Ecuador's historic 'Tren Crucero' completes renovation

FE Online Posted online: Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014 at 0000 hrs
Mumbai : Renovation of the Tren Crucero has now been completed, offering visitors the opportunity to

experience the fascinating culture, diversity and flavours of Ecuador. The train itself comprises a

reconditioned steam engine and four restored carriages, built in Spanish Baroque style. Passengers also

have the option to stay overnight in hacienda style hotels along the route.

Dubbed as the "Most Difficult Train in the World", the construction in the late 1800s of the Tren

Crucero was an engineering marvel. The route crosses dramatic and challenging landscapes as it

advances from Guayaquil, at sea level, to the cloud forests at the heights of the Andes. Its highest

point reaches almost 12,000 feet (3,600 meters) on the slopes of Chimborazo, the highest mountain in

Ecuador, and continues through valleys, rivers and mountains, through the Avenue of the Volcanoes,

with over ten volcanoes, and ends in Quito, Ecuador's capital, which was the first city declared a

UNESCO World Heritage site, in 1978.

The three-day/four-night train journey travels 280 miles (450 km). Throughout the journey, guests will

overnight in traditional haciendas and be accompanied by knowledgeable bi-lingual guides who will

share the secrets of this ancient land.

The route can be taken in either direction - from Guayaquil to Quito or from the Andes to the Pacific

Coast. It is also possible to select segments of the trip, which could include visits to incomparable sites

for outdoor activities and natural wonders such as El Boliche Station near Cotopaxi National Park.

In addition to the passing scenery, each station, hacienda stay or stroll through indigenous markets

brings visitors close to the Ecuadorian culture and its people. The renowned Devil's Nose is the

route's most exciting moment and an engineering masterpiece. To pass through the craggy mountains

near Alausi, the train travels in reverse along the cliffs, stopping in the middle of the steep slope and

zigzagging for three miles (two km) with a drop of 1,300 feet (400 meters) before continuing with the