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
Until not so long ago the Train to the Clouds began its journey 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 route takes a bus route departing from Salta, train from San Antonio de los Cobres and again by bus to Salta.
On the bus you go with a guide who gives you the explanations of the places you are visiting and what you are seeing. For example, it made us pay attention and let us see how the landscape changes as it gains height.
At first it looks like vashatic landscape, very green and leafy. As it rises, the vegetation begins to change and you see the first cactus or “cardones” as this type of cactus is known in Argentina. And when you pass the three thousand and a half meters these already disappear too. It’s quite curious how nature tells you more or less what height you are.
To reach the train station of San Antonio de los Cobres are made a few stops. First we visit the old steam locomotive, we see some locations such as Campo Quijano and Gobernador Solá. When we arrived in Alfarcito we had a breakfast about mid-morning.
It is a small village, living off tourism that provides the Train to the Clouds and other people who travel for free and approach this community. Here we 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 hospitality of the people is amazing.
If you go on your own you are at km 82.5 of the national route 51. Don’t forget to stop by, so we all help local communities. If you want to share the life of the hill, there is a community tourism venture that you may be interested in, it is called Thuru Yacu.
San Antonio de los Cobres
After this visit we get 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.
The route now runs through the “La Quebrada de las Cuevas”. . And you’re going to go through a few on the way.
When we arrived at San Antonio de los Cobres the bus takes us directly to the train station. There we wait until we check in and we get in our wagons, each of us have our seat assigned.
Once the train starts, we set out on our way to the Polvorilla viaduct, one of the greatest engineering works of the last century in Argentina. During the journey we can enjoy its stunning landscapes, the bar car, have a drink, or bring you a souvenir. The good thing is that you can open the windows and take pictures to anything you want!
On the train we will also have a guide who will tell us about the history of the train, the villages we pass through, the flora and fauna of the region and the height at which we are.
I give you some facts, this train is named after a movie that was shot in the ’60s before it’s 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 the stinging or altitude sickness.
Once we get to the Polvorilla Viaduct you’re going to 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 the photos. The guide told us at what time to move! I thought it was a detail!
After we got off the train, there we were waited for a lot of artisans and vendors who offered you a wide variety of local products at a very good price, such as typical sweaters, shawls, souvenirs, hats, etc. They left us for half an hour and then we got back on the train and headed for San Antonio de los Cobres again and there we ate lunch about three o’clock in the afternoon or so.
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 stop of the tour in Santa Rosa del Tastil. A village that is very important in this area, since there is great influence of the Inca trail called Qhapaq ñan, 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.
After this stop most took a nap on the bus!
We arrived in Salta at about 20 hours, from there I went straight to the hotel and had dinner.
If you travel by your own in your car or in a rental one, there is also the option to do the train-only tour. What you have to do is 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 high season.
Have you traveled on the Train to the Clouds? Can you tell me about your experience?
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