Alausi is a village in the Andean Highlands of Ecuador. It is the closest station to the train ride Naríz del Diablo. Although most of the tourism in Alausí is centered on the Devil's Nose Train, the town, although small, is quite charming and worth a look.
Alausi is 5 hours away from Quito and it is connected by the Pan-American Southern highway. You can also overnight at Riobamba, located 3 hours away from Quito, and continue the next morning to Alausí in a 2 hours drive.
From Quito's Quitumbe station, Express Sucre Cooperativa de Transportes run a bus several times a day, (6½ hours) (Dec 2017).
It's a really small town so walking is usually the best option.
There is a big statue of Saint Peter on top a hill close by. The views are nice from this statue.
Devil's Nose train
The steepest descent of any section of railway track in the world (including two switchbacks), with impressive views of the Andean terrain, La Naríz del Diablo (the Devil's Nose), is just outside Alausí. You can can take a tourist train that goes down the devil's nose and back up. The train goes every day but Monday, and on holidays 08:00 (returning to Alausí at 10:30), and 11:00 (returning at 13:30). The railway asks that you be at the station 30 min before departure.
Roundtrip tickets cost $33 (Feb 2018). Tickets include train ticket, English-speaking guide through the journey, a visit to Puñuna Condor Museum in Sibambe and presentation of a folk dance in Sibambe. A café at Sibambe sells coffee, cold drinks, snacks, and hot breakfasts and lunches. The café and sale of handicrafts help support the community.
You can buy e-tickets and book seats online. Seats are labelled "A" (for the abyss side of the train, or "M" (for the mountain side). The abyss side is generally preferred, but people move around the wagon and will usually share access to the window, so don't worry if you cannot get "A" seats.
You can buy tickets by phone in Ecuador (+1800 873637), USA +1-888-589-7245, or Australia (+1800 156671). Contact by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bring a jacket for cold weather, walking shoes, hat, sunscreen (SPF 30 at least), sunglasses, camera, cash and insect repellant. The altitude ranges from 2,340 to 1,400 meters above sea level. The temperature ranges from 15° to 25°C.
A public parking area is available in front of the station.
Riding on the roof of the train is no longer a part of the tour and is no longer permitted for safety reasons (there was a fatality in 2006).
Several shops near and in the railway station sell handicrafts and alpaca wool products.
A small open market sells practical daily-use items for the locals at the bottom of the hill with the San Pedro statue, on the opposite end of town as the railway station.
There is a small shopping center and food market in the center of town one block up the hill (towards the highway) from the main street.
There is a café in the train station, and a few simple restaurants on the main street.
A few simple bars can be found on the main street.
- Community Hostel Alausi, Eloy Alfaro (50 m from the train station). Run by the friendly parents of the Ecuadorian-American who opened Community Hostal Quito, this friendly guest house is very close to the train station, but can be extremely noisy when the neighbors have a party. Dorm bed $12, double room $30, superior king room $50, breakfast $3 per person.
Buses to Riobamba and Cuenca depart from the bus station on the main street and other buses to these destinations pass by the bus stop on the highway. If one of these locations doesn't have an immediate connection, check the other.