Alausí is the railway town at the top of the famous Nariz del Diablo, or Devil’s Nose, section of Ecuador’s train line. During the dryer months i.e. the high season there is an increase in the influx of tourists. This route passes by the lakes at Cajabamba and Colta whilst climbing to the picturesque colonial village of Alausi, and from there zig zags up and down the spectacular 45 degree incline of the Devil’s Nose before returning to Alausi. The views from the train are indeed very impressive. But consider this: The train is now a tourist attraction only, not a means of transportation and there´s a guide that explains in both Spanish and English about the history of the train and the places during the ride.
Before 2009 it was allowed to sit on the roof, which now has been prohibited for safety reasons.
The Nariz del Diablo train uses a modern engine to pull the beautiful wagons. The train is often replaced by one of two bus bodies mounted on train wheels. You still see the same views, but the vehicles are less atmospheric than the train and have fewer seats. If it matters to you, check when you buy your tickets whether you will be on the train or the so called autoferros. Sometimes the bus bodies mounted on train wheels, which are lighter, can still travel when the track cannot support the heavier train. The Devil’s Nose train or autoferro leaves Alausí every day of the week except Monday and operates at 8 am and 11 am to go down the Nariz del Diablo and back – the train ride will take approx.. 2 and a half hours. The timetable is subject to change due to bank and public holidays. The autoferros are also sometimes booked for extra private tours by travel agents from Quito. Buy your tickets in good time as they sell out quickly.