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Ecuador / South America

The Devil’s Nose | How to Hike the Awesome Trail from Alausi Ecuador

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One of the best day hikes in Ecuador starts from the “Pueblo Magico,” of Alausí Ecuador, the worthwhile Devil’s Nose hike, or “la Nariz del Diablo.” Follow along a dusty road with incredible valley views, have distant views of tiny hamlets, and reach a small statue of a condor, one that was built by the welcoming Nizag community. This scenic day hike puts you on top of the Devil’s head with breathtaking 360° views of the canyon and train tracks below.

This is a definitive guide on what to expect on the Devil’s Nose day hike. Download and view the Nariz del Diablo map, check out a few different hiking trail options, and the find the easiest way to return to Alausí. Included are some help tips on things to do in Alausi.

Don’t miss the beautiful day hike from Alausi, the Devil’s Nose.

Table of Contents

Disclosure: This is part of my Hikes & Adventures series, which means these treks can be strenuous and challenging. I have personally done each of these hikes, but it does not make me an expert by any means. Please have all the proper equipment, verify the weather conditions, and take into consideration your own physical abilities and/or limitations. Please see my full disclosure for more information here.

A Note About the Devil’s Nose Train Ride

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The Devil’s Nose Train Station in Alausí

Yes, this post is all about the Devil’s Nose hike, but it’s impossible to not mention one of Ecuador’s most famous attractions: The Nariz del Diablo Train. The train line started construction in 1872, and took over 30 years to complete. It seems miraculous at the time to build a zigzag train track through the jagged and steep slopes of the Andes mountains. It is estimated over 2,000 people perished building these dangerous railroad tracks. Sadly, a majority of the work force was from Jamaica and Haiti.

Today, the popular train departs from the Alausi train station and arrives at the station of Sibambe. Upon arrival, expect to have a straight on view of la Nariz del Diablo. The train ride itself takes around an hour and a half as it follows the route 12 kms (under 7.5 miles). Miraculously, the ride descends almost 500 m (1,640 ft) to the Sibambe station from Alausi.

The Devil’s Nose train tickets are steep (pun intended) at around $40 per person for a 2.5 hour experience. This includes an hour at Sibambe where you gaze upon the cliffs next to the river. This Ecuador attraction was once for extreme “Dare Devil’s,” since tourists used to be allowed to sit on the top of the train cars, in the open air. Unfortunately, this thrilling option is no longer available.

💬 Real Talk | The Devil’s Nose Train (Nariz del Diablo tren) has been closed since 2020 due to Covid. The official website to purchase train tickets has been sold and it is unknown if and when the train will reopen. The above information provides a brief history on the building and tickets before 2020 incase the train begins service in the near future.

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The Devil’s Nose train cars sit unused, for now, in Alausi Ecuador

For now, the cars sit empty on the tracks, and Alausí sees fewer tourists. I highly suggest the Devil’s Nose hike as an alternative “excuse” to visit this worthwhile and charming “Pueblo Magico” in Ecuador.

Love places like this? Here’s 20+ South American Villages to Visit in the Andes Mountains

How to Reach Alausi Ecuador

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Cuenca, a favorite Ecuador destination, is 4 hours by bus from Alausi

To the south of Alausi is the colonial city of Cuenca. Cuenca is a highlight on many Ecuador itineraries and includes bustling markets, beautiful architecture, authentic and exciting restaurants, nearby curative hot springs, and is a hub to experience some diverse day trips. To get to Alausi from Cuenca, simply hop on any bus that connects Cuenca to Quito.

🚌 Bus Logistics | Cuenca to Alausi  | Average Fare: $6 USD | Duration: 4 hours | Multiple bus companies follow this route, but Patria Bus Company has departures from Cuenca’s Terminal Terrestre to Alausí directly | Current Departure Schedule: 4:15, 5:15, 9:40, 11:15, 14:00, 15:30, 17:30, 19:15

While some people visit Alausi as a LONG day trip from Cuenca, in my humble opinion, the village is cute and warrants more than one day.

Those coming from the North from Latacunga after hiking the Quilotoa Loop will probably change buses in Riobamba.

🚌 Bus Logistics | Riobamba to Alausi  | Average Fare: $2.70 USD | Duration: 2 hours 

Travelers coming from Baños de Agua Santa can hop on a bus to Ambato or Riobambo to continue to Alausi.

