Ever since I first saw the Devil’s Nose train ride on television as a child I have wanted to ride the train. Therefore, from Banos we decided to take a slight detour on our way to Cuenca, and pay the town of Alausi a visit.
Finding information on the Devil’s Nose train ride, or any other train line in Ecuador can be quite a task as information seems to constantly change. Luckily, our guide in Quilotoa referred us to the Ecuadorian train website – www.trenecuador.com. On the website you will find information on prices, timetable and routes for all the parts of the still active train rail system. It is worth noting that a great deal of work is being undertaken to reunite the sections of the rail, and I expect that in the next couple of years a lot of the rail system will be back up and running again.
We arrived in Alausi at 2pm hoping to take the 3pm train ride, we found a lovely new hostel on the main road called Hostal Estacion del Tren, checked ourselves in, dropped off our bags and headed for the station. Unfortunately, they were fully booked for the afternoon but we were able to buy tickets for the following morning.
The only downside was that the good seats with the view, on the right hand side of the train, were fully booked except for in first class, which would cost $35 each. It was steep but I had waited so long to take the ride that I didn’t hesitate for too long. With our tickets booked we headed back to get something to eat.
The following morning we were at the station at 7.45am for our 8am train ride. The first class area consists of a horseshoe-shaped couch so you can maximise your views. The whole train has windows on the sides and part of the roof so you can really see around you.
The ride took just over an hour to reach the station of Sibamba, going through the famous switch back rails, enabling the train to descend comfortably. The views of the surrounding mountains and scenery is beautiful and the train goes fairly slow to allow you to take it all in.
At the station we were greeted by locals performing a welcome dance, a tour of the museum and a courtesy light lunch and drink before heading back up for another ride through the switch back system.
Although, the train ride is much more tourist orientated than the one I saw all those years ago, it was still a fun experience and definitely something different. Originally we had wanted to take the weekend train, which supposedly is the “local” train but our days did not coincide, so if you are considering doing the train ride it may be worth seeing if you can take the weekend train instead as it is also a fair bit cheaper!