Devils Nose Train, Ecuador
The Devil’s Nose Train was known one of the world’s greatest engineering feats when it was built in Ecuador in 1908, connecting the coastal city of Guayaquil and the capital, Quito, high up in the Andes Mountains. The railway builders had to tackle a near-vertical wall of rock known as El Nariz del Diablo (The Devil’s Nose), and the solution was carving a zigzag path in the rock slowly moving forwards and backwards.
Today the train runs 12 kilometres of the original Trans-Andean railway, and luckily it’s the most exciting segment. Travellers can ride the rain between Alausí and Sibambe at the end of the Devil’s Nose, experiencing an exhilarating decent down the precipitous face of the mountain and views of the snow-capped Chimborazo and Carihuairazo volcanoes.
Prices from: $33
Departing from: Alausí, Ecuador
Journey length: 2.5 hours
Devil’s Nose Train route
The Devils Nose Train embarks on a 12 kilometre journey from Alausí, perched on the side of a valley more than 2,000 metres above sea level, and the small village of Sibambe. The entire journey takes 2 hours 30 minutes in total (return), descending 800 metres down a zig zag path carved into the rock, passing rural villages and sprawling farmland along the way. Towering mountain peaks and rolling green hills dominate the landscape, and guests experience a local museum and presentation of folk dance in Sibambe. While the original full-length track was damaged and closed in 1997, the line was majorly renovated in 2013 – meaning more of the track should be open to trains soon.
Devil’s Nose Train
The itself train carries just 54 passengers at a time and boasts comfortable seats and large viewing windows. During the break at Sibambe, passengers are able to use the toliets and purchase refreshments from the gift shop. Tickets include an on-board guide, visit to a local museum and presentation of folk dance in Sibambe.
What we love
The chance to experience an incredible piece of engineering and an exhilarating decent (and ascent) down the face of a mountain. The views of Ecuador’s sprawling countryside are also pretty incredible – think volcanoes, planes and traditional villages.