NEED TO KNOW
ROUTE The train journeys from the towns of Riobamba to Sibame in Central Ecuador
TIME 62 miles (100 km); 5 hours
75°F (24°C) through the year
The dramatic railway line between Riobamba and Sibame is all that survives of the route which formerly connected Quito, in the Ecuadorian highlands, with Guayaquil on the coast. Dubbed “the world’s most difficult railway,” construction of the line across the high Andean massif presented almost insuperable challenges, particularly the near-vertical section of rock known as The Devil’s Nose (El Nariz del Diablo). Engineers conquered the problem by using an ingenious system of zig- zagging lines, with trains alternately traveling backwards and forwards in order to negotiate the switchback tracks. The line is now a popular attraction and visitors sit on the roof to enjoy the stupendous Andean vistas.
Train Schedule Departs three times a week in each direction.
When to Go The dry months, from June to August, although temperatures are pretty much constant all year round.