Tuesday, January 12, 2016

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A wonderfull journey in the Tren Crucero - Ecuador

"TREN CRUCERO" by from Ecuador - Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Four days for 450kms would sound too much time,  but if you consider this one of the greatest journeys you can make, you would think it is too short for such a magnificent trip.

The Tren Crucero is a train that takes you from Guayaquil to Quito through the rough ecuatorian geography, with climbs of up to 3600 meters through a route full of natural beauties like volcanoes, rivers, lakes, forests and mountains, but also of natural parks and hidden towns, heritage places, crafts markets, ethnic museums and restaurants of a decent local cuisine of universal recognition.

The train road was constructed at the beginning of the XX Century, today after decades of abandonement the train makes the trip from Guayaquil to Quito and viceversa. Its engine departs at the height of the sea from the Duran Station on the shores of Guayas River, a few kilometers from Guayaquil, the first part of the trip is Duran to the town of Bucay, at the foot of the Andes. In Bucay you can tour the cocoa plantations of Hacienda San Rafael, and also go to the shore of the Limon river to be welcome by the Shuar natives, who emigrated from the Amazonas about seventy years ago and still mantain their ancestral traditions.

After  spending the night at luxurious rooms, the trains continues its journey from Bucay to Riobamba in the second day. At this point of the journey the plains desapear to make place to clouded forests and jagged landscapes of mountains and hidden indigenous peoples.

Inside of Tren Crucero by from Ecuador [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In this part of the journey the major milestone of the trip takes place, the Nariz del Diablo (Devil´s Nose)a slope of rock at 1,900 meters of altitude, on whose slopes the journey of the Tren Crucero turns into a back and forth in a dizzying zigzag.The construction of this section to the edge of the mountain (for which dynamite was used to circumvent the mountain and the snake bites were just one among many other dangers) justifies the nickname of the world's most difficult train.

Nariz del Diablo by Arabsalam [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The third day of the journey is a trip of 300 kilometers  among seventy volcanoes, 27 of them still active, known as the Volcano Avenue, from Urbina to Quito. Urbina Station, located at 3609 meters above the sea, is the place where you will find the last iceman of the Chimborazo volcano, he continues climbing the volcano to exctract the blocks of fossil ice and take them to the market at Riobamba. In this part of the journey there is also walks along the Andean forests.

The final and last day from Quito to Ibarra, it is made by a vapor train, across the Andes in the north of Ecuador. Visiting the woodcarvers in San Antonio, discovering the local cuisine in Andre  Martin,  and the magnificent textiles in San Roque, to then come back to Quito in the afternoon  to finish this amanzing and fantastic journey of the Tren Crucero. 

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