Ecuador by train holiday, culture and nature

“Ten days travelling as part of a small group through cloud forest, the Andes and along the Pacific coast by train, staying at small, locally owned accommodation along the way.”


Quito | Mindo Cloud Forest | Train journeys with award winning Tren Ecuador | Otavalo | Devil's Nose (Nariz del Diablo) | Guayaquil

Description of Ecuador by train holiday, culture and nature

This Ecuador by train holiday is not only one of the most exciting ways to discover this country but also one of the most modern; the spectacular Tren Ecuador national network having undergone a massive restoration in 2014 to world acclaim. The first two days of the holiday are spent in Quito, the country’s capital, located in the most dramatic position between two volcanic peaks.

From Quito, we head up into the Andean cloud forest around Mindo where we spend two days exploring from an eco lodge base. Then, after returning to Quito, we take our first train ride of the trip, known as the Slow Train Sierra which actually leaves from Otavalo, a bus ride away. This slow steam train takes you north to Ibarra passing some of the country’s most stunning volcanoes en route, including the conical, snow capped Cotopaxi.

This holiday continues across Ecuador with a mix of road and rail transport, one of the other dramatic journeys being the steam train from Riobamba to visit traditional mountain villages, and then on to the stunning Devil's Nose (Nariz del Diablo). This trip descends 800m using a series of switchbacks that take you down through the luscious, mountainous terrain. From high sierra to the lowlands at Bucay, this will be one of the most memorable 56km by rail you will ever take, for all the right reasons.

The railway part of the holiday ends at Naranjito station where we transfer by bus to the Pacific port city of Guayaquil, the largest city in Ecuador with a recently revamped promenade and some superb restaurants.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

01273 823 700 Calling from outside the UK?

Check dates

For departure dates contact us on 01273 823 700
Holiday type

Small group adventure holiday

This trip is run by a company which specialises in only Central and South America holidays. Typically you will be sharing your experiences with between 4-20 like minded travellers (depending on the trip and how many others are booked on it) and you'll have a group leader with you. Whether you are travelling alone, with your partner or with friends its good value, and a great way to meet new people! While itineraries are pre-planned there is some flexibility and you'll have plenty of privacy. This trip will appeal to travellers of all ages who enjoy meeting new people as well as seeing new places, whilst being led by a knowledgeable and enthusiastic leader.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

The refurbished train lines in Ecuador have very little deleterious impact on the natural environment, so its success is to be welcomed and encouraged.
In the Mindo cloud forest you will stay at El Monte Sustainable Lodge which founded and administrates the Mindo Biological Station (MBS). The bio station is located in pristine forest covering mountains with elevations ranging from 1,400 - 2,600m. The bio station itself protects 6,500 hectares of land within the 19,200 hectare Mindo-Nambillo Protected Forest and it is their hope that research into the ecosystems will be an aid to conservation. The lodge welcomes nature-loving tourists, groups and researchers.

The Impacts of this Trip

The Ecuadorian government invested heavily in the refurbishment of the Tren Crucero, with the aim of opening up new regions to low impact tourism. The train makes several stops at little villages specialising in artisan crafts where you have the opportunity to make purchases providing much needed funds to the communities.

The group stays in old hacienda properties which offer the guests a chance to learn about the traditional farming culture and methods of rural Ecuador as well as sample a lot of the food they grow and source locally. One specific visit takes passengers to a Cacao plantation in the lowlands of Ecuador so that they can learn about the history of the crop and its effect on Ecuadorian culture.

We use local tour leaders and guides on this trip as it is a specialised journey with a specific interest. The guides and tour leaders are all locally trained and Ecuadorian.


Popular similar holidays

Galapagos adventure holiday

Galapagos adventure holiday

An active Galapagos Islands adventure holiday

From £4424 10 days excluding flights

Galapagos land based adventure holiday

Galapagos land based adventure holiday

Amazing wildlife, both on land and underwater

From £2600 - £2935 10 days excluding flights

Ecuador holidays, Andes to Amazon

Ecuador holidays, Andes to Amazon

Ecuador's landscapes & wildlife

From £3049 - £3849 15 days including UK flights

Galapagos multi activity holiday

Galapagos multi activity holiday

An amazing adventure Galapagos Multi-sports

From £3050 7 days excluding flights