Riobamba and the Devils Nose Train
Riobamba Travel Blog› entry 6 of 8 › view all entries
We had come to Riobamba for one reason, to ride the infamous Devils Nose train, the only functioning train ride in Ecuador and one that is famous for the scenery, several switch backs down a steep mountain side and the fact that you can sit on the roof for the entire journey....or so we thought.
Despite staying at the dodgiest hostel so far on our trip (but for $3 what can you expect), Riobamba was a fairly pleasant town - big wide cobblestone streets, a nice plaza de armas and some good places to eat. But enough of the town.
We were both pretty excited at 6am on the day of our train ride, having read so much about this 'awesome' trip our expectations were high. Arriving at the train station with our $12 tickets in hand we were a little taken aback by the amount of tourists already lined up.
As you can imagine, sitting on the would-be train with 40 other tourists we felt a little bit let down and we hadnt even left the station. I must admit though, the journey through the country side was still amazing (make sure you sit on left hand side to get more of the views). Two hours of weaving our way along a river, through small rural towns and along steep canyon edges was just stunning.
While I really really enjoyed the trip, it was only because of the show that nature put on. It wasnt the experience that I had read all about and that it once was (and hopefully one day will be again). Writing this after leaving Ecuador, that trip really summed up the country for me. If only the government threw a little bit of money at it to create a safe train track, the train would still be in existence and people could still sit on the roof and it would continue being the 'experience' that it has been.
Still a good trip though and definitely beats being at work, hehe!!
ps Two weeks after our train ride, we met an Irish guy in Peru who said that his group were 'unofficially' allowed to sit on the roof for the descent of the Devils Nose. Lucky so and so's. Luck of the Irish I guess.