The Devil’s Nose train is one of the highlights of Ecuador. Even though it doesn’t come up when you google “What to do in Ecuador”. The Devil’s Nose (or La Nariz del Diablo) needed to be overcome when the Trans-Andean railroad was built. In an unparalleled engineering feat the constructors at that time managed to do that. Through zigzags the train climbs a steep 500m over a distance of 12km. All of this was done at the turn of the last century. Impressive indeed!
To board the train you will need to get to Alausi. Since we had stayed overnight in Riobamaba we still had a 90 minute drive. The road lead us to the oldest church in Ecuador which still stands in Balbanera. It was built in 1534 and looks simple enough. Not much is left inside though.
From there it was only a short way to Guamote. Thursdays is usually a big market day in Guamote with lots of people coming from the area. There are two markets, one for animals and another for produce. There was not enough time for both markets, so we only stopped at the produce market. This was enough though to get an impression of the local indigenous people. The costumes were wonderful. All colorful and layered. The ladies put special attention on different hairstyles.
The main attraction of the day was of course the train which we took at 11am. The international tourists take their seats in the first carriage, everyone else in the back. The whole trip takes about two hours. Of these you have a 15 minute photo stop and shortly thereafter a 45 stop for folklore dancing and a museum’s visit. All in all the actual time on the train is rather short.
I also have to confess that sitting in it and looking out was not so impressive. Yes, the pictures look great and one can see that there is really not of room between the train and the abyss. Still, I was less impressed while my friend found it thrilling. But please judge for yourself and let me know what you think. To get a better look, please click here. Yours, Pollybert