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Railway Journeys of South America

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Overview

The railway boom came to South America quite early. In 1851 Chile was the first country in the region to open a line of 80km from Caldera to Copiapó. Lines followed across the continent over the next century, and many credit Argentina’s boom as a major food producer due to its railway system in the late 19th century. The trains were mainly built by the British, and include some wonderful works of engineering, particularly in the Andean region. The pass at Ticlio on the no longer operating Lima to Huancayo route is the highest railway pass in the world, at over 4,800 metres above sea level. The coming of the railways to South America has left a profound mark on the continent, responsible for the immigration of many migrant workers from Asia, namely Japan and China. This Asian immigration continues to influence society today in commerce, politics and the regions cuisine. This is especially marked in countries such as Peru and Brazil that have a large Asian diaspora, much of it stemming from the railway boom that gripped the continent in the late 19th century.

Here at Chimu Adventures we have put together a journey that features some of South America’s most iconic railway journeys, from Argentina to Bolivia, Peru to Ecuador – this is a journey like no other.

Join us on this unique adventure and experience the majesty of South America from the comfort of your seat. Pass alongside charming Andean villages and through spectacular cloud forest, and witness first-hand the marvel of engineering and the impact it has had on this incredible diverse continent.

Trip Code: LATSRJSA

Location: Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador

WHY YOU'LL LOVE THIS ITINERARY

  • This itinerary is a unique adventure that allows you to experience the majesty of South America by train.

  • This itinerary takes you to explore some of the incredible scenery around Salta, including the winemaking region of Cafayate, Purmamarca and Humahuaca Valley.

  • You will ride aboard the Train to the Clouds from San Antonio de los Cobres to Polvorilla Viaduct at 4,200m.

  • The itinerary takes you to Uyuni aboard the classic Expreso del Sur and Wara trains where you experience the breathtaking Uyuni Salt Flats.

  • You will discover the fascinating cities of Potosi, Sucre, La Paz and Puno before travelling aboard the luxury Belmond Andean Explorer to Cusco, one of the highest and most beautiful train routes in the world, across the Andean Altiplano.

  • The itinerary also includes the Inca Rail Train to Machu Picchu, the Avenue of the Volcanoes train in Ecuador and the classic steam locomotive from Riobamba, including the famous Devil’s Nose switchbacks.

ITINERARY INSPIRATION

On arrival, please make your way through to the Arrivals Hall where our representative will be waiting for you to transfer you to your hotel. This service includes a driver and local English speaking guide, who will provide you with any useful information needed for your stay. He/she will be holding a sign with your name on it. Should you not be able to locate them, please refer to the front of your itinerary for emergency contact details of our representative office.

Arrival transfer in Salta

This city deserves at least one full day to explore it. Our premium shared half day city tour will take you on a tour of the main highlights of the city, such as the excellent MAAM (entrance fee not included), a fascinating museum built to house the mummified remains of three sacrificed Inca children found on a nearby mountain top. The afternoon will be at your leisure.

Salta Half Day City Tour

Heading south from Salta on route 68, we cross the Lerma Valley passing through historical towns reaching the Quebrada de las Conchas (the Shells Gorge), where wind and water erosion have carved curious shapes on the bright red rocks. Arriving at Cafayate, we visit wineries, famous for their production of Torrontes, a slighlty sweet yet crisp white wine. After lunch we return to Salta through the Quebrada de las Conchas and the Lerma Valley.

Full Day Salta - Cafayate with Return to Salta

Today you will be collected from your hotel for the journey to San Antonio de los Cobres. You will travel along National Route 51, through the cities of Campo Quijano and Gobernador Solá, making a few stops including one at Alfarcito, where you have a country breakfast with local products. The journey then continues through the Quebrada de las Cuevas and the Muñano plain to reach San Antonio de los Cobres.

Here you will transfer to the railway station, where you board the Train to the Clouds at midday. Construction of this classic train began in the early nineties, with completion in 1948, but it was not until 1972 that it came into use as a tourist train. Richard Maury, the engineer who was in charge of the project avoided the use of toothed wheels. Instead he based the design on the principal of adherence of the train wheels to the tracks. The steepest parts of the tracks were arranged in a system of spirals and switchbacks. The tracks reach a height of 4,220 metres above sea level, making this one of the highest railway lines in the world. The Train to the Clouds carries a maximum of 468 passengers and reaches a maximum speed of 35 kilometres per hour.

