Your Travel Experience with Galapagos PRO
Durán – Yaguachi – Naranjito – Alausí
Our first meeting will be at Duran station where a carefully restored steam locomotive will be waiting to transport us on a journey through time. Roars and whistles recall nostalgic past times when these fabulous machines began to travel along the coastal tracks for the first time, completely changing the history of the country. The first stop will be at the Yaguachi station, the first one built in this railway system, where we will say goodbye to the steam locomotive to make a way for a diesel-electric. Observe the exchange of these impressive machines from outside the maneuver area, then continue through extensive plantations of sugarcane, banana, coffee, pineapple and a countless number of tropical products to Naranjito area.
Your stopover will be at the Hacienda La Danesa, a traditional hacienda on the Ecuadorian coast dating from 1870. Here's an impressive way to show how the cocoa process goes from harvesting to the finished chocolate product. Enjoy a delicious lunch made with local produce then continue your journey onwards.
As the road climbs to the Andes, enjoy a very scenic bus trip which ascends more than 2000 meters in altitude in just 4 hours. During this trip you can witness the abrupt changes of climate, vegetation and geography resulting from the presence of the Andean mountain range. This gives Ecuador an incomparable beauty and biodiversity.
End your first day in the comfort, at your hotel in this small town nestled in the sharp mountains. An evening wander through its streets will give us a feeling of returning several decades in time.
Accommodation in Alausí: 3*El Molino (or equivalent)
Alausí – Devil's Nose – Riobamba
The second day begins with the impressive trip aboard a different train which dates from the twentieth century. This one is ready to descend through the fearsome pass of La Nariz del Diablo (the Devil's Nose); an intricate switch-back that allows the train to descend 511 meters in just 12 kilometers of railway. The Sibambe station awaits down below, bustling with people and different activities in the surroundings. This small community depends solely on the tourist activity from the train.
Back in Alausí, you will have a time for pictures and to visit the local market. The quiet city lost in time of last night, makes way for the scenery of one of the most colorful markets in the area, serving more than a dozen of the surrounding communities. Lunch will be served back on board.
Colta is where the “Black Monster” is ready to pull the train. The black monster is an impressive Baldwin steam locomotive that has been carefully overhauled. There we can visit the country's first church, known as the Balbanera. Meanwhile, the train lovers can take a look at the steam locomotive..
The fields of quinoa, potatoes, onions, corn and other products of these fertile soils decorate the landscape as you wait for the great Chimborazo to show up. The capital city of the province, Riobamba is an enchanting city. Its cobbled streets and squares tell the history of the country at every step and are a perfect setting for a stroll. Accommodation in Riobamba: 4*Andaluza (or equivalent)
Riobamba – La Moya – Urbina – Latacunga
In the morning, the inhabitants of the community of La Moya will introduce you to life in the Andes. See one of the best examples of community organization at work, just as the ancestors taught the different generations. The tour continues towards the Urbina station. Located just over 3,600 meters above sea level, we will get to know the “paramo” ecosystems of the skirts of Chimborazo. Baltazar Ushca, the last ice merchant of Chimborazo, will tell us his story and explain the reasons behind his dedication to his special trade
Your journey continues north along the Avenue of Volcanoes. On this road you can see more than 20 volcanoes and during this breathtaking view you can enjoy a delicious lunch on board. The train will go through the valley near Cotopaxi but on the way, you will enjoy a special celebration on board: a parade full of colors, music and joy that reminds us of the spirit of the Andean communities and their understanding of the world. This parade has been declared national heritage. The final stop of the day will be the Latacunga station.
Accommodation in Lasso: 3*Ciénega (or equivalent)
Latacunga – Cotopaxi National Park – Quito
Within the Cotopaxi National Park, join a moderate walk around the Limpiopungo lagoon where it is possible to find a variety of special plants and birds adapted to the altitude. Certianly bring your camera for this one! Continue along the slopes of Cotopaxi towards our next stop, a typical Andean hacienda where you will be part of the daily activities of it and its dwellers. Upon arrival you will be welcomed by these Andean cowboys, the “Chagras”, who will show their skills as riders and teach you a little of their culture and traditions. The last day of expedition ends at the Eloy Alfaro station with a short walk inside the property accompanied by your expert guide. The capital of Ecuador, the beautiful city of Quito was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Overnight in Quito: 5Swissotel/5Plaza Grande (or equivalent)
Conclude in Quito
After breakfast, your Train of the Clouds program concludes in Quito.