Devil’s Nose Map & Day Hike Logistics

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The Devil’s Nose hike runs parallel and high above the train tracks and river

There are many different routes that explore la Nariz del Diablo.

  1. Hike the Devil’s Nose as an Out & Back Trail from Alausi (Moderate)
  2. Hike from Alausi to Nizag Community (Moderate)
  3. Hike from Alausi and hike down the Nose to Sibambe (Moderate, but Longest Distance)

This Devil’s Nose Hiking Guide follows Route 2, from Alausi to Nizag, with an optional hike along the ridge of the “Nariz del Diablo.”

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 ⁉️ If downloading the Devil’s Nose hike map, please verify that the map is correct and follows the waypoints. Oftentimes there are updates to the site, map platforms, and other things, which can cause a bug in downloading. This map is solely a planning tool. Please comment below if something doesn’t download right or email me here, as it helps me keep the maps up to date and maintained. Always hike responsibly and respect the mountains by practicing no trace philosophy, avoid hiking alone, and don’t stray from the visible trail. I also love to check and plan my routes with useful tools like graphhopper.

Nariz del Diablo Hike Overview & Logistics

  • Point to Point Trail
    • Alausi to Nizag Community
  • Difficulty: Moderate, but the altitude of Alausi is close to 7,500 ft. in elevation
  • Distance: close to 9 miles
  • Excursion Duration: +/ – 6 hours, depending how long you stay at Condor Puñuna and how far you hike on the ridge of the “Devil’s Nose”
  • The condor viewpoint does not open until 9 am
    • The earlier you arrive to the admission booth the better, clouds usually cover the valley below by midday
  • The trail doesn’t really have official trail markers, but the path is pretty apparent
  • This hike can be complete anytime of the year
    • Remember, during the rainy season trails can be muddy
    • Saturday is the best day to hike the Devil’s Nose for cultural travelers
  • Day Hiking Essentials
    • First-Aid Kit
    • Plenty of Water
    • Trekking Poles if you love them
    • Hiking shoes or trail runners
    • Layered clothing, long sleeves best for sun and a rain jacket for the afternoon
    • Small bills for the entrance fee and /or food & beverages

Hey… don’t forget your Travel Insurance! I love SafetyWing

La Nariz del Diablo Hike | Alausi to Nizag Details

Here’s more detailed directions about the day hike along the Devil’s Nose from Alausi to Nizag.

Alausí to Condor Puñuna

The Devil’s Nose hike begins on the outskirts of Alausi near the Old Bull Ring. You can follow the train tracks here. Continue along the gravel road for about 10 minutes, past Hostal Killa Wasi. Shortly after, the road becomes more of a foot path. Hopefully the morning is clear so to have incredible views of the valley below. Notice the famous Devil’s Nose train tracks, too.

This section of the path is quite scenic and there are some rocks marked with the elevation. The trail here is a little more narrow, but opens to viewpoints of the farmland throughout the valley.

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The scenic trail of the La Nariz del Diablo hike, the condor is along the distant ridge

About 2.5 miles into the Nariz del Diablo trail, see a fork in the trail, which is simply marked by a stick. On a clear day, you should be able to see the ridge line that is home to the condor statue that mark’s the mirador of the Devil’s Nose. Turn right to walk to the distinct cliff.

The entrance booth for Condor Puñuna should be visible now. Pay the $2 entrance fee that helps support the Nizag Community and sign-in.

🥾 Alausi to Condor Puñuna Entrance Booth | Distance: 3.5 miles | Duration: +/- 1.5 hours | Entrance Fee: $2, opens at 9:00

Condor Puñuna

Once you pay the entrance fee, take the dirt road out to the condor statue. Just past the statue, is a mirador, simple bathrooms, a restaurant, and a small stand that sells beverages.

This mirador is actually the top of the “Devil’s head.” There is a dirt path that is steep and narrow that continues to the ridge of the Devil’s Nose. After the first hundred yards or so there are no handrails, be mindful on this optional portion of the trail.

It is possible to hike all the way down to the river towards the Sibambe Station. However, I only walked down to the ridge-line and had this amazing view to myself. Remember, you will have to climb back up to the trailhead, so it can be steep upon return. You will also have to find a way to return to Alausi if you continue to Sibambe.