Departing San Antonio de los Cobres, the train travels for an hour before it crosses the Polvorilla viaduct, the most amazing point of the route. The viaduct sits at 4,200 metres above sea level, and is one of the most impressive works of engineering of the last century. Back at San Antonio de los Cobres you board the bus and return by the same route to the city of Salta.

San Antonio de los Cobres & Train to the Clouds

The journey leaves from Salta, but really begins once you reach Purmamarca, some three hours north, a typical Andean town more reminiscent of Peru than Argentina. There is time to see the Seven Colour Hill, the Church and the bustling craft market on the square, and to take a stroll along the town’s narrow streets. You then head up the winding road of the Lipan Mountain to the Salinas Grandes - the Great Salt Flat, an immense expanse of salt as far as the eye can see. You continue back to Purmamarca, where you overnight.

Salta Salt Flats & Purmamarca

The journey leaves from Purmamarca, and continues towards the town of Tilcara where you visit the Pucará, a group of ancient ruins, built by the tilcaras (natives) as a fortress. Then you head to the mountain town of Huacalera, located in Jujuy province which has a monolith dedicated to the Tropic of Capricorn, at the point through which it passes. From there the colours of La Pollera de la Coya Hill can be seen, with great photographic opportunities as the light should be perfect at that time of day. After visiting Humahuaca and the Independence Monument you head to La Quiaca, where you overnight.

Humahuaca Valley with drop off at La Quiaca

La Quiaca is a city situated on the plateau of Jujuy Puna on the Argentinian-Bolivian frontier. It is separated from Bolivia by La Quiaca River with the Bolivian town of Villazón to the north. It is set in a valley surrounded by hills.

The city attracts tourists due to the wonderful landscapes, the fascinating adobe buildings, the mythical regional celebrations that pay homage to the mother land, Pachamama - and also due to its people, the coyas - who wear a wide variety of colours on their clothes.

Arrival in La Quiaca

Today you will be transferred from La Quiaca across the Argentinean-Bolivian border. After clearing immigration you will be transferred to the town of Villazon in Bolivia, where you will begin a train journey to Uyuni. The train is scheduled to depart at 15.40, arriving into Uyuni just before midnight. The Expreso del Sur and Wara trains are classic trains that cover the route between Villazon and Uyuni, depending on the day of the week. The trains are fairly basic, with 6 passenger wagons featuring comfortable seats and a dining wagon.

On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel in Uyuni.

Uyuni, founded in 1889 by Bolivian president Aniceto Arce, is still an important military base. It lies in south-western Bolivia, 3,670 metres above sea level and situated on the edge of the Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flat in the world. The Salar de Uyuni covers over 10,000 square kilometres of the Bolivian Altiplano and is fringed by the mountains of the Andes. Beneath it lies the world’s largest lithium reserve estimated to be about 100 million tons and accounting for around 70% of the world’s lithium reserves. The salt in the salt flats is over 120 metres deep. The area is remote, arid and cold, stark, yet stunning, boasting extraordinary beauty and a silence that is captivating.

La Quiaca to Villazon – Train to Uyuni

Today after breakfast, we head south, first visiting the Train Cemetery on the outskirts of Uyuni. Uyuni was an important transportation hub and in the late 19th century, rail lines were built by British engineers and the trains carried minerals to the Pacific Ocean ports. After the collapse of the mining industry in the 1940’s, many 19th and 20th century steam locomotives were abandoned outside Uyuni with the resulting Train Cemetery. The salt winds have led to the corrosion of the metal.

We continue on to Colchani village, where we observe the methods of salt extraction and salt processing. We then set out across the salts flats, a vast natural wonder that extends for over 10,000 square kilometres. We drive for 2 hours to Incahuasi Island (better known as Fish Island) - an oasis with a unique and isolated ecosystem that features algae and fossils. The area is covered with giant columnar cacti up to 10 metres high, some over 100 years old. Against the backdrop of the salt flats extending to the horizon, this landscape makes for spectacular photos. A picnic lunch is included.

In the afternoon we continue north to visit the pre-Columbian Pucara de Ayque fort and the nearby chullpares in the foothills of Thunupa volcano. Finally, we return to Uyuni for the night with dinner included at the hotel.

