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Riding the Liberty Train

August 16, 2013 Ecuador Train, Travel to Ecuador No Comments

Ecuador is revitalizing its once-decrepit train system, and the results are astounding!

camino al boliche

Once, the train went all the way from near the Colombian border in the north to Guayaquil, but with the advent of roads, large sections of track fell into disuse. In recent years, however, Ecuador has been slowly repairing and maintaining key sections of track and railroad cars and opening them up for visitors. Several sections of track have been re-opened: the northernmost one runs from Ibarra to Salinas and is known as “Tren de la Libertad” or “Liberty Train.”

locomotorasThis northern section of track is pretty exceptional: the scenery is breathtaking as the train passes through fields, mountains, and over rivers and through valleys. The track passes through several tunnels, cut through the mountains long ago, and over some old railroad trestles which are still sound. A guide – who generally speaks English and Spanish – accompanies each car, giving a running commentary about the history and landscape of the region. The cars themselves have been refurbished and are comfortable in a Spartan sort of way (there is no overhead rack for your belongings, for example, but the seats are comfy).

The train leaves Ibarra at 10:30 and arrives in Salinas about an hour and a half later. Salinas is a small town, populated mainly by Afro-Ecuadorians who give visitors a warm welcome with dancers who perform the traditional “bomba” dance. Those who wish can take a tour of Salinas and visit the small museum of salt-making at the far end of town. The train returns to Ibarra later in the afternoon: m

tren de la libertad

ost visitors do the round-trip excursion.
There are many possibilities for combining the Liberty train with other tours.

There is much to see and do near Ibarra, including the world-famous Otavalo Market, the Peguche waterfall and Ibarra itself, home of the famous helados de paila, a local homemade ice cream. The town of Salinas isn’t worth spending more than a few hours, but there are classy haciendas nearby including San Francisco and Pantaví.

Contact Columbus Travel to set up your ride on the Liberty Train today!

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