Although this tour involves a good bit of driving, we found it to be really worthwhile. The drive to Alausí, where the train begins and ends, allowed us to go through amazing country and small pueblos. It gave us a sense of the beauty of Ecuador, as well as the difficulties in farming the mountainsides. The views as we climbed higher in the Andes were incredible -- Often we were looking down a valley enveloped in clouds. Javier was again our guide and was able to answer questions and give information beyond a simple guide book. The arrangements tickets, substantial bag lunch, water were made by CBT we just had to get on the train to Sibambe, a Cañari town that is the terminus of the train trip. The train's original goal was to create a link between the capital, Quito, and the coast, as a means of transporting food from the sierras. While that goal of food transportation was ultimately not achieved, the creating of that rail link is an incredible engineering feat. The stretch between Alausí and Sibambe, towards the Devil's Nose, lives up to its reputation as one of the most difficult stretches to build, as it climbs the face of Condor Mountain, with sheer drops by the edge of the tracks. The landslide closing the visitor's center higher up -- at Sibambe -- may representative of the inherent dangers in building such a railroad in such steep terrain. Right now part of the old center is hanging over the tracks! Riders on the train are welcomed at the station by Cañaris dancing. The Sibambe interpretation center provides historical background, as well as information about the various activities of the Cañaris who lived and continue to live in the area. The train trip was followed by a visit to Ingapirca, the site of Inca and Cañari ruins. Definitely worth a visit, even in the rain! The park provides guided tours, with the guides providing historical information about the site. When heading back to Cuenca, it was interesting to learn from Javier where many of the original stones of the ruins went!