Full Day Salt Flats Uyuni

Today we make the 3-4 hour journey by private transport from Uyuni to Potosi. The drive takes us across the Andes and through a colourful landscape of eroded rocks and giant cacti, past remote villages where the people are dedicated to basic agriculture and past the Pulacayo tin mine. As we approach Potosi you will see the famous Cerro Rico from afar.

Potosi lies at the foot of the 4,824m Cerro de Potosi or Cerro Rico ("Rich Mountain"). It was founded in 1545 after the discovery of the rich silver deposits in the Cerro Rico that lured Spanish conquistadors here. It was the major supply of silver for Spain during the New World Spanish Empire and it soon became one of the largest and wealthiest cities in the Americas.

Potosi is the world’s highest city, located at 4,090 metres above sea level. The city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 for its architecture and colonial charm. The wealthy history of Potosi is still reflected in the narrow streets, colonial mansions and the many churches. It was for centuries the location of the Spanish colonial mint.

On arrival we take a city tour of Potosi, stepping back in time as we explore the old colonial streets. We visit the artisan market and the Casa de la Moneda (Royal Mint) where the wooden machinery used to make silver coins for Spain during colonial times can be seen. We see the San Francisco Church and the front of San Lorenzo Church that has one of the greatest examples of stone carvings of the baroque-mestizo style.

We then tour the Cerro Rico mine. This unique excursion gives visitors the opportunity to experience an unforgettable trip underground, to see the living and working conditions of the Bolivian miners (protective clothing and helmets are provided).

Cerro Rico (Rich Mountain) was famous for providing vast quantities of silver to the Spanish and resulted in Potosi becoming one of the largest cities of the New World. Even though the mines have been depleted of silver, they are still mined to this day. Conditions for the workers are very poor and many of the miners contract silicosis caused by lack of protective equipment resulting in constant inhalation of dust.

Uyuni to Potosi

Today you travel by bus from Potosi to Sucre. From the highlands you descend to the lower valleys and warmer climes of Sucre, passing the old bridge of Puente Arce and the Pilcomayo River.

The Ferrobus or ‘buscarril’ is basically a bus with train wheels that runs on tracks. It is very basic but classic featuring basic quality seats. Although slower than a regular bus, the Ferrobus offers spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.

On arrival you will be transferred from the bus station to your hotel.

Sucre is the constitutional and official capital of Bolivia and it was here that independence was proclaimed in 1825. It is known as the “City of Four Names” as it is also called Charcas, La Plata and Chuquisaca. It is nicknamed “La Ciudad Blanca” (The White City) due to its many white-washed colonial style houses and structures. Founded in the 16th century by Spanish colonials, the city lies in southern central Bolivia at an elevation of 2,810 metres, giving it a cool, temperate year-round climate. The city preserves a wealth of colonial architecture and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991.

Potosi to Sucre

The half day city tour introduces you to the charming colonial city of Sucre. The tour includes a visit to the Casa de la Libertad, where the Act of Independence of Bolivia was signed in 1825. You will also visit Bolivar Park, to see examples of the aristocratic tradition in Sucre with small replicas of the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triumph of Paris. Also included is a visit to the church and museum of La Recoleta and the Museum of Indian Textiles (ASUR).

Half Day Sucre City Tour

This morning you will be transferred from Sucre along the Yamparaez route to Alcantari airport for your flight to La Paz. On arrival you will be transferred to your hotel in La Paz

El Alto airport is the highest International airport in the world at 4,080m/13.115 ft. above sea level. The drive from the airport to the hotel offers good views of the city of La Paz and nearby snow-capped mountains.

La Paz has a spectacular setting in a deep bowl surrounded by snow-capped mountains of the Altiplano. It lies in the shadow of the towering 6,438m high Mt. Illimani, always snow-covered and visible from many parts of the city. The city (from the main square) is 3,636 metres above sea level but the neighbouring city of El Alto where La Paz International Airport is located lies at over 4,000 metres. Some of the highlights of La Paz itself include Plaza Murillo, San Francisco Church and the ’’Witches Market’’ where vendors sell dried llama foetuses and frogs, dried llama dung, herbs, remedies and other ingredients used in Aymara traditions and rituals.

