On the road between Cuenca and Riobamba visitors have the chance to visit two of Ecuador’s most popular tourist destinations. The tour heads out north from Cuenca along the Pan-American Highway towards Alausí. Visitors have the option of joining the tour here.
At Alausí you will take a train ride on the famous Devil’s Nose train, an ingenious zigzag track along which the train descends backwards for over 2 kms down an almost perpendicular mountain face to reach Sibambe. Here visitors are treated to traditional dancing and there is a small museum before heading back up to Alausí.
The tour will then continue south along the Pan-American Highway to visit Ingapirca, the most important Inca complex located in Ecuador, for a guided tour during which you will learn about how the Incas completely transformed local culture in just 60 years. You will then return to Cuenca for a late afternoon arrival.
We ask our clients to book this tour at least 4 days in advance in order to be able to book the train tickets. The tour begins either in Cuenca or Alausí. It is a long day tour, taking about 12 hours in total, so we recommend you get some rest the night before.
Keep in mind that the train was recently modernized. If you are expecting to climb up onto the roof and feel the wind in your hair, as described in older guide books, you may be disappointed. The restoration has led to new rules that prohibit sitting on top of the train and the windows have been sealed. We recommend our more adventurous customers explore the area with one of the following tours:
· Inca Trail & Ingapirca
· Inca Trail: Achupallas to Ingapirca
· Cañari Trail & Ingapirca
This tour includes
· A bilingual (English/Spanish) guide
· Private transportation
· Packed lunch
· Price of private tours includes train ticket and Ingapirca entrance fee
This tour does not include
· Group tour price does not include train ticket or Ingapirca entrance fee ($36)
· Travel insurance
· Any other service not mentioned herein
Devil's Nose Train
In 1899 work started on the construction of Ecuador’s first railway running between Guayaquil and Quito. 130 kms east of Guayaquil the tracks reached El Nariz del Diablo (The Devil’s Nose), a vertical rock wall that created a huge challenge to engineers. The solution was found in an ingenious zigzag track running for 2 kms from Sibambe to Alausí which took the train uphill in small distances both forward and backwards. Many lives were lost in the construction of this masterpiece of railway engineering. The track reached Alausí in 1902 and the section to Quito was completed in 1908. In the 1980s and 1990s the Devil’s Nose Train became famous as a tourist attraction for travelers who would ride on the roof to the amusement of locals. In 1997 the tracks were devastated by El Niño and have recently been restored as part of a large project called the Tren Crucero that runs the entire train line from Quito. A museum, café and small market have been built at Sibambe, while the train station at Alausí has been revamped.
Located at the top of a hill with beautiful views of the surrounding countryside, Ingapirca is the most important Inca complex located in Ecuador. It was built during the Inca expansion into Ecuador at the end of the 15th century on a site that had been occupied by the Cañari people for 500 years. The original Cañari structures were mostly destroyed and replaced by the Incas and their settlement was probably used as a fortress and place of worship on the Inca road between Cuzco and Quito. Today the Temple of the Sun is the only structure that remains mostly intact. The temple features stone walls constructed in the Inca way using massive blocks chiseled to fit together perfectly without the use of mortar.
||Price (per person)
||Min. 2 pax.
Due to the high altitude, weather can change rapidly. We recommend you check with our office prior to departure regarding proper attire.
· Good walking shoes
· Rain jacket
· Sun cream
Group Tours in Ecuador
We’ve created a selection of group tours with regular departures for those traveling around Ecuador on a budget.