The iconic “Devil’s Nose Train” is one of the last remnants of Ecuador’s Great Southern Railway that linked the port of Guayaquil in the south to the capital Quito. On completion, the “most difficult train in the world”, as it was dubbed, cut a dizzying trail high into the Andes through canyons, mountains and gorges. Sadly, over the years the majority of the track was destroyed by mudslides, flooding and disuse. Fortunately, however, one of the most impressive stretches, “the Devil’s Nose”, has survived and offers visitors a breathtaking journey through the central highlands.
From Riobamba, the train cuts through a lush patchwork of fields to reach the pretty colonial town of Alausi. There, it drops hundreds of metres down the dramatic canyon walls via a spectacular series of switchbacks (the so-called Devil’s Nose) to reach Sibambe before returning along the same route.
The train operates 6 days a week and the entire journey lasts between 5-6 hours. From Alausi, the return journey via the spectacular “Devil’s Nose” takes 2½ hours.
Modern trains have replaced the original locomotives and offer a sitting area on the roof of the train. HOWEVER, we strongly recommend that you sit inside the train. There have been fatalities over the last 10 years.
The Devil’s Nose Train is one of the great rail journeys in South America and a real highlight of Ecuador. Please do ask your Oasis travel consultant how it might best fit into your itinerary.