Today we visit Tiwanaku ruins. Tiwanaku is a 1.5 hour drive from La Paz, located near the southern shores of Lake Titicaca on the Altiplano, at an altitude of 3,850 metres. Tiwanaku was the spiritual and political centre of the Tiwanaku culture that dates back to 1500BC - 1000AD. It was one of the most important pre-Inca civilizations and considered to be among the most developed at the time. The Tiwanaku people were outstanding in agriculture, hydraulics, architecture and medicine, as well as in social organization, but due to an economic crisis caused by a long dry season, Tiwanaku collapsed around 1,000 AD.

The city of Tiwanaku was the capital of this powerful pre-Hispanic empire that dominated a large area of the southern Andes and beyond, reaching its height between 500 and 900 AD. Most of the ancient city, built largely from adobe, has been overlaid by the modern town. The monumental stone buildings of the ceremonial centre, however, survive in the protected archaeological zones.

The main constructions visited during this tour include the Kalasasaya Temple and the Gate of the Sun constructed out of stone, Ponce and Fraile monoliths, the Pyramid of Akapana and the semi-underground temple.

We also visit two local museums to view pottery and stone work and to learn more about the culture.

Sucre to La Paz

The city tour takes you through the street markets rich in handicrafts and weavings and to the Witches Market where locals buy supplies for ritual ceremonies like the Ch'alla and offerings to Pachamama (Mother Earth). Next we visit the colonial section of the city where you will see the San Francisco Church, Gold Museum and Murillo Square. You will also visit the "Mirador de Killi" viewpoint and the outdoor replica of Tiwanaku Temple.

The tour then passes through the modern, affluent residential area of the city and heads out to visit the Valley of the Moon, where a clay mountain has been impressively shaped by erosion resulting in a formation that resembles the face of the moon.

At the end of the tour you will be returned to your hotel.

La Paz City Tour & Valley of the Moon

From La Paz we travel by private vehicle, journeying north through the highlands and parallel to the Andes Royal Range until we reach Copacabana, about a 3 ½ hour drive. Copacabana is a pleasant town on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Nestled between two hills at 3,880 metres above sea level, some believe that the name Copacabana is derived from the Aymara “kota kawana”, meaning "view of the lake”. The crystal clear waters surrounded by white capped mountains provide an extraordinary setting. Copacabana is famous for its large 16th century cathedral, a dazzling white Moorish-style cathedral with domes and colourful ceramic tiles that dominates the tiny town. The church houses the famous "Virgen Morena".

We stroll around the town and visit the church before taking a boat to the legendary Island of the Sun (1 hour). We head to Huacani to have an Aptapi (typical highland lunch). We then continue by boat to the ruins of Pilkokaina Inca Temple. Finally we hike for an hour to La Estancia, with wonderful views of Lake Titicaca.

Dinner is included tonight.

La Paz - Copacabana - Island of the Sun

We recommend that you get up early to see the sunrise.

This morning after breakfast, we hike down through Yumani visiting the Inca stairs and the Water of the Eternal Youth. We then head north by boat for 1 hour to visit Chincana ruins and the Sacred Rock. We continue by boat to the Island of the Moon. Here we visit the ruins of Iñak Uyu Inca temple, returning by boat to Copacabana (1 ½ hours). Lunch is included at a local restaurant.

From Copacabana you will be taken by private transport to Puno with wonderful views of Lake Titicaca along the way (3 hours).

Puno lies on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world. It is the largest city in the Southern Altiplano and an important agricultural and livestock (llamas and alpaca) region. It sits at an altitude of over 3,800 metres and is a picturesque hillside city and a melting pot of the Aymara and Quechua culture.

La Chincana-Island of the Moon-Copacabana-Puno

This morning, you will be collected from your hotel and transferred to either the bus or train station for your journey from Puno to Cusco.

Transfer from Puno hotel to bus or train station

The journey from Puno to Cusco is made aboard the deluxe classic Andean Explorer that travels along one of the highest and most beautiful train routes in the world, across the high Andean Altiplano. The luxury train features an observation car with open-air deck, a lounge car with comfortable seating and bar and two dining cars where gourmet seasonal dishes are served, made using locally-sourced ingredients from the Peruvian Andes. The train carries up to 48 passengers. There are four types of cabin - Deluxe double, Junior double, Twin bed and Bunk bed, all with private bathrooms and showers.

The Belmond Andean Explorer departs from Puno at 11:00 am. As Lake Titicaca fades into the distance, settle into the Observation Car to gaze out across the Altiplano, the highest plains of the Andes, or maybe breathe in the crisp Andean air from the open deck as you travel through the ever-changing landscapes towards Cusco. Lunch is taken in the elegant dining carriages.

