Pie Experiences

Pie Experience is an award winning South America tour operator offering unique local experiences, adventure tours, and tailor-made vacations in Peru , Argentina , Bolivia and Ecuador. All tours are Sustainable Travel Certified, designed by travel experts for authentic travel experiences.

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Luxury Train journey & Galapagos Islands cruise | Ecuador Tours

Pie Experiences / Luxury Train journey & Galapagos Islands cruise | Ecuador Tours

Luxury Train journey & Galapagos Islands cruise | Ecuador Tours

per person

All aboard the Tren Crucero! This fabulous luxury train journey showcases the very best of Ecuador, running the full spectrum from the tundra of the Andean highlands to the tropical coastal plains. You will meet traditional Andean cultures, be awestruck by the breathtaking Avenue of Volcanoes, and hang tightly to your seat as you steam down the vertiginous zigzags of the Devil’s Nose.
And that’s only half the fun! You’ll continue your journey with a luxury cruise around the magical Galapagos Islands where you will encounter colonies of friendly sea lions, rare Galapagos penguins and vibrant blue-footed boobies, all in one of the most beautiful natural settings in the world.

Highlights:

  • Experience a spectacular luxury train journey aboard the Tren Crucero! Travel in utmost comfort across towering mountains and through tropical coastal plains.
  •  Travel through the world-famous Avenue of Volcanoes, where you can see up to twenty imposing peaks emerging from the forest.
  •  Barter for hand-crafted treasures at traditional Andean markets, some of which date back to pre-Inca times.
  •  Enjoy a fabulous luxury cruise around the magical Galapagos Islands, visiting the geological and zoological highlights of the unique archipelago.
  • Swim with sea lions, hunt for elusive penguins and admire the vibrantly colourful boobies in one of the most unique natural environments in the world!

Luxury Train journey & Galapagos Islands cruise Itinerary Overview:

Click through to “Tour Plan” to see the full itinerary 

Day 01- Arrival in Quito – Monday

Arrive into Quito and transfer to your luxury hotel, the historic Plaza Grande. Next, pull on a pair of comfortable shoes and explore Ecuador’s beautiful mountaintop capital! The elegant colonial old town is one of the best-preserved in the Americas. Get your cameras ready for the unique blend of Spanish, Moorish and indigenous architecture.

Day 02 – Start the Train Journey – Quito – Otavalo City – Quito – Tuesday

Today, you will begin your Quito to Guayaquil luxury train journey! The fabulous Tren Crucero is a steam engine fitted out with every luxury, and the rail journey is one of the most spectacular in the world. The first stop on your adventure will be the traditional mountain town of Otavalo. This small village is the commercial hub for the surrounding Andean communities and setting for Ecuador’s largest indigenous market!

Day 03 – Train Journey Quito – Urbina – Wednesday

Continue your luxury train journey in Ecuador into the famous Avenue of Volcanoes. In good weather you can spot twenty peaks emerging from the pine forest, including the perfectly conical Volcano Cotopaxi. You’ll be glued to the window as the landscape runs the full spectrum from subtropical forest to Andean highlands, finishing in the foothills of Mt Chimborazo, the highest peak in Ecuador!

Day 04 – Riobamba – The Devil’s Nose – Bucay – Thursday

Board your luxury train and speed through a colourful patchwork of purple, yellow and red quinoa fields. Today, you’ll visit the traditional Guamote market, which even spills over onto the train tracks! In the afternoon, you will summit the spectacular Devil’s Nose. Zigzag down a vertiginous 450 metre descent into the Chanchán river gorge, running the full gamut of microclimates from highland tundra to tropical coastal plains.

Day 05- Bucay – Guayaquil – Friday

Today, your steam railway takes you through Ecuador’s coastal lowlands. Here, the tropical climate is perfect for the vast plantations of sugar cane, pineapples and, of course, the all-important bananas! Enjoy an organic lunch at a cocoa bean plantation, before continuing to the colourful coastal city of Guayaquil, the gateway to the Galapagos Islands!

Day 06 – Galapagos Islands – Guayaquil – Baltra- Bachas Beach – Saturday

Today, you’ll begin your adventure to one of the jewels in the crown of South America: the Galapagos Islands! Take a morning flight from Guayaquil to Baltra Island, and board your Galapagos luxury cruise. You’ll spend the afternoon on Santa Cruz Island, enjoying your first swim and your first encounter with the unique wildlife. Look out for the sea turtles that have been known to nest off the island!

