Tren Crucero visits Inti Sisa, an organization that supports Ecuadorian communities through education and skills training. Above, a woman showcases a cloth she has made with the sewing skills she learned at Inti Sisa.
Tren Crucero visits Inti Sisa, an organization that supports Ecuadorian communities through education and skills training. Above, a woman showcases a cloth she has made with the sewing skills she learned at Inti Sisa.

Rather than simply transporting people between points on a map, Tren Ecuador is in the business of making memories. After all, as a global destination for travelers, one of their top priorities is making sure that their guests enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime vacation that will take them from the shores of the Pacific Ocean to the peaks of the Andes Mountains, where the sky is only an arm’s reach away.

But Tren Ecuador looks beyond customer satisfaction, striving to serve smiles to more than just the tourists who climb aboard their flagship Tren Crucero: They also serve the communities situated along their tracks, creating both jobs and educational opportunities for the people of Ecuador. It is this awareness and full-hearted embrace of their social responsibility that sets Tren Ecuador apart, showing that they understand tourism is a global phenomenon not because of its ability to span the globe but because of its ability to empower the people of the world.

Each of the 18 stops along Tren Crucero’s route feature a cafe, souvenir shop, and museum focusing on the history of the railroad. These cafes and facilities, instead of used simply for Tren Ecuador’s own enrichment, are operated entirely by locals, who are thus able to reap the benefits of tourism in their community.

Under this arrangement, Tren Ecuador provides residents with business training to equip them with the skills needed to run a restaurant, and nearly 45 local vendors supply the cafe with food from their own farms and more than 15 on-site staff members work in the cafe to cook and serve guests, often drawing on their own family recipes to cook truly authentic Ecuadorian cuisine. In the souvenir shop, artsinal goods handcrafted by locals are on sale. But in all areas of the facility–and in the community at large–locals enjoy opportunities to apply their distinct cultures and heritage to the tourist trade thanks to Tren Ecuador’s fulfillment of their social responsibilities, helping to improve the lives of countless Ecuadorians who make their homes along the tracks.

Tourism generated by Tren Crucero also supports organizations that work for the benefit of the Ecaudorian people. The Inti Sisa Foundation, for example, offers the people of the Andean village of Guamote with workshops in computer skills, sewing, English language education, as well as a kindergarten for children and much more as a method of empowering the members of this underprivileged community.

Several of Tren Crucero’s itineraries stop in Guamote and visit Inti Sisa, showing tourists how this group improves lives on a daily basis through creating educational opportunities. By visiting their mountain community, Tren Ecuador supports the people of Guamote and the philanthropic work of the Inti Sisa Foundation.

So, as we pointed out earlier, Tren Ecuador isn’t in the business of moving people from place to place. Their main focus isn’t on raising the bottom line, but raising the bar in terms of the service they provide both to clients and to the communities where they operate, and it’s their use of tourism as a tool to improve the lives of Ecuadorians that makes them truly innovative. You can support the good work they do: On your next vacation, travel to a place where the smiles and memories you make will fuel a better life for countless people.

To book a tour on board Tren Ecuador’s Tren Crucero, click here!