Ecuador, Peru Trains Honored with IRT ‘World’s Top 25’ Status
Freshly returned from a 21-day rail exploration tour, Eleanor and I are proud to announce that South America’s first overnight luxury train, the Belmond Andean Explorer, and Ecuador’s plucky day train, the Tren Crucero, have both nabbed spots on our carefully considered World’s Top 25 Trains® list.
As co-owners of The Society of International Railway Travelers®, the world’s oldest travel agency specializing in luxury train travel, we couldn’t be more thrilled.
We were expecting the Belmond Andean Explorer to earn our seal of approval. Instead, it absolutely knocked our socks off.
The outstanding chef, warm and professional on-board staff, excellent guides, amazing outings, lovely decor of the new train — not to mention the absolutely fabulous outdoor viewing deck and the spectacular scenery — all contributed to catapulting the Belmond Andean Explorer into World’s Top 25 Trains® status.
Conversely, we didn’t know what to expect of the Tren Crucero. But we were thrilled with what we found.
Unlike many of our World’s Top 25 Trains®, you don’t sleep on this bright, red train — but its dedicated staff, seamless operation, and fascinating itinerary are all too good to overlook.
Tren Crucero boasts a fantastic open-air deck in the rear lounge car, the center of a great multi-day program. And a just-announced service level addition — Tren Crucero Gold — will introduce a luxury-level experience for discerning travelers.
In Ecuador, we loved the gorgeous old-world Casa Gangotena in Quito, an island of calm just off the bustling main square (and a foodie’s delight).
And we greatly admired the verdant setting of Guyaquil’s recently-opened Hotel del Parque.
Most amazing of all was Mashpi Lodge, a Shangri-La smack dab in the Ecuadorian cloud forest. If you love nature (and especially birds), great hikes and wonderful food, you’ll want to stay here two nights, at minimum. Nestor, our delightful guide, was a font of knowledge on the forest and animals around us — and incredibly fun, to boot.
But for us, of course, the star attractions were the Belmond Andean Explorer, the Tren Crucero, and the Belmond Hiram Bingham.
Watch this space in the coming days for in-depth reports on each.
Both programs are in development, and itineraries are subject to change. But call us now, because Peru and Ecuador are both rising stars for travel in 2017 and 2018.
(800) 478-4881 (US & Canada) or (502) 897-1725 (everywhere else).