Day 07 – Bartolome Island & Sullivan Bay – Sunday

Explore the volcanic origins of the Galapagos archipelago with a visit to Bartolome Island, a long-extinct volcano splashed with red, orange, black and green volcanic minerals. Here, you can enjoy some of the best panoramic views and the best snorkelling in the Galapagos – don’t miss this opportunity to meet rare Galapagos penguins! Next, visit Sullivan Bay, and walk across the fantastic formations of the Pahoehoe lava flows.

Day 08- South Plazas Islands & Santa Fe Island –Monday

This morning, your Galapagos yacht trip will take you to South Plaza Island. Here, you can visit one of the largest sea lion colonies in the archipelago! In the afternoon, you’ll visit Santa Fe Island, where the diverse range of animals and birdlife boasts two unique endemic species: the Barrington land iguana and the Santa Fe rice rat.

Day 09 – Witch Hill & Pitt Point – San Cristobal Island – Tuesday

Sail to San Cristobal Island to visit Witch Hill, where you will find an impossibly perfect beach of soft white sand and turquoise sea, and fabulous views of Kicker rock and the rugged coastline. Next, you’ll explore Pitt Point, the only place in the Islands where you can find nesting places for all three species of boobies: Nazca, blue-footed and the rare red-footed!

Day 10 – Lobos Island – San Cristobal Islands – Guayaquil

Finish your Galapagos luxury cruise with a visit to Lobos Island, so called for the many hundreds of sea lions that inhabit it. Afterwards, bid goodbye to the magical Islands and board your plane back to mainland Ecuador, full of wonderful memories of your luxury tour of Ecuador and the Galapagos!

  • Include
    Activities described in the itinerary
    Meals
    Tour guide
    Accommodation
    Entries
    Transport
    Domestic flights
  • Not Included
    Travel Insurance
    Tips
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Day 01- Arrival in Quito - Monday

Your private transportation will pick you up from Quito airport and transfer you to your accommodation, the luxurious Plaza Grande Hotel. The Plaza Grande is intimately connected with the history of Quito: it was originally owned by Francisco Pizarro, the conqueror of the Inca Empire, and was the first mansion built during the founding of the city in the 16th Century. Combining old world elegance with the very latest in modern comforts, the Plaza Grande provides a simply unforgettable experience! Quito was the first city to be named a UNESCO World Heritage site, and its elegant colonial old town is one of the best-preserved in the Americas. Stroll around the city centre and admire the unique blend of Spanish, Moorish and indegenous architecture, and the surrounding snow-capped mountains that lend the city a sense of drama. Don’t miss the breathtaking Compañía de Jesús church, whose fabulous gilded interior makes it one of the most highly-regarded architectural jewels in the whole country. For awe-inspiring views over the city and the Andean landscapes beyond, you can take the cable car up the active Volcán Pichincha. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even scramble all the way up to the very summit!
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Day 02 – Start the Train Journey - Quito – Otavalo City – Quito - Tuesday

Board the fabulous Tren Crucero early in the morning, and zigzag through the Andes up to the mountaintop town of Otavalo. The Tren Crucero is one of the most spectacular rail journeys in the world, and the train itself is outfitted with every luxury, so that you can enjoy the amazing scenery in the utmost comfort. Once in Otavalo, you can explore Ecuador’s largest indigenous market! The people of Otavalo have hosted this colourful market for many centuries, and many of the traditions and handcrafts date back to pre-Inca times. Barter over hand-made textiles, listen to local musicians and admire street painters as they capture the colourful market scenes! As well as a huge range of wares, Otavalo market is also a wonderful place to get to know the cultural mosaic of the Andes. The market is the commercial hub for the myriad of communities that live in this remote region, and counting the many different styles of traditional dress is simply fascinating! Enjoy a delicious lunch of traditional Andean cuisine, before visiting the hub of Ecuador’s rose export industry. Here, you can discover each stage of the process of growing roses for export, and visit the enchanting rose showroom, before boarding your luxury train back to Quito.  
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Day 03 – Train Journey Quito – Urbina - Wednesday

