Highlights

  • Step back in time on a steam locomotive through the Andes
  • Enjoy island hopping on a luxury voyage through the Galápagos
  • Travel in style with a butler-served suite and all-inclusive fine dining
  • Learn about the indigenous wildlife with on board expert guides

After a private tour and stay among Quito’s colonial charms, a four-day steam train journey will bring you into Andean peaks to discover mountain villages, tropical plantations and waterfall-lined cloud forests. An included flight will then see you to a luxury, island-hopping cruise in the Galápagos, showcasing its volcanic landscapes and unique wildlife. Along the way, you’ll travel in style, with all-inclusive fine dining, transfers throughout and included, expert-led touring. From historians to marine biologists, the expedition team will lead you on snorkelling, kayaking, hiking and Zodiac trips.


Day 1

Depart UK

Start your trip in style with an included chauffeur transfer and a glass of champagne in the premium lounge before your overnight flight to Quito.


Days 2 – 3

Quito

On arrival, you’ll be met by a private driver who’ll see you to central accommodation. To help you get your bearings, we’ve included a private city tour. You’ll start with Quito’s UNESCO-listed colonial quarter – the largest and best preserved of South America. Here, palaces, cathedrals and great plazas compete for your attention. Then, it’s on to the Monastery of San Francisco, a 16th-century complex whose stern whitewash opens into a truly spectacular gilded interior. End with citywide views from a specially chosen vantage point. You’ll also have time to explore on your own, perhaps easing into Ecuador’s Latin rhythms with the city’s picturesque churches and gourmet eateries.

Stay: Swissôtel Quito (Superior)

Breakfast included

Quito, Ecaudor

Quito, Ecaudor

Quito, Ecaudor

Quito, Ecaudor


Day 4

Quito/Otavalo

Today, following a short drive, you’ll board the wonderfully named Train of Wonders, a steam locomotive that evokes all the adventure of the golden age of rail travel. Your route will be defined by Andean scenery, hidden mountain villages, stays in best-available hotels and the chance to sample traditional Ecuadorian cuisine on a range of included meals. You’ll be heading north to Otavalo, a market town alive with colourful weavers, musicians and skilled woodcarvers. Stone bridge hops will also bring you to a pretty rose plantation before you return to spend the night in Quito.

Stay: Swissôtel Quito (Superior)

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included

Otavalo Market, Ecuador

Otavalo Market, Ecuador

Quito, Ecuador

Quito, Ecuador

Tren Crucero, Ecuador

Tren Crucero, Ecuador


Day 5

Quito/Urbina

Turning south along the Avenue of Volcanoes, your rail route sweeps through rolling foothills backdropped by snow-capped peaks. Here, the Andes split into two arms, forming a fertile valley trapped between great stone colossi. It’s scenery that you’ll take in from the comfort of your panoramic car, watching the landscape become increasingly severe as you climb through the Andean highlands to Urbina. At 11,800 feet above sea level, it’s the highest point in your itinerary. Then, in the outskirts of Mt. Chimborazo, you’ll even meet with the last surviving ice merchant and learn of his ancestral trade harvesting frozen blocks from the mountains.

Stay: Best-available accommodation (Superior)

Lunch & Dinner included

Chimborazo, Ecuador

Mt. Chimborazo, Ecuador


Day 6

The Devil’s Nose/Bucay

Continuing south, you’ll steam through brightly coloured quinoa fields, skirting indigenous settlements and archaeological sites alike to reach Colta. Here, you’ll learn how the Spanish conquerors built their first settlement in Ecuador before continuing to Guamote and its bustling market. You’ll then be treated to a true trip highlight – Devil’s Nose. This vertiginous pass zigzags some 450 metres down through the cragged Andean highlands towards the coastal plains below. A further descent through the narrow Chanchán river gorge will then see you cross a magnificent cloud forest to arrive into Bucay, a quiet town ringed by bright verdure.

Stay: Best-available accommodation (Superior)

Lunch & Dinner included

Colta, Ecuador

Colta, Ecuador

The Devil's Nose, Tren Crucero, Ecuador

The Devil's Nose, Ecuador


Day 7

Bucay/Guayaquil

Leaving the tropical forest behind, the landscapes level out into rice, sugar cane, pineapple and banana plantations. Along the way, you’ll stop for lunch at a traditional hacienda where you’ll learn the secrets of the local cocoa bean production. Then, continuing through those same green fields, you’ll arrive at the Pacific Ocean and Guayaquil. Your final stop, it’s the chance to combine big-city energy with a pretty riverside setting, beautified by green parks, café-lined squares and cobblestone streets lined with colourful colonial buildings.

