Your Travel Experience with Galapagos PRO
Quito – Boliche - Cotopaxi - Lasso
Your journey begins at Chimbacalle Station in southern Quito. From here, take the train along the legendary Avenue of Volcanos to Boliche. The active and inactive volcanoes Pichincha, Atacazo, Pasochoa, La Viudita and Rumiñahui run alongside this railway line. If weather permits, you will have a spectacular view of the Ecuadorian plateau from here.
After arriving in Boliche, transfer to a bus that will take you to a rose farm where you can learn about the cultivation of the famous beautiful roses that are exported from Ecuador all over the world.
After lunch, take a bus to Cotopaxi National Park. The world's highest active volcano has awakened in August 2015 and now regularly spits ashes into the air. Its fantastic geological shape of this snow-capped conical volcano has made it a kind of landmark of the country. The Limpiopungo Lagoon can be circumnavigated in a magnificent one-hour walk to observe waterfowl and the breathtaking mountain views. If you are lucky, you will also see wild horses. Afterwards drive to Lasso and spend the night in the 4* Hacienda La Cienega (or equivalent).
Lasso – Latacunga – Urbina – Riobamba
After breakfast, take the bus to Latacunga, where you will board the train again and ride to Urbina. At 3,609 m above sea level, Urbina is the the highest point of our journey. At Urbina Station, wait for local legend Baltazar Ushca - the man who withstands freezing temperatures, climbing to 4,000 meters to cut off the ancient ice from the sides of "Taita" (Father) Chimborazo and transport it down the mountain. This is a decades old tradition was once a booming trade in the Andes, when up to a hundred “ice merchants” were climbing the Chimborazo. Before the widespread use of refrigerators and freezers, Spanish hacienda owners would send their indigenous slaves to seek ice from the glacier in order to keep food fresh. While visiting the station in Urbina, Baltazar tells you that he is the last Ecuadorian to continue the tradition of once a week climbing the Taita Chimborazo and asking the mountain for ice. He make the 5 hour hike to his Ice mine, collects the ice and polishes it to a cube shape, then carries it down to the market where it is sold for $5. The ice is said to have healing properties.
Continue by train to Jatari, from where you can take a short hike to Comunidad de la Moya, where you can get to know the community and have lunch. Afterwards you will be taken by bus back to the train station in Jatari and from there by train to Riobamba. After a short visit to the city, you will be transferred to your hotel.
Spend the night in the 4* Hacienda Abraspungo (or equivalent).
Riobamba - Colta - Guamote - Alausi - Devil's Nose
Pulled by a steam locomotive, you'll set off for Colta to Guamote, where you will visit one of the last indigenous Andean markets. Exotic fruits, animals, colorful dresses, hats and blankets are offered for sale by the mountain farmers, and the exotic scents of authentic stews waft to every corner, as they are sold by women in their colorful outfits.
During the journey to Palmira, lunch will be served on board. From the train station in Palmira you will be taken to Alausi by bus. From the train station in Alausí, take the famous train to the "Nariz del Diablo" or Devil's Nose - a 100-meter-high promontory over the Chanchan Gorge. An ingenious construction and arrangement of the tracks allows the train to zigzag the almost vertical wall to climb the devil's nose.
Spend the night at the 3* Hotel El Molino (or equivalent).
Alausi – Huigra – Bucay – Duran (Guayaquil)
After breakfast, take the bus from Alausi to Huigra, where you make a short stop to visit the ancient train station. Continue by bus to the cute town of Bucay, where you are welcomed by a dance group.
Take the bus to Hacienda La Danesa. During the trip you can already admire the first of the banana, pineapple, cocoa and coffee plantations. The Hacienda La Danesa was founded in 1870 close to the former train station in the Montubio region on the Ecuadorian coast between the towns of Naranjito and Bucay, just before you reach the ridges of the Andes Mountains. Learn about cocoa farming in Ecuador and enjoy lunch there.
Continue by train from San Antonio to Yaguachi, Ecuador's first train station. The steam locomotive take you along the last stretch to Duran. After you arrive at the train station of Duran, you will be taken by bus to selected hotels in Guayaquil.
Conclude in Guayaquil
After breakfast, your Train of Wonders program in Guayaquil ends at the hotel.