Board the Tren Crucero once more, and travel south in style! Your route will traverse the famous Avenue of Volcanoes, where you can spot up to twenty volcanoes emerging out of the pine forest. The most impressive of these is the perfectly conical (and still active!) Volcán Cotopaxi, the second highest summit in Ecuador. Watch as the Andes splits into the East and West Cordilleras, and the train heads into the fertile Andean valley, where you can keep your eyes peeled for unique flora and fauna. Ecuador’s position on the equator means that you can travel along the valley past orchids and palm trees, but admire the tundra and glaciers that cover the mountains above you! Watch the landscape run the full spectacular spectrum from subtropical forest to Andean highlands as you slowly climb towards Urbina, the highest point of your trip at 11800 feet above sea level. Round off the afternoon in the foothills of the towering Mt Chimborazo, the highest peak in Ecuador (and, due to its position on the ecuator, the closest mountain to the Sun!) Here, you will meet the last ice merchant, Baltasar Ushca, who has been climbing the mountain twice a week for the last fifty years, harvesting the best glacial ice from the top! You will spend the night in the town of Riobamba. Check into the delightful Hostería Andaluza, which is set in a beautiful colonial-era country estate in the shadow of Mt Chimborazo.
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Day 04 - Riobamba – The Devil’s Nose – Bucay - Thursday

This morning, you will explore some of the isolated indigenous villages of the Avenue of Volcanoes. All the activities and restaurants are carefully hand-selected to bring maximum benefit to the rural communities, meaning that the Tren Crucero is a real leader in responsable tourism! First, your luxury train will take you to Colta, the historic location of the first Spanish settlement in Ecuador and home to the indigenous Palacio Real community. Your route will take you through a picturesque patchwork of quinoa fields, decorating the landscapes with purples, yellows and reds, contrasting with the bright white of the snow-capped mountains. Next, you can spend some time at Guamote market, one of the most authentic markets in the Andes. The stallholders leap out of the way as the train chugs through the middle of the town, and at the animal market you can buy everything from ducks to llamas to guinea pigs! The train starts to tilt upwards as you approach the Devil’s Nose, whose precipitous switchbacks caused such engineering challenges that it was nicknamed the “most difficult railway in the world”. The track zigzags in a vertiginous descent of 450 metres, speeding through microclimates from the Andean highlands to the coastal plains. You’ll cross the Chanchán river gorge, and finish the day in the city of Bucay. You’ll spend the night in the charming Hacienda la Danesa, a traditional Danish-run dairy farm in the heart of the Andes.
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Day 05- Bucay – Guayaquil - Friday

Today, you’ll speed through Ecuador’s coastal lowlands, which are peppered with plantations growing tropical produce such as rice, sugar cane, pineapples and bananas. These plantations are vital to the Ecuadorian economy: the small country produces 6% of the entire world supply of bananas, ranking it 5th in the world. The coastal train line has performed a vital role in this industry, transporting the produce from the plantations to the ports for export. You’ll enjoy the very best of sustainable tourism with a “farm to fork” lunch at a traditional hacienda (country estate). Here, your hosts will introduce you tothe secrets of the production of the best cocoa bean in the world! You can also learn about the culture of the Montubios, a coastal indigenous culture famous as Ecuador’s very own cowboys. In the afternoon, you’ll steam across a patchwork of colourful fields, towards the Pacific Ocean. You’ll arrive into the restored train station at Durán, and transfer to the colourful coastal city of Guayaquil. The city is Ecuador’s vibrant commercial hub, and boasts the title of the ciudad de cacao, due to its history as the world’s first cacao port! You’ll spend the night in the lovely Hotel del Parque, set in a spectacular location amongst the exotic tropical greenery of Guayaquil Historical Park!
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Day 06 – Galapagos Islands- Guayaquil – Baltra - Bachas Beach - Saturday

Today, you’ll start the next exciting stage of your adventure: your expedition to the Galapagos Islands! You’ll take a morning flight from Guayaquil to Baltra Island, where tour staff will meet you for your transfer to your luxury yacht. Your spacious cabins feature their own jacuzzi and private balcony, meaning that you will spend your tour in the utmost comfort! You can even borrow one of the yacht’s on-board kayaks, for a closer look at the fabulous scenery and wildlife of the Galapagos Islands. In the afternoon, you will sail to Santa Cruz Island to visit the lovely Bachas Beach for your first swim in the pristine waters surrounding the Galapagos, and also your first opportunity to interact with the famously unique Galapagos wildlife! Keep you eyes peeled for wildlife both above and below the water, because the beach is home to flamingos, brightly coloured sally-lightfoot crabs, and black-necked stilts. You may even spot some of the world-famous Galapagos turtles, as they have been known to nest off the beach! You’ll spend the next four nights on the water, in your comfortable cabins aboard the luxury “Cormorant” yacht.
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Day 07 – Bartolome Island & Sullivan Bay - Sunday

