STEAM TRAIN ADVENTURE ON THE G&Q RAILROAD LINE
RAILFAN TOUR - 13 DAYS

 

INCLUDES: 9.5 days of Steam & 3 days of Railcar

DAY 1: TRANSFER IN GUAYAQUIL
Airport Transfer to Hotel.  Welcome to Ecuador Dinner and tour briefing.
O/V Grand Hotel Guayaquil or similar 4 Star Hotel

DAY 2: STEAM CHARTER DURAN TO MILAGRO
Coach transfer across the river from Guayaquil to the Duran workshops. After exploring the workshops we will board steam No 11 and depart for our first run pasts on the streets of Duran. We continue on through a flooded area of rice plantations and marshlands. We will reach the historic town of Yaguachi on km 21 and will continue as far as we can to the town of Milagro. Here we can find several traditional sugar mills that begun operating during the steam era. (B L D)
O/V San Rafael – New  Montubio (Coastal Cowboy Culture) Culture Hotel near Bucay

DAY 3: STEAM CHARTER BUCAY TO HUIGRA
In the morning we head out to Bucay located on the edge of the coastal plains at 300 meters. We visit the Bucay workshops to visit the dilapidated locomotive shed where the coastal steam engines where exchanged for mountain engines to begin the steep climb up the Andes. We board engine No 58 towards Huigra riding through a section that has not seen steam since 1997. The line climbs inside the spectacular Chan Chan River gorge where there is no road access. The vegetation transitions from tropical to cloud forest as it gains altitude all the way to Huigra at 1200 meters. Huigra is the site to the old headquarters of the G&Q and also where John Harman is buried. (B L D)
O/V La Quinta

DAY 4: STEAM CHARTER HUIGRA TO DEVIL’S NOSE AND ALAUSI
We continue our ride from Huigra to Devil’s Nose on our Charter Steam. This section of the line was closed due to a landslide that blew 800 meters of the railway in 1998. The Nose comes to view, an immense natural obstacle that was surmounted by building two spectacular zigzags high on a mountainside. There will be a great photo opportunity for those who wish to climb the hill directly ahead from the Nose. From this point you can get a panoramic view of the zigzags with Sibambe Station. We continue climbing the Andes until we reach the town of Alausi in the late afternoon. (B L D)
O/V La Quinta

DAY 5: STEAM CHARTER ALAUSI TO GUAMOTE
In the morning we will do some run pasts in the colonial Alausi streets. Further ahead there also a spectacular steel bridge we pass over upon leaving town. From this section on we ride high above the Chan Chan river gorge all the way to Palmira, a bleak station at 3200 meters. We continue on with spectacular views of high Andean Plateaus to Guamote, a traditional and very colorful indigenous town where it seems the way of life has not changed for hundreds of years. (B L D)
O/V Riobamba Hotel

DAY 6: STEAM CHARTER GUAMOTE TO RIOBAMBA & WORKSHOPS
We return to Guamote to meet our steam charter to continue our rail journey northwards to Riobamba. We climb through many spectacular landscapes, Indian villages and the Colta Lagoon. From here we get the first sights of the snow capped Chimborazo volcano. We enter the city of Riobamba, a major town located in the centre of the country with a rich colonial history. Riobamba also has the busiest workshop in the G&Q line. (B L D)
O/V Riobamba Hotel

DAY 7: STEAM CHARTER RIOBAMBA TO URBINA
We rejoin our steam charter train with Engine No 53 at Riobamba station where we run on the streets of this busy town before we continue our journey northwards through the Avenue of the Volcanoes. We climb through open moorlands and indigenous communities all the way to Urbina summit, the highest station of the line at 3600 meters. The Urbina Station lies right at the base of the 6,300 meter Chimborazo Volcano, the highest mountain in Ecuador. After a little time to explore and some highland tea, our train will turn around for the ride back to the Riobamba Station. (B L D)
O/V Riobamba Hotel 

DAY 8: STEAM CHARTER RIOBAMBA TO CAJABAMBA

We return to the Riobamba workshops and depart on our steam charter back south towards Cajabamba. We have the opportunity to run this scenic section uphill with the Chimborazo volcano as a backdrop on a clear day. In Cajabamba we visit the Balbanera Church, the oldest in Ecuador which is also the first Spanish settlement dated back to 1534. We return to Riobamba by railcar. In the afternoon we visit the Riobamba railroad museum and also have a city tour of this colonial city, the most interesting after the city of Quito.

DAY 9:  CHARTER AUTOFERRO TO MOCHA & STEAM CHARTER LATACUNGA TO COTOPAXI (BOLICHE)
We head north once more on a charter autoferro from Riobamba to Urbina summit, at 3600 meters. We continue from Urbina descending the Chimborazo slopes through a scenic ravine known as Devil’s Ear and on to Mocha station. Mocha is known for the preparation of the traditional Guinea Pig. We continue from Mocha by coach to recently rehabilitated Latacunga station to meet steam engine No 18. Engine No 18 spent 20 years in Duran Station since it last operated. It was repaired in 2008 before it was shipped back to Quito. We ride through the Inter-Andean valleys and begin our ascent to Cotopaxi Station. The line runs within Cotopaxi National Park through a pine forest. Here you can get awesome views directly across to the highest active volcano in the world standing at 5,900 meters. (B L D)
O/V La Cienega or Similar

DAY 10: STEAM CHARTER BOLICHE TO CHIMBACALLE (QUITO) & WORKSHOP
From Cotopaxi we descend to the Machachi Station through a rich agricultural valley where we find many beautiful colonial haciendas rich in History. We run through Tambillo before entering Quito, finally arriving to beautifully refurbished Chimbacalle Station. In the afternoon we visit the Chiriyacu Workshop. (B L D)
O/V Alameda Real

DAY 11: CITY TOUR, NORTHERN ECUADOR HIGHLIGHTS & OTAVALO MARKET
Morning city tour of Quito to discover its rich heritage, surrounded by impressive hills and mountains the city is known for its architecture, churches, sculptures and carvings. Founded in 1534 the colonial center was designated a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1972. From Quito we transfer by coach to the Imbabura Province in northern Ecuador, home to lakes, lush valleys, volcanoes and traditional indigenous towns and markets. We visit Otavalo, Ecuador’s best known Indian market which offers an excellent market of tapestries, jewelry, ceramics and wood carvings. We settle in our hotel for the evening.
O/V Chorlavi

DAY 12: STEAM IN THE IBARRA WORKSHOPS & RAILCAR TO PRIMER PASO
We reach the Ibarra workshops the starting point of the line that used to reach San Lorenzo, a natural port in the Pacific Coast. This line was built in the 1960s, but only operated for about 20 years before it was interrupted by landslides. Today only the first 40 kilometers run to Primer Paso. However this is a spectacular railway filled with tunnels and bridges which descends through a unique subtropical ecosystem in the Salinas Valley. We light up steam engine No 14 for patio movements and to run a few kilometers in the Las Palmas area, based on line conditions. We continue our tour down to Salinas and Primer Paso where we use a railcar turntable for our trip back to Ibarra. We return to Quito in the late afternoon. (B, L)
O/V Alameda Real

DAY 13: HOTEL AIRPORT TRANSFER

Private transfer from hotel to airport for flights back home. (B)