A nine-day tailor-made holiday including four days aboard the award-winning Tren Crucero
History & culture | Natural world | Rail journey
Explore some of Ecuador's most impressive landscapes aboard the award-winning Tren Crucero (Cruise Train) as you travel from Quito, through the high Andes to the coastal city of Guayaquil, passing through the spectacular Avenue of the Volcanoes and traversing the infamous Devil's Nose, a feat of engineering that has earned a reputation as one of the most celebrated railway lines on earth.
Throughout this nine-day tailor-made holiday you'll enjoy colourful fiestas, encounter local wildlife and gain an understanding of the customs and cultures of Ecuador's native Indian people as you travel in the company of expert guides, while staying in beautifully restored, traditional haciendas and hotels.
Day by day itinerary
Board an overnight flight from the UK to Quito.
Arrive in Ecuador's bustling capital city, and transfer to your hotel. Spend the following morning exploring the city's UNESCO World Heritage-listed colonial quarter, which is the largest and best preserved of its kind in South America. Visit Independence Plaza, flanked by the city's Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, the Municipal Building and the Archbishop's Palace before visiting the Monastery of San Francisco, which is one of the world's most impressive religious buildings.
This afternoon you'll visit the Equatorial Monument, located 16 kilometres to the north of Quito, which affords the chance to stand straddling the equator, with one foot in each hemisphere. Pay a visit to the Ethnographic Museum inside the monument to learn about the different Native American groups living within Ecuador and take a stroll through the streets of the surrounding colonial-style town before collecting your certificate that proves you've crossed the Equator.
Stay: Swissotel Quito (Deluxe)
Quito - Otavalo - Quito
Leave the capital behind today as you travel north towards Otavalo, keeping an eye out for views of snow-capped Cayambe volcano. Passing through fertile valleys and forests you'll arrive in Otavalo where you'll board a restored steam train for a journey through the Ecuadorian highlands. Enjoy a programme of activities which range from woodcarving, weaving and musical demonstrations to a guided tasting of delicious Ecuadorian specialities, followed by a visit to a rose plantation, as you wind your way back to Quito where you'll spend the night.
Stay: Swissotel Quito (Deluxe)
Meals: B L D
Quito to Riobamba
Departing Quito you'll board the Tren Crucero and head south along the Avenue of Volcanoes to Urbina, which, at 3,609 metres above sea level, is the highest train station in the country. Here you'll visit an interpretation centre about Ecuador's 'Last Ice Man', and enjoy the magnificent views across the slopes of Chimborazo, Ecuador's highest volcano. From here you'll journey by bus to Hosteria Abraspungo for dinner and to spend the night.
Stay: Hosteria Abraspungo, La Andaluza or similar (Superior)
Meals: B L D
Riobamba to Bucay
Transfer to Riobamba station this morning and board the train for the journey to Colta, where you'll visit Balbanera Church, which is thought to be the first church built in Ecuador. From there you'll continue your journey by train to Guamote where you'll enjoy a guided city tour including a visit to the indigenous market, one of the largest and most important markets in the country.
Following lunch you'll rejoin the train for the journey along the famous Devil's Nose, stopping briefly at a viewpoint to appreciate the incredible engineering work that makes this section of track one of the most celebrated stretches of high altitude railway in the world. Continue by train from the high country to the coastal plains and the town of Bucay where you'll spend the night.
Stay: Hosteria D'Franco or similar (Superior)
Meals: B L D
Bucay to Guayaquil
After breakfast you'll depart from Bucay station, heading for Naranjito. Upon arrival, you'll head towards a coastal hacienda via bus, where a cocoa plantation awaits. The history of cocoa and its longstanding relationship with and impact on Ecuador's culture will be explained, before a traditional lunch and chocolate tasting session. Once back at Naranjito, board the train and head towards Yaguachi where you'll disembark and hop onto a steam locomotive. As you chug through rice plantations you'll arrive at Durán, you final stop. Transfer to Guayaquil via bus for a night before heading for the fabled Galapagos Islands.
Stay: Wyndham Guayaquil (Superior)
Take a flight to the Galápagos Islands, which will be yours to explore for the next four days. Staying at the award-winning, eco-friendly Finch Bay on Santa Cruz Island, you'll be just a few metres away from the island's beach, meaning perfect access to the seascapes and wildlife that have engrossed visitors ever since Charles Darwin set foot on the islands in the nineteenth century. Take advantage of the day trips available, go snorkelling in the shallow waters or ask a Wexas consultant on how best to maximise your time. Lunch is included on days 9-11.
Stay: Finch Bay Eco Hotel, Galapagos (Superior)
Meals: B L
After breakfast, you'll transfer to Guayaquil airport in time for your onward flight. Your flight home arrives in the UK the following morning.
Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.
from £4,530 pp. incl. flights
from £4,765 pp. incl. flights
- Complimentary UK airport lounge access
- Return flights from London to Quito and from Guayaquil to London
- Domestic flights between Quito/Guayaquil and the Galapagos islands
- Private transfers in Quito and Guayaquil, shared transfers in the Galapagos
- 3 nights accommodation in a 5* (Deluxe) hotel on a B&B basis
- 3 nights accommodation in typically 3+*/4* (Superior) hotels on a B&B basis
- 4 nights accommodation in a 4* (Superior) hotel on a B&B basis
- 6 lunches and 3 dinners
- Private tour of 'Quito & Center of the World'
- Shared excursions as part of the 'Tren Cruceros' programme
- Tourist control card fee, 1 full day island yacht excursion, 1 full day land exploration with lunch, snorkelling equipment in the Galapagos Islands
Terms & Conditions
Prices are per person based on two people sharing a twin/double room; prices are subject to availability and possible change; normal booking conditions apply.
Meet our experts
Speak to someone who has been there on 020 7590 0692Meet the team