The train continues towards La Raya that marks the border between the Cusco and Puno regions. It is the highest point on the route at just over 4,300 metres, with spectacular views of the Andes.

Relax over afternoon tea as you absorb the spectacular scenery and watch the landscape changing colours with the setting sun. Dinner is taken on board, as the train continues towards Cusco, arriving in the Cusco region at night.

Puno to Cusco

As you relax over breakfast, the train wends its way into the beautiful city of Cusco, former capital of the Inca Empire and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Cusco

On arrival into the Cusco Poroy Train Station you will be transferred to your hotel in the city.

Arrival transfer in Cusco

You will be collected from your hotel for a sightseeing tour through Cusco, the heart of the Inca Empire. Visit the fascinating Qorikancha Temple of the Sun, the 12-Angled Rock and the Cathedral, built on the ruins of an Inca Palace. From here head to the archaeological remains located around the city, including the fortress of Sacsayhuaman, Qenqo (giant rock), the ancient site of Puca Pucara and finally the Water Temple of Tambomachay. On completion of your tour, you will be taken to your hotel. Included in your tour price is the BTG (Tourist Ticket of Cusco). Please note this is a small group tour.

Cusco - City Tour

This morning you will be collected from your hotel for your full day exploration of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. This fertile river valley was home to many important sites for the Incas, both strategic and religious. The first stop is the village of Pisac, with its famous market. The colonial village of Pisac sits at the base of the spectacular Pisac Ruins – a hilltop Inca citadel and fortress with impressive agricultural terracing.
On market days Pisac comes alive with locals from nearby hillside villages in traditional dress selling local fruit and vegetables as well as handicrafts. There is free time to wander the colourful market stalls before a typical Andean lunch at a local restaurant.

Continue your journey along the River Urubamba, to Ollantaytambo. The town, which is dominated by a giant Inca fortress, is perhaps the best surviving example of Inca town planning and was the scene of a rare Inca victory over the invading Spanish. At the end of the tour you will be transferred to the train station in Ollantaytambo to take the train to Aguas Calientes. Lunch is included. Included in your tour price is the BTG (Tourist Ticket of Cusco) which allows you entrance into 16 attractions around Cusco in ten days. Please note this is a small group tour.

Sacred Valley Full Day Tour

Travel from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu aboard the comfortable and well-appointed Inca Rail train, a superior tourist class train. This classic train features ornately decorated carriages with comfortable seats, tables and large panoramic windows. The train carries up to 42 passengers per carriage and an appetising selection of hot and cold drinks prepared using fresh fruit juice and Andean herbs are available.

Sit back and relax as you enjoy the spectacular landscape of the Sacred Valley en route to the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.

*Due to limited space for luggage storage on trains, luggage restrictions apply: one bag or backpack (carry-on luggage) with a maximum weight of 5.0 kg/11 lb, measuring no more than 62 linear inches/157 linear cm (height + length + width)

Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes

You will be astonished by your first view of Machu Picchu, a stunning display of ancient architecture with incredible surroundings. Machu Picchu is a 15th century Inca site, located 2,430 metres above sea level on a mountain ridge above the Sacred Valley. It is the most famous of all Inca sites, but it was not until 1911 that it was brought to the world’s attention by the American historian Hiram Bingham. The Incas abandoned the city just prior to Spanish colonisation, the city was never pillaged and as a result the ruins are still in fantastic condition. With its location on a dramatic ridgeline surrounded by sheer cliffs and the Urubamba River on three sides, the city of Machu Picchu is a remarkable place to visit. Machu Picchu was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and in 2007 it was voted one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.

Enjoy a tour of the ruins and monuments, such as the Main Square, the Circular Tower, the Sacred Solar Clock, the Royal Quarters, the Temple of the Three Windows and the Cemeteries.

The tour includes guided tour with local English speaking guide and return bus from Aguas Calientes village. Please be aware that your tour of Machu Picchu does not include an entry permit to Huayna Picchu (the iconic hill behind the Machu Picchu ruins). If you want to climb Huayna Picchu then you need to pre-book your permit at least 3 months in advance. Please contact your sales consultant if you would like to do this.

Machu Picchu Guided Tour

This afternoon travel by train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo.