This morning, your luxury yacht will sail to Bartolome Island, a long-extinct volcano rising out of the azure sea. The island’s volcanic past is evident from the fabulous pallette of colours splashed across its surface: reds, oranges, blacks and even greens! What rocky Bartolome lacks in wildlife, it makes up for in scenery: here, you can visit Pinnacle Rock, the most famous view in the Galapagos. Walk up the wooden staricase to the top of the volcano, and enjoy breathtaking views of the whole archipelago. Bartolome is also a wonderful place for snorkelling. The clear, underwater landscape in the shadow of Pinnacle Rock is home to sea lions, sharks, rays, octopi and even a colony of rare Galapagos penguins! Bartolome is your best opportunity to see the penguins, so don’t miss out! In the afternoon, you will sail to the otherworldly Sullivan Bay, located southeast of Santiago Island. The bay is covered in Pahoehoe lava flows (molten rock that has solidified into “accordion” formation, due to underground magma moving under already solidified lava.) Pick your way carefully across the lava and use your imagination to look for fantastical shapes in the bizzare rock formations. The Sullivan lava flow is geologically very young, having formed barely a century ago, and is therefore a wonderful place to consider the volcanic origin of the Galapagos Islands.
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Day 08- South Plazas Islands & Santa Fe Island –Monday

Spend the morning exploring South Plaza Island, home to one of the largest colonies of California sea lions in the whole Galapagos archipelago. This small island is also home to the famous red and yellow Galapagos land iguanas, blue-footed boobies and Audubon’s shearwaters. South Plaza Island is also unique in its flora. The small, rocky outcrop is covered in bright opuntia (prickly pear) cacti and colourful sesuvium. From a distance, the colour of the island appears to change with its characteristic plantlife: during the rainy season, the sesuvium are greenish-yellow, whereas during the dry season, it becomes bright red. Your afternoon visit will be to Santa Fe Island, geologically one of the oldest islands in the archipelago. The island has two unique species that are endemic only to Santa Fe: the Barrington land iguana, and the Santa Fe rice rat. Weathered cliffs, formed by lava uplift, are a haven for a huge range of birdlife, including the Galapagos hawk, Galapagos mockingbird and red-billed tropic birds. Sail into one of the most beautiful coves in all the Galapagos and walk amongst countless sea lions, before visiting a dense forest of the largest species of giant Opuntia cactus.  
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Day 09 – Witch Hill & Pitt Point – San Cristobal Island – Tuesday

Your morning visit today will be to Witch Hill (Cerro Brujo), located on the northern coast of San Cristobal Island. Here, you will find a postcard-perfect beach of soft white sand surrounded by turquoise sea, one of the very best in the whole of the Galapagos Islands. If you can bear t otear yourself away, you can also climb to the top of Witch hill for fabulous views of Kicker rock, and the rugged coastline of San Cristobal Island. The beautiful scenery is complemented by the abundence of wildlife: you can swim with a friendly colony of sea lions and walk with blue-footed boobies, before visiting a nearby salt lagoon to see egrets and great blue herons. Get back on board your luxury yacht and sail to Pitt Point, the most northeasterly point on San Cristobal Island. A short hike to the top of the island will reward you with sightings of unique endemic plants, and spectacular panoramas of the twisted volcanic tuff formations and the surrounding sea. However, the main appeal here is the opportunity to see a unique nesting site which hosts all three species of boobies to be found in the Galapagos: Nazca, blue-footed and the rare red-footed.
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Day 10 – Lobos Island – San Cristobal Islands – Guayaquil

Your last visit in the Galapagos will be to Lobos Island, a tranquil bay just 20 minutes from San Cristobal Island. Lobos island is named after the many hundreds of sea lions (lobos del mar) that you will see either napping under trees, or playing in the azure waters. Hike around the lava rocks to hunt for marine iguanas, boobies and sally lightfoot crabs, and admire the bay’s fabulously vibrant beach flora. After your visit, it will unfortunately be time to say goodbye to the magical Galapagos and fly back to the mainland! Peer out of the aeroplane windown to catch one last glimpse of the brethtaking archipelago, and reflect on your memories of your wonderful tour through Ecuador.
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  • Please choose your destination country. You can choose more than one.
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  • Please give us more details about which activities would you like to do at your destination. What would make this your dream trip ?
  • Please provide us with your phone number to hear more about your plans in that way we can help you organize your amazing trip.
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