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Quito: Ride Ecuador's rails from Quito to the coast

Ride Ecuador's rails from Quito to the coast

There remains across South America a skeletal network of old railroads, harking back to a former age. However not all lie abandoned: Ecuador has recently breathed life back into key stretches of its railway, and the revived line between the capital and the coast now offers the chance to step into an era of steam.

Travelling the full length of the track requires you to slow down and savour four days of dramatically changing scenery, local culture and an old-fashioned rail experience. There are overnight stays in some of Ecuador’s most enticing locations and plenty of stops where you can stroll in scenic landscapes or discover traditional industries including rose cultivation and the perilous glacial ice harvesting of Chimborazo’s ‘icemen’.

You can travel in either direction, either voyaging down from the high Andes, past the permanent snows of volcanoes and into lush lowlands dotted with plantations of banana and sugarcane, or up from tropical coast to temperate highlands. Along the way you’ll have the chance to descend a near-vertical Andean mountainside via an impressive set of switchbacks on Ecuador’s most iconic rail engineering showpiece, the Devil’s Nose.

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