With its Galapagos Islands, Andes mountains, tropical valleys, ancient caves, cultural sites and bustling metropolises, Ecuador has been blessed with everything to tempt the global tourist … including rail holidays.
The Ecuadorean government is investing 250 million dollars (£163 million) to restore the country's long-neglected rail network.
The scheme includes relaunching train routes aimed at tourists with new stations, railcar facelifts and guided narration onboard.
The project features:
- a restored train station for tourists on city breaks to the northern mountainous conurbation of Ibarra, returning a long-abandoned route to Salinas, a town whose people includes descendants of Jamaican railway workers. The Ibarra route runs across myriad landscapes, from mountains to lush subtropics with sugarcane fields
- a restoration of the Devil's Nose, Ecuador's best loved rail line, a 19th century engineering marvel in the mountains. It became famous among backpackers on trekking holidays who wanted a breathtaking experience. The route runs from Alausi through switchbacks around hilly farms run by indigenous people and a rock wall called the Devil's Nose. Sibambe station has a museum where guides give train talks. Locals in colourful costumes serve lunch and entertain with music and dance.
- the opening of the a 277-mile (445km) rail line between the country's capital, Quito, and Duran, a town near Guayaquil's coastal city.
Ecuador tourism spokeswoman Katherine Plua said trains offer a "unique opportunity" to get to know Ecuador in a different way.
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