Ecuador // The central sierra //


Some 43km south of Guamote, lying far below the highway in a round valley enclosed by hills, ALAUSÍ (2350m) is an atmospheric little railway town made up of crumbling adobe houses. Every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, crowds gather around the rail tracks from 10–11am to watch the train from Riobamba glide right through the middle of town, where it pauses for a short stop while vendors clamber onto the roof to sell refreshments. About two and a half hours later, the train reappears on the way back from the Devil’s Nose ascent ( for details on times and ticket prices), at which point most people get off to take a bus (saving a few hours), before it trundles along the track on to Riobamba.