The Train to the Clouds, Argentina
The Train to the Clouds (or Tren a las Nubes) is a tourist train in North western Salta Province in Argentina – and the name says it all. It’s the fifth highest railway in the world, starting at the City of Salta (1,187metres above sea level) and climbing up the mountain to La Polvorilla (4,200 metres). Runs as a heritage railway, once primarily for locals, it’s Argentina’s most famous railway journey and is an incredible feat of engineering.
The entire journey completes a round-trip of 434km in 15 hours (with stops along the way), winding through 21 tunnels, over 13 viaducts and 29 bridges. Passengers are more than taken care of extremely well – hosted in carriages with comfortable seats, air-conditioning and bar and dining cars. While the entire round-trip takes 15 hours, most tourists just do a segment of the route.
Prices from: £77.33
Departing from: Salta, Argentina
Journey length: 11 hours, 45 minutes
Train to the Clouds route
The train begins in the in Salta and travels the eastern part of the Salta-Antofagasta railway line of the Belgrano Railway, connecting Northwest Argentina with the Chilean border and the Andes mountains. It heads from Salta down the Lerma Valley and climbs the colourful Quebrada del Toro, travelling to the La Polvorilla viaduct which spans a desert canyon. There are 20 stops in total and some even have markets selling artisan goods and regional cuisine. The train departs from Salta every Saturday at 7am and returns at midnight, with the train running from April to mid-December.
The train itself if extremely well-equipped, carrying almost 400 passengers for 15 hours through mountainous terrain. Guests relax in comfortable seats in air-conditioned carriages, and there are dining cars, a bar car and medical aid on board (for altitude sickness). Tickets include snacks and additional sustenance is available to purchase.
What we love
The excitement and exhilaration of traveling on one of the world’s highest railways. The seriously impressive La Polvorilla viaduct and local market along the way make this train a must for anyone visiting this region of Argentina.