From the fertile plains in the coast we climb to the highlands in the Andes through the mythical Devil’s Nose pass. Riding across the Avenue of Volcanoes we reach Quito, Cultural World Heritage by UNESCO, to continue to Otavalo, amidst the Northern Andes, where we will explore the quichua culture, skills and traditions and have lunch in a very singular hacienda, amidst export-class roses. In the evening we return to Quito, where our services end.
Day 1 - Duran – Yaguachi – Naranjito – Bucay
We depart from Durán in the coast early in the morning, our heritage convoy pulled by a vintage steam engine. We switch engines in Yaguachi and continue across rice, sugar cane, banana and pineapple plantations to Naranjito.
Lunch is served in a traditional hacienda, where we will learn about the best cocoa bean in the world and taste home-made chocolate. After a show of Montubio culture we continue our trip towards Bucay. If the day is clear, we will get tour first glimpse of the Andes in the distance.
Day 2 – Bucay – Huigra – The Devil’s Nose – Alausí – Colta – Riobamba
As we travel along the canyon of river Chanchán the vegetation and temperature change abruptly. The cloud forest clears out and the sparse vegetation of the highlands takes its place, while the stone walls of the Andes loom in the horizon.
The train makes a stop at Pistishi lookout, where we can get a good glimpse of the impressive feat of engineering ahead of us, before start the daunting climb of mythical Devil’s nose. After a 450 meter climb in barely 12 kilometers of dizzying zig zag the train finally reaches the quaint village of Alausi, in the Andes.
We continue our journey to Riobamba, crossing colorful quinoa fields. In Colta we visit the indigenous community of Palacio Real, where we learn about llama breeding.
We arrive in Riobamba pulled by a powerful steam engine, with time to visit the Train Station Artisans’ Square before heading to our hotel.
Day 3 – Riobamba – Urbina – Boliche – Quito
We depart for Urbina, the highest point in our itinerary at 3600m.a.s.l. There, in the eastern flanks of Chimborazo volcano awaits the last ice merchant, to tell the tale of his ancestral trade.
Then we ride north along the Avenue of Volcanoes, the fertile valley sheltered between the two arms of the Andes mountain range. In clear days you can spot up to twenty volcanoes from the comfort of your seat. In the skirts of Cotopaxi volcano we will explore a singular Andean forest trail before continuing our ride towards Quito, with its UNESCO World Heritage old quarter.
Day 4 – Quito – Otavalo – Ibarra – Quito
Our journey continues to the Northern Andes. In Otavalo, home to a millenary market, we board the train, pulled by a lovingly restored steam engine. During the day we will discover the culture, traditions, music, gastronomy, paintings and the antique skill of woodcarving, learned from the renowned masters of the Quito carving school, back in the XVIIth century. After having lunch in a very singular hacienda, we head back to Quito and the end of our services.