Stay: Best-available accommodation (Superior)

To whet your appetite for what's in store, take a look at this short video.

Breakfast & Lunch included

Cocoa Bean Production

Cocoa Bean Production

Guayaquil, Ecuador

Guayaquil, Ecuador

La Penas, Guayaquil

La Penas, Guayaquil


Day 8

Guayaquil to San Cristobal

Your flight out to the Galápagos, bookended by included transfers, will see you to your luxury exploratory ship. Here, many of the butler-served suites – the largest expedition cabins at sea – come with a marbled bathroom and private balconies, while the all-inclusive dining is equally impressive. The fine-dining indulgences and included room service is washed down with complimentary wines and spirits; the Galápagos lobster is particularly good. There’s also the likes of a beauty salon, massage room, on-deck Jacuzzi, library, fitness centre and piano bar to return to after your included excursions. And, today, you’ll have some time to settle in as the ship navigates lava rock formations plied by gulls, Nazca boobies and frigate birds.


Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included

Silver Galapagos

Silver Galapagos

Veranda Suite, Silver Galapagos

Veranda Suite, Silver Galapagos


Day 9

Bartolomé/Playa Espumilla, Santiago

Today you’ll anchor Isla Bartolomé, with Zodiac boats bringing you ashore to walk the island’s volcanic moonscapes, spotting lava lizards, Galápagos hawks and blue-footed boobies as you go. The reward? A spectacular panorama over the black, volcanic peaks of the Galápagos Islands. Your next stop is Playa Espumilla on Santiago Island. You’ll make land here on a white-sand beach, a favourite among nesting green sea turtles, before setting off on a lazy walk through incense-fragranced lagoons. Fringed by mangroves, they’re ideal for spotting shorebirds work the mudflats for their dinner. 

Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included

Galapagos blue-footed booby

Galapagos blue-footed booby

Pinnacle Rock, Bartolome Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Pinnacle Rock, Bartolome Island

Green Sea Turtle, Galapagos

Green Sea Turtle, Galapagos


Day 10

Punta Vicente Roca, Isabela/Punta Espinoza, Fernandina

At Isabela Island, your agile expedition ship will be able to anchor up against the cliffs at Punta Vicente Roca, allowing the Zodiacs to cruise right along the imposing volcanic coastline. As such, you’ll be able to get up close to everything from fur seals to marine iguanas. Snorkelers will even have the chance to swim with eagle rays, penguins and sea lions. It’s then on to the lava-forged coast of Fernandina Island, host to literally hundreds of nesting marine iguanas. They come here to rest and warm up on the black rock of recent lava flows as sally crabs stalk by and sea lion pups play in the shallow tide pools. 


Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included

Penguin, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Penguin, Galapagos Islands

Sea Lions, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Sea Lions, Galapagos Islands

Marine Iguana resting on La Espanola Island in the Galapagos

Marine Iguana, Galapagos


Day 11

Caleta Tagus/Bahia Elizabeth, Isabela

Back on Isabela, you’ll anchor with the sea turtles and penguins in a sheltered cove that’s been used as a safe harbourage for centuries. You can even see hundred-year-old names of vessels carved on its walls. Explore with kayaks and snorkels or head ashore to hike through the treeline up, past Darwin finches, to a spectacular viewpoint. Staying on Isabela, a Zodiac cruise will then take you through the tranquil inlets of Elizabeth Bay, its bright verdure backdropped by giant volcanoes and desolate lava fields. Other than the usual blue-footed boobies and penguins, you’ll also dip into small coves to look for sea turtles, rays and even sharks.


Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included

Kayak excursion, Silver Galapagos

Kayak excursion, Silver Galapagos

Eagle ray swimming with a small school of jack fish in the Galapagos

Eagle ray, Galapagos


Day 12

Islote Campéon/Post Office, Floreana/Punta Cormorant, Floreana

Today will begin with a stop at Islote Campéon, a rocky islet off Floreana. It’s one of the islands’ premier snorkelling destination, its crystal-clear waters ideal for spotting Pacific green turtles, playful sea lions and reef sharks. Then, on Floreana itself, you’ll uncover something of the region’s intriguing history with a visit to the Post Office Bay. Here, 19th-century ships would leave letters to be collected and pass home – a tradition you can continue today. There’s also the chance to kayak, snorkel swim or simply relax on the beach. Then, sailing to the island’s north, you’ll spot brilliantly pink flamingos in shallow lagoons and mammoth female sea turtles hauling themselves ashore.


Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included

Flamingos feeding off Floreana island in the Galapagos

Flamingos, Floreana island


Day 13

Cerro Dragón/Las Bachas, Santa Cruz

Moving on to Santa Cruz Island, you’ll pay a visit to the land iguanas of Cerro Dragón. Aptly translating as ‘Dragon Hill’, these fantastic alien lizards look positively prehistoric and are joined by yet more brilliant flamingos. You’ll then have some time this afternoon to relax, with the white sands and turquoise waters of Las Bachas. No wonder it’s a favourite among nesting sea turtles.


Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included

Land iguana in the Galapagos

Land iguana, Galapagos

Las Bachas, Galapagos

Las Bachas, Galapagos


Day 14

Los Gemelos/Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz

Your penultimate port on Santa Cruz is Los Gemelos. Spanish for ‘The Twins’, it’s a pair of sinkholes of monumental scale, carpeted in bright greenery. The walk along their rims is truly spectacular, as are the giant tortoises at Rancho El Manzanillo. Here, you’ll don knee-high rubber boots to wade into the green fields to come face to face with these majestic creatures and woodpecker finches alike. Then, continue on to the famed Charles Darwin Research Station where you’ll learn about breeding and reintroduction programmes for land iguanas and giant tortoises. You’ll then have some free time to explore bohemian Puerto Ayora’s art galleries and corner cafés. 


Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included

Galapagos wildlife (credit: Pikaia Lodge)

Giant Tortoises, Galapagos

Los Gemelos, Galapagos Islands

Los Gemelos, Galapagos


Days 15 – 16

Baltra/UK

End in Baltra with a chance to say goodbye to its land iguanas before you board your overnight flight home, reached by an included transfer. On arrival, your chauffeur transfer will see you home in style.

Breakfast included

Baltra

Baltra, Galapagos


"This itinerary will allow you to discover the stunning Ecuadorian scenery combined with the rare wildlife of the famed Galapagos Islands. The Train of Wonders winds its way through the Andes on an unforgettable journey – the perfect introduction to your ocean voyage. Speak to your consultant about upgrading to a Silver Suite on board the ship for true indulgent luxury, with never-ending views of the islands from your own private balcony, and take full advantage of the on board expert expedition guides."

Scott Anderson

Destination Specialist

Guide price from £10,625 pp incl. flights

Year Round from: £10,625 pp

Includes pre-cruise:

  • Private UK transfer
  • Complimentary UK airport lounge access
  • Return flights between the UK and Quito/Guayaquil
  • 3-nights hotel accommodation on a B&B basis
  • A mix of private and shared transfers
  • Private tour of Quito
  • 3-night train tour from Quito to Guayaquil including all meals, snacks and soft drinks, English guide, excursions according to the itinerary, and overnight accommodation
  • Flight to San Cristobal

Includes on board:

  • National Park fees
  • Highly qualified expedition team with experts in their field (marine biologists, ornithologists, historians and more)
  • Accommodation in a Deluxe Veranda Suite
  • Excursions and activities, including explorations by Zodiac®
  • Complimentary expedition gear: backpack and water bottle on every voyage
  • Personalised service with a butler for all suites and the highest crew to guest ratio in the industry
  • Fine dining even in the most remote places of the planet
  • Inclusive room-service, select wines, spirits and soft drinks throughout the ship
  • One hour free WiFi per day for all guests, and unlimited free WiFi for guests sailing in select suite categories
  • Onboard Gratuities
  • Exclusive partnership with The Royal Geographical Society
  • Flight from Baltra to Guayaquil

Includes post cruise:

  • Transfer to hotel in Guayaquil for overnight accommodation
  • Flight from Guayaquil to UK
  • Private UK transfer
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