Travelling the Tren Crucero

By | Category: Travel destinations

To many, the lure of the train is one of life’s mysteries. Commuters often view them as a necessary evil. Occasional travellers fail to see the glamour of trains gone by. But enough are transfixed, so that any newly launched train journey will attract them.

So the Tren Crucero, a luxury train that starts running tours in June from Quito to Guayaquil in Ecuador, should quickly become a significant tourist attraction. Especially since the price is cheaper than you might expect from an up-market trip. The train service started last year as an ordinary service for travellers but it is the arranged tours that will attract overseas visitors. To increase the appeal a steam train will haul the tours whilst colourfully painted diesels provide the regular services

For a four-day excursion which includes the journey, excursions, accommodation as well as all food, the price is under £130 per day. When you consider that a lunch and a trip on a steam engine in the UK can cost up to £300 for a half day, this seems good value. So what do you get?

On day one the steam-engine hauled train travels just 78km but that is because there will be an excursion to the Cotpaxi National Park, a visit to an indigenous festival and lunch in an historic hacienda. Day two takes you into the mountains and you’ll pause to visit a flower growing site and an indigenous centre where you will learn more of the Chimborazo ice people.

The luxury interior

But it is on day three that you get to the peak of Chimborazo and stop where you can gaze at the views. This day also stops for lunch at a Guamote market and a trip on another train, the Nariz del Diablo(the devil train’s nose!) Dropping down from the mountains on the fourth day you head for the coast via the Cloudy forest (Bosque Nublado) and a visit to the Shuar’s. Lunch in a hacienda follows and the journey ends as you transfer to Guayaquil.

The re-opening of this line has been a personal aim of Rafael Correa, the president of Ecuador. Before the reinstatement of the line the jungle had overgrown the old line, mudslides had blocked areas and it could have disappeared into the undergrowth. Now there will be themed luxury coaches to take passengers on the 400km trip.
The tours begin this June. Less thana dozen are planned this year but additional ones will be added if there is demand and, quite frankly, I cannot imagine that there will not be. There are just four coaches carrying a maximum of 54 people by only 20 are needed per trip to schedule new ones so some enterprising tour operator will surely jump in and package the tours from the our countries.

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For more information or Ecuador, click here

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