*Due to limited space for luggage storage on trains, luggage restrictions apply: one bag or backpack (carry-on luggage) with a maximum weight of 5.0 kg/11 lb, measuring no more than 62 linear inches/157 linear cm (height + length + width)

360 Machu Picchu Train: Mapi - Ollanta PM

Transfer from Ollantaytambo train station in the Sacred Valley to Cusco.

Private Transfer Ollantaytambo - Cusco

You will be collected from your hotel at the appropriate time and transferred to the airport for your onward flight.

Transfer to the airport for onward destination

On arrival, please make your way through to the Arrivals Hall where our representative will be waiting for you to transfer you to your hotel. This service includes a driver and local English speaking guide, who will provide you with any useful information needed for your stay. He/she will be holding a sign with your name on it.

Should you not be able to locate them, please refer to the front of your itinerary for emergency contact details of our representative office.

Arrival transfer in Lima

Today you will be collected from your hotel for your tour of Lima, the Colonial ‘City of Kings’. On the city tour you will visit a number of well-known sites including the Cathedral, the Presidential Palace, Santo Domingo Convent and the Plaza de Armas.This is a chance to appreciate Lima's magnificent Colonial architecture as well as vignettes of its pre-Colombian past. On completion of this tour, you will be taken to your hotel. Please note this is a small group tour.

Lima - City Tour

You will be collected from your hotel at the appropriate time and transferred to the airport for your onward flight.

Transfer to the airport for onward destination

On arrival, please make your way through to the Arrivals Hall where our representative will be waiting for you to transfer you to your hotel.
He/she will be holding a sign with your name on it. Should you not be able to locate them, please refer to the front of your itinerary for emergency contact details of our representative office. Please note this service is with a driver only.

Arrival transfer in Quito

Sitting at 2,850 metres above sea level high in the Andean foothills lies Quito, the capital of Ecuador. The city, a short distance from the Equator and with an amazing backdrop of snow-capped mountains, is known for its stunning colonial architecture and art-work. Founded in the 16th century on the ruins of an Inca city, Quito has one of the largest, least-altered and best-preserved historic centres in the Americas. It was declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1978.

Quito

This morning meet at the historic Chimbacalle station, where you will board the Tren Crucero and begin the journey through the ‘Avenue of Volcanoes’, some of which are still active.
Arriving at the second highest railway station of Ecuador, you will disembark and take in the beautiful sights of a rose farm and learn about why Ecuador is home to some of the best rose farms in the world.
Enjoy lunch before heading to Cotopaxi National Park and take a moderate altitude walk, of which you will find different varieties of flora and fauna that have adapted to the high altitude. Continue onto Latacunga where you will overnight at a historical hacienda.

Quito –Cotopaxi – Lasso – Latacunga

Departing from Latacunga station, you will enter the Yambo lagoon as you cross the inter-Andean Valley. Experience ‘Diablada Pillarena’, an Andean tradition where you will see colourful devils and folklore celebrations from the comfort of your train. Moving on, reach Urbina station, the highest point of the journey, and meet Baltazar Uschca, the last ice merchant of the Chimborazo. He will share his almost extinct culture and traditions.
Continue onto Jatari where you will take in the ancestral knowledge of the community of La Moya and the cultural traditions of the Quichua-Puruha. Participate in activities led by the locals based on ancestral work systems.
The train will be waiting to take you to a unique historical town, Riobamba where you will overnight. Here you can take a stroll through the city before sunset and explore the handcraft plaza.

Latacunga – Urbina – Riobamba

From Riobamba station, ‘The Black Monster’, a huge steam locomotive will take you through colourful quinoa fields, stunning villages and unique landscapes.
At Colta, switch from the steam to diesel-electric machine. During this manoeuvre you will have plenty of time to take pictures of the steam locomotive and surroundings. Continue the journey and visit the authentic Andean Market in Guamote.
After the market visit, travel by bus to Alausi where you will board a train that takes you to the famous Nariz del Diablo (the Devil’s Nose), as you descend into the Sibambe Valley.
Alausi is where you will rest for the night, a small city nestled between sharp mountains and diverse plantations.