The path down to the nose ridge is super beautiful, so I highly suggest walking just a small portion of it, especially on a clear morning!

Saturdays at Condor Puñuna

Saturdays is the best day to hike to the Devil’s Nose. The local community puts on a traditional dance. This is a perfect way to help support the local community. The festivities usually begin around 11:30. The community wears traditional red clothing and offers typical plates of food like grilled cuy, or guinea pig. Vegetarians may opt for chocolo con queso, an Andean corn with cheese.

There are beers, waters, and other drinks available for purchase.

Travel Tip | Arrive at 9 am to the entrance gate for Condor Puñuna to hopefully appreciate a clear view of the canyon. Clouds had rolled in around 11:00 and covered the entire valley by the time the dance started. All the day trippers missed the picturesque views of the valley from Nariz del Diablo.

Condor Puñuna to Nizag Community

When ready, leave the mirador and follow the dirt trail back to the entrance booth. Instead of following the trail back to Alausi, take the trail to the right to walk through the tiny hamlet of Nizag. Remember, it’s possible to follow the same trail back to Alausi, but there was something very magical about the hamlet of Nizag.

The path is scenic and mostly flat. The highlight is that it passes through an authentic Ecuador village that rarely sees tourists and it can feel as if you are traveling back in time.

Wander past family homes, children playing in the streets, inquisitive farm animals, and people enjoying their lunch next to their gardens.

It is possible to sometimes catch a truck passing through the puebla to the main road. I was told it’s around 50¢. Otherwise, walk slowly out of town and enjoy the scenery.

Cross a bridge and start taking the uphill gravel road to the main road where you can flag down a bus to Alausi.

🥾 Condor Puñuna – Nizag Community | Distance: 4.5 miles | Duration: +/- 1.5 hours

How to Return to Alausi Ecuador

Arrive to the main road. Cross the street to wait for a bus to pass in the direction back to Alausi.

The people here are friendly and I got offered a few rides from locals. Always trust your gut if hitching a ride back to Alausi.

🚌 Bus Logistics | Nizag Community to Alausi Ecuador | Cost: $1 USD | Duration: 30 minutes | Multiple bus companies pass by this road, but I caught Patria Bus Company

Devil’s Nose Day Hike Cost

So, how much does it cost to hike La Nariz del Diablo?

EXPENSEUSD ($)
Condor Puñuna Entrance Fee$2
Chocolo con Queso $2.50
Tip for Children Dancing (Optional)$1
Bus Fare | Nizag Main Road to Alausi$1
TOTAL$6.50

While the Devil’s Nose train tickets start at $40, the Nariz del Diablo hike is a budget-friendly activity at around $6.50 for the full day.

More Things to Do in Alausi Ecuador

There are many things to do in Alausi, and it truly is such a special place. Besides the main attraction of “La Nariz del Diablo,” the village has multiple viewpoints. One of the best views come from Mirador San Pedro. Visit the Puente Negro, or black bridge, which when running, the Devil’s Nose train crosses.

The main market in Alausi is housed in a beautiful building. Parque 13 de Noviembre is a lovely plaza to visit along with the open Plaza Jesús Camañero. Even if the train station is closed, it’s still worthwhile to walk by and take a peak at the refurbished train cars. The clock tower is also worth a stroll-by. If you opt for skipping the hike, the Old Bull Ring is unique to walk past.

On Sunday, Plaza Jesús Camañero turns into a huge local market. Eat traditional food, stroll through the make-shift stands, and check out the hand-stitched belts. The traditional Sunday market is another reason to hike the Devil’s Nose on Saturday.

There are day trips to waterfalls and the Lagunas de Ozogoche. The lakes are famous for the cuvivíes birds that mysteriously die by the hundreds by flying into the icy lakes. This phenomenon is still unexplainable, but the locals honor the migratory birds with a festival in September and October.

➯ Detailed Travel Guide | 10+ of the Best Things to Do in Alausi Ecuador

Hike the Ecuador Inca Trail | 3 Days

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Views of Laguna Culebrillas, a mystical lake along the Ecuador Inca Trail

Intrepid hikers can tackle a multi-day trek along the Ecuador Inca Trail. The trailhead begins in Achupallas, which is an hour away from Alausí. The trail passes through the barren Andes Mountains, picturesque alpine lakes, and ends at the “Largest Inca Ruins in Ecuador, Ingapirca.” However, Ingapirca was inhabited by the Cañari culture, so the informative site is worth a visit.

