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The Chiva Express

The Chiva Express.......................(2787.jpg)

Talk about traveling in a hybrid. This colorful little bus from Ecuador thinks it's a train. A chiva is an old-style Latin American bus, more accustomed to carrying grain and chickens on its roof than a bunch of tourists. But this particular chiva has been adapted to run on tracks – and gives out-of-towners fantastic views of the Andes and the coastal lowlands of Ecuador.

The Chiva Express.......................(2786.jpg)

The Chiva Express runs from from Quito to Guayaquil. Like an open-topped double-decker bus in London, the train/bus offers a great viewing platform, which looks more than a little precarious when it's traveling across dangerous precipices. However, we're assured it's totally safe.

The Chiva Express.......................(2789.jpg)

Other chivas are being used as party buses in the cities. Though this one is used more for sightseeing, you can crank up the party atmosphere with Canelazo (a local cinnamon drink) and brass band. RM

The Chiva Express.......................(2788.jpg)

Images: Metropolitan Touring

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  • Owen Hardy

    February 6, 2009

    Wow! We’ve been in the rail-travel business for 26 years, and I’ve been on trains all around the world, but I’ve never seen anything like the Chiva Express. Looks fantastic, but who, exactly, ‘assured you it was safe,’ and what were his/her credentials? Just wondering. Owen Hardy, The Society of International Railway Travelers

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