- Encounters with locals
- Hiking / Trekking
The only reason to come to Alausí when visiting Ecuador is to catch the train to Nariz del Diablo. I arrived here in the morning, did the train trip in the afternoon, then departed again the following morning.
That said, it is also possible to organise a several-day hike along the Inca Trail from Alausí You can do this on foot or on horseback, depending on your preference, and it really is a superb trip to make. It also gives you the chance to visit the Inca site of Ingapirca, which you arrive at after passing through through some absolutely gorgeous landscapes and scenery. The town of Alausí itself, however, is normally a very calm, quiet place. But just to give the lie to what I've just said about it, on the day I arrived here there was a huge organised celebration taking place to mark the opening of a new bakery. Fantastic concerts, incredible noise, dance shows: I didn't get much sleep that night, and I can truly say that I got to see Alausí in circumstances much at odds with the quiet atmosphere you can normally expect from the place.
Ecuador's tourist train departed from Riobamba at the time of this journey and used to stop at Alausi after visiting Guamote. Next it would head on to the Nariz del Diablo before finally stopping at the disused station in Sibambe.
It's this second part of the journey I found most interesting. The valley we travelled through was completely arid. The train went round a number of tight bends, slowed down, then reversed its way down to Nariz del Diablo.
Many tourists headed all the way back to Riobamba on the return journey. However, it made more sense to get off at Alausi if you were continuing on to southern Ecuador, to Cuenca for example. This is what I did. When waiting for the bus in the afternoon, I got some lunch near the train station in Alausi then went for a little tour around the town. I remember this quite well because it proved easy to find transport.