Tren Crucero

The 100-year-old railway system of Ecuador has recently been revived to offer travel not only along the switchbacks of the infamous Devil’s Nose, but also a new scenic journey all the way from the Andean highlands down to the steamy coastal plains. The restored heritage train, Tren Crucero, has four beautifully refurbished carriages pulled for much of the journey by an early 20th-century steam locomotive.

This new luxury train experience includes overnight stays in traditional haciendas or hotels and guided ‘off-train’ side trips to places of interest en-route. Take a rail journey on a restored heritage train. Start high in the Andes and wind down to the coast, pulled part of the way by a vintage steam locomotive.

Day one and two – Quito: spend two nights in Quito and take a city tour. (B)

Day three – to Cotopaxi: travel by train into the Avenue of the Volcanoes. Visit Cotopaxi National Park. Stay overnight at a historic hacienda such as La Cienega or Hato Verde. (L, D)

Day four – to Riobamba: visit a fair-trade rose plantation and the Ice Men Interpretation Centre. Stay overnight in Riobamba. (B, L, D)

Day five – to Bucay: today the train is pulled by a vintage steam locomotive. Visit the church at Balbanera and Guamote market, then lunch to Alausi and descend the switchbacks of the infamous Devil’s Nose. Stay overnight at a local lodge in Huigra or a small hotel in Bucay. (B, L, D)

Day six and seven – to Duran and Guayaquil: walk through the cloud forest and visit an indigenous community. After lunch at a coastal hacienda, continue by steam train to Duran. Transfer by road to Guayaquil for an overnight stay at the Wyndham Guayquil or similar. (B, L)

Meal basis: as per itinerary – B: breakfast; L: lunch, D: dinner; N: no meals

Note: this is a suggested itinerary, which can be tailored to suit your needs. Prices are based on two people travelling and sharing a twin-room, and are intended as a guideline only and will vary according to time of year.

Extensions: you can extend your trip with a stay at a historic hacienda in the highlands or a visit to the charming colonial town of Cuenca. Take a cruise in the Galapagos or the Ecuadorian Amazon. Alternatively, stay at Casa Ceibo on the Pacific Coast near Manta, either to unwind or take nature excursions, including whale-watching (mid-June to early November).