The journey starts in the Northern Andes in Otavalo. From Quito the trip continues to the coast and you will have the chance to meet locals, experience traditional cultures, and to see rose plantations. The tour comprises of a climb of the Chimborazo volcano and views of a cloud forest and tropical plantations. Also, will you have the chance to see the spectacular Devil’s Nose. This train trip leaves you with a memorable experience of beautiful landscapes, gastronomy crafts and folklore.
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We depart Quito early in the morning for a one-and-a-half drive north. In Otavalo, home of a millenary market, a carefully restored steam engine awaits us.
At a slow pace we will discover the many wonders hidden in this part of the country: musicians, painters, weavers and the skillful woodcarvers who keep the renowned Quito School style alive. After a tasting of traditional Andean cuisine and a visit to very special export-class rose plantation we return to Quito.
Quito – Otavalo – San Roque – Andrade Marin – San Antonio – Ibarra
6:30 am Departure from Swissôtel.
*Otavalo-Ibarra with steam engine.
*Quito-Otavalo/ Ibarra-Quito by tourist bus
San Roque: Music and textile weaving
Andrade Marín: Visit to Imbabura Textiles Museum
San Antonio: Woodcarvers
Cayambe: Roses and Lunch
Return trip to Quito, dinner and night
We board our convoy at Quito Chimbacalle station and begin our journey south along the Avenue of Volcanoes. If the weather permits, you can spot up to twenty volcanoes from the train –most extinct or dormant for centuries.
Here, the Andes range splits into two arms that run parallel down south. The fertile valley trapped between these stone walls hosts a treasure trove of biodiversity. From the comfort of our panoramic cars we watch the change of vegetation and landscape as we slowly climb the Andean highlands to Urbina, the highest point in our itinerary at 11,800 feet above sea level. In the skirts of mount Chimborazo we meet the last ice-merchant and learn the story of his ancestral trade.
Quito – Boliche – Ambato – Urbina
6:30 am Departure from Swissôtel to Chimbacalle Train Station
Andean Forest trail in El Boliche recreational natural area.
Lunch on Board
Urbina: Artisans’ Square and meeting with The Last ice Merchant of Chimborazo.
Dinner and night in Riobamba
We depart Riobamba towards Colta, where the Spanish conquerors built their first settlement in Ecuador. We cross colorful quinoa fields painted in purples, yellows and reds, alternating with endemic species of flora and wildlife, indigenous settlements and the remains of ancient cultures.
We visit Guamote market, one of the last indigenous markets in the Andes, before continuing south towards the mythical Devil’s Nose pass. A vertiginous descent of 450metres zig zag takes us from the Andean highlands down towards the coastal plains.
We continue our descent along the narrow Chanchán river gorge and crossing an impressive cloud forest towards the temperate city of Bucay.
Riobamba – Colta – Guamote – Alausi – Mirador Nariz del Diablo – Bucay
*Riobamba – Colta with steam engine.
Guamote: ancestral Andean market. Visit.
Lunch on Board
Alausi: Devil’s Nose descent and Pistishi lookout
Bucay: Dinner and night
The landscape changes again as the train leaves the tropical forest behind. Rice, sugar cane, pineapple and banana plantations pass before our eyes.
We have lunch at a traditional hacienda, where we can learn about the growing and harvesting of the best cocoa bean in the world. Later, the steam engine whites its way across the fields towards the shores of the Pacific Ocean and the end of our trip in a hotel in Guayaquil for overnight.
Bucay – Naranjito – Yaguachi – Durán (Guayaquil)
Cocoa and chocolate tasting in Hacienda
Montubio culture exhibition
Yaguachi to Duran with steam engine.
Transfer to the hotel in Guayaquil for overnight.