Riding on top of the Devil's Nose Train (Nariz el Diablo)
Cuenca Travel Blog› entry 15 of 58 › view all entries
For those that haven't heard of this, the Devil's Nose train (Nariz el Diablo) is a section of the track that used to run from Riobamba to Guayaquil, but now only partially runs due to landslides wiping out some of the track etc There's a bit of a novelty to the track around the Devil's Nose where the track zig-zags back and forth to get down hill.
This is a rare occasion where I was glad I got up slightly earlier. All gringos are told to head down for the train at about 6 a.m., but I'd the benefit of seeing someones photos of how full the roof was already at 6 so I targetted 5:45 instead. I was one of the first on the roof so pretty much had my choice of spots (as well as being an early target for the coffee/biscuit/drink vendors).
One other thing is you definitely want is to pay the $1 to rent a cushion, I only saw a couple of people who didn't but there butts must have hurt! Warm clothes are one more essential, I don't know how my early morning brain remembered to put a beanie and gloves in but both were appreciated.
Once you're underway it is definitely a feast for the senses. You have the wind hitting you as you go past some pretty incredible views, the smell of, well, train I guess ;). After not too long I chose to skip one course of the feast and put my iPod in to drown out the train noise, but it's really not too bad, I just preferred the music for this journey.
One other thing that might be of interest to other travellers was that I reserved a seat on a bus to Cuenca from a guy selling tickets on the roof of the train ($5). This could easily have been a scam but I took the chance and gambled well since some people didn't have seats for the bus ride and ended up standing for the better part of 4 hours.
Before taking the train ride there was a lot of debate among travellers on the road for whether it was worthwhile or not. To put in my two cents I thought it was definitely worth doing. Yes you're just on a roof full of gringos so it is most definitely a tourist trap, but the scenery and the novelty of being on a train roof definitely make it worth it, in my humble opinion. However, I would say that for any of the people who got on in Alausi just for the Devil's Nose rather than coming all the way from Riobamba, it probably isn't worthwhile, it just doesn't go for that long and as far as I'm concerned, the scenery rather than the zig-zagging was the highlight.
Stayed that night in Hotel Mercando in Cuenca which was ok but had more of a hotel (as it's name would suggest :) ) feel than the communal feel of hostels so I'll try to change accommodation tomorrow if I can.