Visit Salta on the Train to the Clouds, a High-Altitude Visit

One of the most beautiful experiences in Salta is that of the Train to the Clouds. It is one of the most famous excursions and without a doubt a must in the area.

The train to the clouds is one of the highest tourist trains in the world. Are you going to miss it?

Travel on the Train to the Clouds, Salta

Not so long ago, the Train to the Clouds began in the city of Salta. It was a tour that lasted about 16 hours because the train moved slowly and there were very few stops.

Currently, the tour can be reached through a route that involves a bus that departs from Salta and a train from San Antonio de Los Cobres.

The train to the clouds, over the Polvorilla viaduct, in the province of Salta, Argentina

On the bus, you go with a guide who explains the places you are visiting and what you are seeing. For example, it made us pay attention and see how the landscape changes as it gains height.

At first, it looks like a jungle landscape, very green and leafy. As it rises, the vegetation begins to change, and you see the first cactus or “cardones”( traditional name for this type of cactus in Argentina).

And when you pass the three thousand and a half meters (around 11500 ft), these begin to disappear too. It’s quite curious how nature tells you more or less what height you are.

steam locomotive, quijano field, Salta

We made a few stops to reach the train station of San Antonio de Los Cobres. First, we visited the old steam locomotive, where we saw some attractions such as Campo Quijano and Gobernador Solá.

When we arrived in Alfarcito, we had breakfast at about mid-morning.


Train to the Clouds, Salta, Argentina

It is a small village that lives off of tourism, especially from the Train to the Clouds and other people who travel for free and who approach this community.

Here you can find local products made by the surrounding communities.

There is a school that has 154 students and is very oriented to tourism. It is a very nice place where the people’s hospitality is amazing.

If you go on your own, you are at 82.5km from national route 51. Don’t forget to stop by this town so that we can all help the local communities.

If you want to share the life of the hill, there is a community tourism venture here that you may be interested in; it is called Thuru Yacu.

San Antonio de los Cobres

After this visit, we got back on track to go to San Antonio de Los Cobres. A very picturesque village from where the famous train departs to the Viaduct of Polvorilla.

panoramic a san antonio de los cobres

The route now runs through “La Quebrada de las Cuevas.”

When we arrived at San Antonio de Los Cobres, the bus took us directly to the train station.

There, we waited until we checked in, and we got into our wagons, each of us with our assigned seats.

train station to the clouds, Salta

Once the train starts, we set out on our way to the Polvorilla viaduct, one of Argentina’s greatest engineering works of the last century.

We can enjoy its stunning landscapes, the bar car, and a good drink during the journey. The good thing is that you can open the windows and take pictures of anything you want!

There will also be a guide on the train which will tell you about the history of the train, the villages we pass through, flora and fauna of the region, and the height at which you are.

Here are some facts: the train is named after a movie shot in the ’60s before it became a tourist train.

Its highest point is 4200 meters above sea level, so it is good to be used to the height, drink coca tea and, in case, bring pills for stinging or altitude sickness.

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Polvorilla Viaduct

Once you get to the Polvorilla Viaduct, you will want to take your head out the window and take pictures like a madman.

The good thing is that if you are touched by the side where you can not see the curve, the train makes the route twice so that all the passengers can peek and take photos.

The guide told us at what time to move! I thought it was a detail!

Polvorilla viaduct, Salta

After we got off the train, many artisans and vendors were attended to offer us a wide variety of local products at an excellent prices, such as typical sweaters, shawls, souvenirs, hats, etc.

We were left for half an hour, then we got back on the train and headed for San Antonio de Los Cobres again, and there we ate lunch at about three o’clock in the afternoon or so.

Vero Polvorilla's Viaduct, Train to the Clouds, Salta

After taking a walk through the village, we returned to the bus to head to the city of Salta.

On the way, we made the last tour stop in Santa Rosa del Tastil, a very important village in this area due to the great influence that the Inca trail called Qhapaq ñan has on it (it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO).

It is also the administrative center of the Quebrada del Toro, and you can buy handicrafts and local products before arriving in Salta.

Views of Quebrada del Toro, train to the clouds, Salta

After this stop, most took a nap on the bus!

We arrived in Salta at about 8 in the afternoon, and from there, we went straight to the hotel and had dinner.

If you travel on your own in your car or a rental one, you can also do the train-only tour.

You have to get to San Antonio de Los Cobres, and you’re done. This ticket can be purchased online or at the train station, although I recommend buying it in advance, especially if you are traveling in the high season.

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Have you traveled on the Train to the Clouds? Can you tell me about your experience?

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Last Updated on 9 October, 2023 by Veronica

Disclosure: Some of the links on this post are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Author: Veronica

Vero, a seasoned traveler, has explored 25 countries and lived in five, gaining a rich perspective and fostering an infectious passion for travel. With a heart full of wanderlust, Vero uncovers the world’s hidden gems and shares insights, tips, and planning advice to inspire and assist fellow adventurers. Join Vero and let the shared passion for travel create unforgettable memories.


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