TRAIN TO THE CLOUDS

In this fascinating 4-day tour we will experience one of the most dramatic changes in vegetation, climate and geography when we make the transition between coast and mountains. To achieve this great feat, we will tackle the famous train of the Devil´s Nose and experience first-hand, how this magnificent engineering work, allowed the train to conquer the Andes. Join us on a journey without equal from the fertile plains on the coast to the colossal Andes and its spectacular Avenue of the volcanoes to reach the beautiful city of Quito, named the world´s first cultural heritage by UNESCO more than 40 years ago.

ITINERARY

DAY 1DAY 2DAY 3DAY 4
Duran-Yaguachi-Naranjito-BucayBucay-Devil´s Nose-RiobambaUrbina – Boliche – QuitoQuito – Otavalo- Ibarra – Quito

CURRENCY

The currency of Ecuador is the United States dollar, accepted as the national currency of Ecuador in January 2000. The money that is circulated includes notes and coins.

WEATHER CONDITIONS

Ecuador’s climate varies with its regions. This area has an altitude of about 7550 ft (2300 m) above sea level and because of this, the temperature is comfortable, and does not get too hot.

VISA REQUIREMENTS

All tourists need a valid passport and an entry form-tourist card which is provided by your air carrier. Citizens of Canada, UK and USA do not need to obtain a visa for stays up to 90 days.

Day 1 – Duran – Yaguachi – Bucay
  • Stretch Durán to Yaguachi operated with steam engine

We depart from Durán in the coast early in the morning, our heritage convoy pulled by a vintage steam engine. We switch engines in Yaguachi and continue across rice, sugar cane, banana and pineapple plantations to Naranjito.

Lunch is served in a traditional hacienda, where we will learn about the best cocoa bean in the world and taste home-made chocolate.

After a show of Montubio culture we continue our trip towards Bucay. If the day is clear, we will get tour first glimpse of the Andes in the distance.

Durán – Yaguachi – Naranjito – Bucay

  • 8:00 departure from Duran, steam engine.
  • Cocoa plantation, chocolate tasting and visit to Hacienda in Naranjito.
  • Lunch
  • Show of Montubio culture
  • Bucay. Dinner and Night
Day 2 – Bucay -Devil´s Nose – Riobamba

As we travel along the canyon of river Chanchán the vegetation and temperature change abruptly. The cloud forest clears out and the sparse vegetation of the highlands takes its place, while the stone walls of the Andes loom in the horizon.

The train makes a stop at Pistishi lookout, where we can get a good glimpse of the impressive feat of engineering ahead of us, before start the daunting climb of mythical Devil’s nose.

After a 450 meter climb in barely 12 kilometers of dizzying zig zag the train finally reaches the quaint village of Alausi, in the Andes. We continue our journey to Riobamba, crossing colorful quinoa fields. In Colta we visit the indigenous community of Palacio Real, where we learn about llama breeding.

We arrive in Riobamba pulled by a powerful steam engine, with time to visit the Train Station Artisans’ Square before heading to our hotel.

Bucay – Devil’s Nose – Alausi – Colta-Riobamba

  • Crossing of Chanchan river gorge
  • Pistishi lookout and Devil’s Nose pass
  • Lunch on board
  • Visit to Palacio Rea indigenous community
  • Dinner and night in Riobamba
Day 3 – Urbina – Boliche – Quito

We depart for Urbina, the highest point in our itinerary at 3600m.a.s.l. There, in the eastern flanks of Chimborazo volcano awaits the last ice merchant, to tell the tale of his ancestral trade.

Then we ride north along the Avenue of Volcanoes, the fertile valley sheltered between the two arms of the Andes mountain range. In clear days you can spot up to twenty volcanoes from the comfort of your seat. In the skirts of Cotopaxi volcano we will explore a singular Andean forest trail before continuing our ride towards Quito.

Riobamba – Urbina – Boliche – Quito

  • Urbina: Artisans’ Square, last Ice Merchant of Chimborazo
  • Breakfast on board
  • Boliche recreational area by Cotopaxi: Andean forest trail
  • Quito: dinner and night
Day 4 – Quito – Otavalo – Ibarra – Quito

Our journey continues to the Northern Andes. In Otavalo, home to a millenary market, we board the train, pulled by a lovingly restored steam engine.

During the day we will discover the culture, traditions, music, gastronomy, paintings and the antique skill of woodcarving, learned from the renowned masters of the Quito carving school, back in the XVIIth century.

After having lunch in a very singular hacienda, we head back to our last night in Quito.

Quito – Otavalo – San Roque – Andrade Marin – San Antonio de Ibarra – Quito

  • 6:30 Departure from Quito, Swiss Hotel
  • Otavalo station: departure with steam engine
  • San Roque: Music and loom weavers
  • Andrade Marín: Sampling of traditional cuisine and visit to Imbabura old textile Factory
  • San Antonio: the art of woodcarving
  • Lunch: Hacienda La Compañía
  • Return trip to Quito and transfer for overnight
  • Quito-Otavalo/Ibarra-Quito route by bus.
  • Includes:
    • Visits with English speaking driver guide
    • Meals detailed in the itinerary
    • Entrance fees
  • Not Include:
    • International flights and airport taxes
    • Additional meals and drinks (soft & alcoholics)
    • Tips, personal expenses
    • Travel and medical insurance
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