myriad of products. This market has maintained its traditional essence and with luck, we will be able to observe how the barter works among the merchants that meet there coming from many other indigenous communities of the country. A short trip by bus will take us to Alausí, where the patrimonial set of carriages awaits the group; that same train will transport us to the mythical Nariz del Diablo (the Devi´ls Nose). An impressive system of swicht-backs on a steep mountain that allow the locomotive to descend into the Sibambe valley; during its construction, was considered one of the most important engineering milestones in the country.
Our patrimonial set will return to Alausí, the small town of the Five Heritages, we will rest this night in this charming city nestled in between sharp mountains and diverse plantations. Walking at night through its streets will give us a feeling of returning several decades in time.
Night at Hotel Molino or similar
Golden: Room Upgrade
- Included: English speaking guide, breakfast, lunch dinner, accommodation
Day 4: Alausi – Naranjito – Yaguachi – Duran
For the last day of journey we will take our bus with the light of dawn to Huigra, a small village where the Guayaquil & Quito Railway Company used to have a basecamp. Then we will head on a scenic trip from the imposing Andes to the quiet warm esplanades of the Pacific coast. During this trip we can witness the dramatic ecosystem and geographical changes that mark the transition between coast and mountains. Once in Bucay we will have a refreshing drink and artistic experience to welcome us to the warm coast of Ecuador in Guayas province.
After the visit to Bucay will arrive at a very traditional and tasteful hacienda in the Coast of Ecuador; we will take a tour into the cocoa bean plantations and learn about the sowing and harvesting of Ecuadorian cacao, which is considered the best cocoa bean in the world. Our lunch will be served at the hacienda and we will enjoy the gastronomy of local cuisine. Our next destination will be Naranjito where we will board the train towards Yaguachi, the first station built of the Ecuadorian railway system. There, a Baldwin steam locomotive awaits us to carry the train through a landscape full of rice plantations to its final destination on this trip, Durán.
Night at Hotel Wyndham / Oro verde or similar
Golden: Hotel Del Parque
- Included: English speaking guide, Breakfast, lunch, accommodation
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Train to the Clouds$1,735
Cotopaxi Hiking Tour: Adventure Trail$860
Tour Highlights: 3 day, 2 Night land-based tour in the Andes Mountains, remarkable accommodations at Chilcabamba Lodge, transfers and ground transportation, hiking and National Park access.