Riobamba – Devil´s Nose – Alausi

This morning, embark on a scenic trip from the magnificent Andes to the quiet esplanades of the Pacific Coast. Arrive at a very traditional hacienda located on the coast of Ecuador, where you will experience a tour of the plantations and learn about the trade of Cacao in the area, of which is considered some of the best cocoa beans in the world. Lunch will be served at the hacienda.
Naranjito is the next destination, where you will board the train to Yaguachi. There, a Baldwin steam locomotive will be waiting to take you to the final destination of the trip. Arriving in Duran before the sun sets. Transfer to your hotel in Guayaquil where you will overnight.

Alausi – Naranjito – Yaguachi – Duran
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Important Information

  • - Accommodation with breakfast every day
    - Transfers, tours and meals included as mentioned in the program
    - English speaking guide.
    - Include all the entrances fee and contributions.
    - Domestic air tickets: Sucre to La Paz, Cusco to Lima and Lima to Quito. 

    - Luxury hotel during your stay in Puno, Cusco and Lima 

    - Bunk Bed cabin on board the Andean Explorer train from Puno to Cusco

    - Train from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu town and back 

    - Accommodation, transfers and meals through out the train journey from Quito to Guayaquil. 

    - Exceptional train ride crossing from Ecuador´s Andes watching the transition from moorlands through cloud forests, to tropical Coastal landscapes in 4 days 3 nights including:

    *The Avenue of Volcanoes, more than 10 Volcanoes over 12000 feet, one of them active (Tungurahua volcano 5023 mts.). 

    *280 miles of scenic train ride ascending to 3600 meters and descending to sea level during the trip. 

    *Cultural immersion with Andes and Coastal indigenous communities and customs included on trip. 

    *Steam locomotives from the beginning of XX century will run 2 different stretches.

    *Luxury and comfortable train coaches representing the Ecuadorian identity and history with exceptional onboard service.

     


    NOT INCLUDED:
    • Anything not listed in the program.
    • International air Tickets.
    • Tips.
    • Airport taxes

  • 2 (light adventure)
  • Available upon request

  • TRAIN FROM VILLAZON TO ORURO

    * Winter Season (June, July August): water may freeze in the pipes and could take several minutes to heat up
    * Rainy season: (January to March) Roads might be in bad shape. Uyuni Salt flats are flooded. Access to Tahua or Incahuasi might be difficult or impossible. Program might have to be changed due to these reasons.
    * As roads in Uyuni aren’t paved, we will use 4x4 cars, each one with a maximum of 4 passengers. To avoid high costs, guide and / or TC will go in the back part of the cars if it will be necessary.
    * Highest Hotel in the area is Tayka del Desierto (4.531 meters above sea level).

    * Museums: Museums in La Paz, Sucre and Potosi closed on holidays, Saturday and Sunday afternoon and all day Monday.

     

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  • Season and availability

Accommodation

We believe that appropriate accommodation should add to the authentic travel experience, as well as providing utmost enjoyment. For that reason our accommodation is scrutinised by our staff on the ground frequently, ensuring the properties adhere to our high standards. This key will help you understand the levels of accommodation available on this tour.

SPEAK TO A SPECIALIST

Talk to one of our Destination Specialists to plan your South American adventure and turn your dream into a reality. With exceptional knowledge and first hand experience, our consultants will assist in every way possible to make your journey the most memorable it can be, matching not only the itinerary, but the accommodation and activities to suit your style of travel and budget.

Sustainability

Chimu Adventures undertakes a number of sustainability measures within its operations including:

1) Only using local guides and office staff to both maximise local employment opportunities and minimise carbon footprints. Local guides also ensure you benefit from the intimate knowledge, passion and culture of the country you’re visiting.

2) Where possible, using locally owned and operated boutique hotels to maximise the return to the local community.

3) Chimu’s “Pass it on” programme has provided funding to hundreds of local community projects in Latin America. Our aim is to empower local communities, helping them to develop their own infrastructure for the future. Since 2006, we have been working with Kiva (a well-known Non-Governmental Organisation), providing hundreds of loans to local businesses all over South America.

4) In our pre tour information we provide a range of tips and advice on how to minimise your impact on both local environments and communities.

5) Chimu Adventures’ offices also take a number of sustainability measures including carbon offsets for company vehicles and most staff travel. Chimu Adventure’s internal processes are also structures to create a paperless office and to reduce waste. There are also internal programmes to help staff minimise their carbon footprint such as our staff bike purchase assistance plan which encourages office staff to commute to work via bicycle. Currently almost half of our office based staff commute to work via bicycle.