We began in Quito, flying in from Cuenca for a couple days. Then, we boarded the Tren Crucero (Train Cruise)!. The train took us up and down the spine of the Andes through the Avenue of the Volcanoes.
The scenery is breathtaking! In some cases,you see scenery only visible from the train. In some sections of the track, restored, live steam locomotives pulled us along.
This train tour is 3 nights/4 days. Some folks will say it's expensive (all inclusive, about $1200/each), but we think it's one of the best ways to experience Ecuador (especially if you don't have a car). All meals/snacks, side tours and overnight accommodations in historic haciendas are included. We think it's a lot of value and a lot of fun for the money. Highly recommended!
The staff are very professional, knowledgeable and fun. They all did a fabulous job for us.
We met some mighty fun fellow travelers on the tour as well. Some were celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, family get-togethers and other major milestones and events.
Here are links to the tour: (There are other sites, too, just do a search for more.)
It's becoming a very popular tour for tourists and citizens alike, so you may have to book several weeks in advance. When we booked, we were about 3 months out. You can also just take a day trip to experience the Devil's Nose portion.
The train cruise from Quito ends in Duran, outside Guayaquil. You can also take the tour in the reverse direction, beginning in Duran and going up to Quito.
We spent the night in Guayaquil and then a (pre-arranged) driver picked us up and we headed to the Coast for a few days. It was Richard's birthday and we had a great time celebrating with family, Bob, Roxanne and Coquita.
A most excellent vacation!