Achupallas is the “official trailhead” of The Great Inca Trail. Few have tackled this mighty trail that takes 3 – 4 months to complete, but it ultimately ends at the Imperial City of Cuzco in Peru. However, since the Qhapaq Ñan connects over 20,000 miles of old Inca Roads, you could hike much longer and farther if you wished.

🥾 Ecuador Inca Trail Guide | How to Hike from Achupallas to Ingapirca

Where to Stay in Alausí

There are a wide range of Alausi Ecuador hotels, hostels and guesthouses.

I loved Alausi Community Hostel. This awesome accommodation has shared and private rooms. The industrial kitchen is a dream, there’s lots of open community spaces, it’s super clean, and they store luggage for trekkers. Alausi Community Hostel offers tours, breakfast, and dinner. There is an all-day complimentary coffee and tea bar. The staff is so friendly and if the hostel sounds familiar, it’s because it’s operated by the superstar family (father and son duo) that run the popular Quito Community Hostel.

Killa Wasi, near the trailhead of the Devil’s Nose and outside of the village is also worth a mention. They have lots of green space, budget rooms, and you can camp there.

Find the best Alausi Ecuador hotels and places to sleep here

Nariz del Diablo | The Complete Guide to Hike the Devil’s Nose

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Stunning views of Alausi while hiking La Nariz del Diablo, the trail to the Devil’s Nose

The Devil’s Nose, or Nariz del Diablo, is a hidden surprise when traveling through Ecuador. While many travelers visit Alausi Ecuador to take the switchback ride on the Devil’s Nose Train, an alternative way to enjoy the deep canyon in the Andes Mountains is by taking a day hike.

The Devil’s Nose is the perfect day hike that includes spectacular views of the deep canyon in the Andes Mountains. Walk above the famous train tracks to the condor statue and be welcomed by the beautiful people of the Nizag community. Saturday is the best day to hike the Devil’s Nose since the community hosts typical food and dance and then catch the bustling local Sunday market.

While the Nariz del Diablo is the main attraction of Alausi, the charm of the town has a way of pulling you in for a day or two. This village was named a “Pueblo Magico” in Ecuador for a reason.

The Devil’s Nose hike is a spectacular day hike in Ecuador… don’t miss this underrated gem!

Have you been to Alausi Ecuador? Did you hike the Devil’s Nose, or opt for the Devil’s Nose Train Ride? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Disclaimer: There’s a chance this post contains affiliate links, and I receive a small (but grateful) portion of the sale. There’s no extra cost to you, and I only promote things that I use and love.

About Author

Hey, my name is Megs! I'm an adventure-seeking, wanna be storyteller, with a wandering soul. I love immersing myself in diverse cultures and customs. I'm kind of obsessed with hiking in the mountains, soaking in hot springs, and seeking-out the most authentic travel experiences as possible! Find me savoring a good cup of coffee, eating at traditional markets, or catching a sunset with a glass of wine in hand. Experiences and memories are my most prized possessions.

6 Comments

  • Linda Jane
    March 12, 2022 at 1:47 am

    I love doing day hikes and this one looks stunning! I’ll save this post for later when I get to Ecuador. Thanks so much for sharing this!

    Reply
    • Megs
      March 13, 2022 at 7:22 am

      This trail is definitely worth it! Happy hiking 🥾

      Reply
  • Terri
    March 12, 2022 at 6:13 am

    I love train rides esp old trains! Its zig zag path sounds delightful. It reminds me of hiking Cinque Terre then boarding a train back home.

    Reply
    • Megs
      March 13, 2022 at 7:25 am

      Interesting comparison! I am hoping the train is reactivated soon to bring some tourism back to this town, but hiking it is such an excellent alternative. It’s such an incredible little village 🚂

      Reply
  • Kelli
    March 13, 2022 at 12:38 am

    This hike sounds great. We, unfortunately, didn’t hike any in Ecuador because of the rain.

    Reply
    • Megs
      March 13, 2022 at 7:33 am

      Awe, bummer! The rain can be a challenge, but it does make everything sooo green and lush!💚

      Next time! 🥾

      Reply

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