Naziz Del Diablo (The Devil's Nose).

Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
Trip End Dec 31, 2020

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Where I stayed
A Casa Naranja Cuenca
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Ecuador  ,
Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ecuador is full of surprises.

Firstly it is quite cold. Being on the equator one would expect steamy heat, but our travels are taking us through mountainous country, including snow capped volcanic peaks.

Secondly, Ecuador does not have a currency of their own, but instead all transactions are in $US. The $US goes a long way though, with a big bottle of water .40cents and a quite substantial meal around $3 to $4.

We travelled by bus to Cuenca and on buying our tickets for the bus at the huge modern station in Guayaquil, ran into the young Danish couple who were on our Galapagos Boat buying tickets for the same bus! We shared the 5 hour bus trip then went our separate ways to different hostels. Hitting the ground running, we went out walking to see the historic buildings that make up the centre of Cuenca and to find a travel agent for a tour. We booked a tour for the next day (Sandy at the tour office worked hard to find us a driver) to pick us up at 6.30am to take us to where we could ride the "Devil's Nose Train" and then on to see the most important site of Inca ruins in Ecuador, at Ingapirca. The tour was over our normal budget allowance, however we needed to fit the tour into a tight time frame. We had read and been told the train only ran on Wednesdays and Fridays and we believed if we didn't go on that day we would have missed out. Turns out the train runs most days and we could have probably travelled by public transport and then continued onto Banos.

But, that aside it was a good day out and the tour went without a hitch. We were driven in a comfortable car the 3 hours to Alausi by our driver/guide Genaro, secured our train tickets then had time for a bit of a look around the town.
The Devil's Nose Train (Nariz del Diablo) once an iconic backpackers train journey, it now appears to be the domain of the baby boomber. Travellers used to ride on the roof as the train made its way down the most amazing, world famous, switchbacks. Unfortunately a Japanese tourist fell off the roof in 2008 and now the experience is totally watered down, with no roof riding and a touristy commentary. The track has such sharp angles the train actually drives up into a spur then goes the other way to get around the curve! 

In the afternoon we enjoyed the visit to the Inca site, then it was back to Cuenta.

Unbelievably, the next day we were at the bus station buying our next bus ticket and who should we bump into AGAIN but the Danes. They were heading somewhere else to us this time but a fluke we were again in a bus terminal at the same time.   

Traveller Tip: We can recommend Sandy Bravo of Expediciones Apullacta, for booking tours in and around Cuenta.

Footnote: Historic Centre of Santa Ana de los Rios de Cuenca is UNESCO World Heritage listed.
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