Tren Ecuador

Tren Ecuador, Otavalo: Address, Phone Number, Tren Ecuador Reviews: 4.5/5

Tren Ecuador
4.5
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Address
Otavalo Station, Otavalo 100450 Ecuador
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

4.5
48 reviews
Excellent
35
Very good
12
Average
1
Poor
0
Terrible
0

world-gypsy-gal
Cotacachi, Ecuador193 contributions
Solo
the windows are large and the view is phenomenal. Sat on the wrong side - so get the side with the 4 seats for better views. They don't turn around, they just switch the engine so you are on the same side coming and going. Enjoyed the dancing and got to join in, though I didn't attempt the bottle on my head ;)
Written November 22, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Jonathan K
9 contributions
We had planned on a train ride for the family but it has closed down from COVID and may not reopen. Sad really.
Written September 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Mark Nadine
Frankfurt (Oder), Germany19 contributions
Family

Our agency in Ecuador has organized us a one day trip on this train on a route of the Andes. Despite being very close to the truck route, it was a great experience.
Written June 2, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Rachel H
Croydon, UK12 contributions
Friends
Pre-booked a trip via Internet from Ibarra to Salinas and back, which seemed to be the only service available starting near Otavalo. It was a comfortable and interesting ride on a refurbished diesel railcar. There was an informative commentary in both Spanish and English. We were accompanied in Ibarra by 6 armed motorcycle outriders, who ensured our safety and stopped the traffic at junctions to let the railcar pass - it felt like we were royalty going on a journey surrounded by members of our personal cavalcade! Fortunately the weather was fine, letting us see clearly the magnificent Andean scenery. This gave us us a real sense of the landscape and being in the high Andes that a stay in a nearby town could not. Thoroughly recommended.
Written March 6, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

William D
Hurricane, WV161 contributions
Couples
seems there is a track repair still going on, so you take a public bus from Otavalo to Ibarra to catch the train. EVERY agent we spoke too had GOOD English. A pleasant ride, a chance to meet others tourists, and the bus ride was a hoot. (you don't have to eat at the restaurant that they send you to, but there is no other. We took a lunch.)
Written December 28, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

SILFI23
Cusco, Peru63 contributions
Business
Regards to all the team specially to Rolando the guide from Salinas who speaks perfect English and care for us
Written November 26, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Paul W
Sacramento, CA29 contributions
Friends
First things first - if you are thinking about taking this day trip ensure you make reservations in advance. Our hotel's manager called in the same morning and was able to get us the last two seats on the "bus-train" (see photo!). Even though we went on a Thursday the train sold out as it is very popular with tourists (mostly Ecuadorian on our ride). We rode the Tren de la Libertad 1 round trip between Ibarra and Salinas.

You'll need to bring your reservation number and each traveler's passport with you to the train station to purchase the tickets. Cost was US$33 per person for assigned seating. The fare included the services of a bilingual (Spanish/English) guide.

We took a taxi (US$20) from San Pablo del Lago to Ibarra which took about 45 minutes with traffic. We arrived at the beautifully restored Ibarra train station just after 10:30; Tren Ecuador asks passengers to check in at least 30 minutes before the scheduled 11:25 departure. There are clean bathrooms, small snackbar and gift shop in the station. There are no restrooms on the bus-train so plan accordingly.

We departed right on time for the 30 km trip to Salinas. The train moves slowly, between 10 km/h and 30 km/h so it takes about 90 minutes one way. Leaving the station the tracks pass through the center of a large avenue with large markets on both sides before leaving Ibarra city.

During the journey the train descends into the steep canyon formed by the Rio Ambi, crossing two bridges and passing through seven hand-dug tunnels. A short stop is made at the Yachay station where ice cream is the thing to try. After the rest stop, the train continues descending into the Salinas valley. Since Salinas is much lower than Ibarra the temperature is noticeably warmer here.

Upon arrival to Salinas, named for its natural salt deposits found in the soil here, we were greeted by the local Afro-Ecuadorian dance troupe performing the traditional "la bomba" dance outside the train station.

Salinas can best be described as sleepy. The streets were virtually deserted as folks were either at work or they stay inside their homes during the hot part of the day. One could easily imagine tumbleweeds blowing down the street here.

A local guide took us on a walk through the town where we visited a small crafts shop (not much I found of interest here), and a confectionery specializing in local fruit preserves and chocolate candy.We then walked over to the local salt museum where the guide explained how centuries ago the indigenous people originally discovered salt in the soil here and developed a way to extract it. Africans were brought over as slaves by the Spanish to work the salt fields; their descendants make up a significant portion of the population in the area. Ultimately slavery was ended in Ecuador and the Freedom Train helps commemorate this.

Following the salt museum we walked another couple of blocks to a local restaurant where for US$7 we had a set luncheon for us passengers. Chicken soup, grilled chicken breast, rice, purple sweet potato and salad followed by chocolate cake for dessert. The food was quite good.

After lunch we got back on the bus-train and headed back to Ibarra, arriving at 4:45pm.

I asked at the station about the best way to get back to San Pablo del Lago (just south of Otavalo). The agent suggested the intercity bus would be much cheaper than a taxi. The bus station was easy to find - just follow the train tracks from the station, walk about half a kilometer and look for a white clock tower. The entrance to the station is underneath the clock.

Once in the station, which is also a shopping center, we asked how to find the bus to Otavalo and San Pablo. We were directed to walk all the way to the end of the station for the local intercity buses (as opposed to the long distance buses). Here we had to get in line to pay 10 cents to enter the boarding area.

Once in the boarding area the next question was how to find the right bus. Again by asking around we were told the next bus to San Pablo via Otavalo would leave in 15 minutes (they run quite often) and just look for a bus with the town names on it.

A bus pulled up with Otavalo and San Pablo on the signboards in the front window so we queued up to board. A conductor collected the fare which was 90 cents per person to San Pablo (55 cents if you were just going as far as Otavalo). Definitely cheaper than a taxi but took twice as long inasmuch the bus made several stops en route.

Overall I would recommend the Tren de la Libertad if you are in the Otavalo-Cotacachi-Ibarra area and are looking for a nifty day trip.
Written September 3, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Marguerite
Utrecht, The Netherlands337 contributions
Friends
Went with this train from Otavalo to Salinas en back. Unfortunately we had to go the first part by bus because of the rain. The first part of the trip is very touristic. You visit a museum and a workplace. The last part is very beautiful. The landscape is really stunning and it’s great to experience that from the train.
Written May 22, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

mrappe
Chicago, IL20 contributions
Family
All day trip that returns to Otavalo in the evening. The train is very comfortable, the stations along the way are modern, clean and have needed conveniences . There are several stops and three are to interesting sites. The first is a textile factory museum, the 2ns is a wood carvers studio and finally a salt museum. All are very interesting and the guides are great and bilingual. This is a day trip not to be missed. Margaret
Written February 20, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

WJD_CO
Longmont, CO2,385 contributions
Couples
This is a wonderful place to visit, but unfortunately the train is not leaving from here right now due to a track problem due to erosion north of town. Check with Ibarra station to see when the train tracks are repaired , and the train can come to Otavalo again.
Written February 14, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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