We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Nice views but best for senior citizen bus tours” 3 of 5 stars
Review of The Devil's Nose (Nariz del Diablo Railroad)

The Devil's Nose (Nariz del Diablo Railroad)
Riobamba - Alausi, Riobamba, Ecuador
Improve this listing
Ranked #3 of 14 things to do in Riobamba
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Considered one of the world’s best railway engineering feats, this scenic railroad travels over a series of switchbacks as it zigzags down the steep mountainside passing small villages and Andean lakes along the way.
Walnut Creek, CA (SF Bay Area)
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
115 helpful votes 115 helpful votes
“Nice views but best for senior citizen bus tours”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 23, 2012

Described as a once in a lifetime event by most of the tour books, we were expecting something truly spectacular along the lines of a single track bike trail in Patagonia or a precipitously hanging cliffside adventure. Unfortunately, it's really just a slow 30 minute ride in a European built and thoroughly restored new train that descends a few thousand feet, stops at a station built for tourists complete with a cheesy dance show by locals in costume and a building calling itself a museum with a few cheap trinkets for sale.

The most interesting part about this trip is the history of the train itself. Fortunately, although nobody but me read them, there is a series of placards explaining it on the top of the station overlooking a beautiful view of the surrounding valley. The train was part of the Trans-Ecuadorian route that was the vision of a 19th century entrepreneur. Its main purpose was to carry the wealthy people out of the torrid heat and humidity of Guayaquil on the coast to the cool comforts of the Andes region. Touted as an architectural feat for its day, the main feature of the train was the decision to build a series of switchbacks to traverse the narrow valley that descends 6,000 feet in only a few miles rather than build traditional track. The train opened up the Andes region for trade and allowed Quito to thrive as the capital of a country straddled by four unique climatic zones.

At the moment the track is only used for tourism three times a day but I'm told there are plans to reinstate the tracks again as an alternative method of travel between the mountains and the coast. It is unclear who would use this since the cost is no doubt astronomical for a population that makes an average wage of a few thousand US dollars a year but the current government is on a mission. The train itself is comfortable enough and air conditioned. It starts at the terminal in the picturesque town of Aluesi where you board. It takes about 30 minutes, goes about 15 MPH and a guide narrates the history. The scenery is nothing spectacular until you get to the bottom where you disembark for an hour. The price includes "lunch" which is a sandwich with one thin piece of meat on a small bun. You can walk to the small museum at the top of the hill (recommended) if you are relatively fit or you can watch the very cheesy tourist show at the station where the local people dance for you in costume and expect tips.

The views are very nice at the top and the bottom but overall this is not really worthwhile for active visitors unless you really have spare time or like us, are travelling north by car from Cuenca to Quito. If you go, ensure to take a walk though the town for about an hour and eat some local street food (try some Loco Pappas, potatoes with a local ketchup and mayo or something like that). The town has a real local flair that made the entire day worthwhile. The train? OK but not great

Visited November 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

252 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    101
    86
    43
    11
    11
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Calgary
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
“I love trains and this didn't disappoint in any way”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 9, 2012

The train trip provides excellent views of the mountains and valleys. The architecture of the switchbacks makes for a smooth transition down the mountainside and back up again. There is a snack included in the trip and opportunity to take photos. The staff were wonderful. The only thing lacking was opening windows so that photos during the trip could be taken without glass glare.

Visited December 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South East London
Top Contributor
228 reviews 228 reviews
103 attraction reviews
Reviews in 106 cities Reviews in 106 cities
129 helpful votes 129 helpful votes
“Worth the trip but not as expected”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 24, 2012

Enjoyed this train journey but was not like I had expected. The train is modern and there are no outside viewing balconies. The seats inside the carriages are quaint though - easy chairs and very comfortable.
The scenery is spectacular and the guide spoke good English, although she omitted to say that an English engineer was involved with the original track building. The history of how it was built and the story of The devil's Nose is fascinating and there is a Museum where the train stops which explains it all. The indigenous people of the area welcome the train with a dance and then wave it off when it leaves.

Visited October 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Banff, Canada
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
“Boring...”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 18, 2012

I went with my friends expecting a little exciting drive; well, they have changed the train for a new modern one; we can't go in the roof, we just sit still like old tourists. The ride is $25 and i don;t believe it is worth $5.

Visited November 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“Not to be missed”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 5, 2012

Sit on the right because the trip down is more spectacular and slower than back up. The wait at the bottom was too long. The information on history only in Spanish which was a pity. no information on gauge or rail weight or type of steam locos used or maximum weight drawn up. Only grade (5%). But the line itself ws what I went for and is unforgettable.

Visited November 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed The Devil's Nose (Nariz del Diablo Railroad) also viewed

Riobamba, Chimborazo Province
Riobamba, Chimborazo Province
 
Banos, Tungurahua Province
 

Been to The Devil's Nose (Nariz del Diablo Railroad)? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage The Devil's Nose (Nariz del Diablo Railroad), register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.