Ecuador, a country recognized for having the greatest biodiversity per square meter in the world, mixes its past and its present in a mythical route of a cruise train that runs through the volcanoes from the Pacific coast to the snowy peaks of the Andes. We started the trip in theCruise Train from Ecuador, a route between volcanoes.
This cruise train It has been named by World Travel Market as the best tourist product outside of Europe. It is not for less, this train moves through the rugged Ecuadorian geography with ascents of 3,600 meters and descents at sea level, amid natural beauties: volcanoes, rivers, lakes, mountains and the mythical Nose of the Devil. A tour with flavor to the trips of yesteryear.Ecuador cruise train - Natalia Cartolini / Flickr.com
History of the train traveling between volcanoes
This incredible train was the work of a distinguished Ecuadorian, José Eloy Alfaro, who counts among his exploits the abolition of slavery, the vote of women and the establishment of secular education. In order to connect the coast with the mountains and the tropical Pacific with the cold Andean mountain range, he built this train, starting an era of modernity to Ecuador.
The works of this infrastructure finished in 1908, resulting in an integration of the regions and the union of two poles that defied the heights of vertigo, something that the difficult Ecuadorian spelling had not allowed.Cruise train - Natalia Cartolini / Flickr.com
In the 80s, heavy rains and floods brought by the El Niño phenomenon, caused damage to several sections of the route, leaving the train in decline since the late 90s.
It was recently restored to become the Cruise Train, a renovated luxury steam train that operates a new service that crosses the Andes between Guayaquil and Quito, the highest capital city in the world.
«Travel is travelers. What we see is not what we see, but what we are. »
Tren Crucero, an elegant railway with the flavor of yesteryearTrain cruise - Ministry of Tourism Ecuador / Flickr.com
The train was restored to offer a complete experience in the fantastic Ecuadorian landscapes. At present includes accommodation in farms scattered along the way, excursions and guided tours in four days and 450 kilometers of crossing. The wagons are provided with cafeteria and excellent services to the traveler.
It's too much beauty: plains, mountains, volcanoes, parks natural, zigzagging roads, rivers, jungles and hidden villages. All this without neglecting patrimonial jewels, markets with handicrafts, multi-ethnic footprint museums and an indigenous cuisine worthy of universal recognition.
The Cruise Train routesCruise train - Natalia Cartolini / Flickr.com
The Cruise Train offers segmented routes that include the Visit sites for recreation and the discovery of nature. One of them is the El Boliche station, next to the Cotopaxi National Park, where direct contact is established with the Ecuadorian people and culture. You can also enjoy picturesque and charming places like Machachi, Guamote or Palmira and several more, which can be known on the different routes:
- Liberty Train
- Volcano Train
- Ice Train I
- Ice Train II
- Devil's Nose Train
- Sweetness Train
- Costa Sierra train
- Quinoa Train
The Devil's NoseDevil's Nose - KalypsoWorldPhotography
The Devil's Nose is one of the most impressive parts of the train journey. It is the result of the maneuver of its builders on the rugged mountains near Alausí, a rock slope at 1,900 meters of altitude, for whose skirts the Cruise Train travels.
Move forward and backward in a vertiginous zigzag that exceeds 400 meters of unevenness in two kilometers away to continue with the trip, transport yourself in time and live the construction of the road at the tip of the peak and shovel, a century ago in the history of this magical country.
The Avenue of the Volcanoes
From the panoramic windows of the railway or, if you are more adventurous, From the open terrace of the Cruise Train, the Ecuadorian mountain range opens, showing the Avenue of the Volcanoes, an inter-Andean corridor that winds between more than seventy parallel volcanoes, 27 of them still active, along 300 kilometers.Cotopaxi Volcano - Ammit Jack
The highest volcano is Chimborazo (6,310 meters), the highest active volcano in the world and the furthest point from the center of the Earth. On their skirts are quinoa, potato or corn fields, which look like multicolored paintings worked by the natives.
You can admire indigenous populations like Alausí, with its houses protected by the statue of San Pedro; Guamote, where the picturesque craft fair is held; or Colta, with its old church and its beautiful lagoon and the Balbanera.
The train, which was once called the most extreme in the world, is today listed as “The most beautiful cruise train in the world”, for the great beauty it shows in its routes, you cannot miss it.