Train to the Clouds

Location location: Salta, Argentina

tren a las nubes, train to the clouds, salta, argentina, blog, review

Nobody likes to wake up early to catch the train.  But maybe a train to the clouds is worth the early wake up call?

During our final weeks in Buenos Aires, we were lucky to have Danny’s friends from Italy visit and take a group trip with us to the north west of Argentina.  On our first day in Salta, we took a day trip on the Tren A Las Nubes – Train to the Clouds.

Railways are not common in Argentina (or South America) so the Tren A Las Nubes is quite a special attraction.  It was originally built in the 1920s to serve the borax mines in the area, but now it remains as a heritage railway, and one of the highest in the world.

The day started early with the train departing at 5:30am (horrid, I know!).

tren a las nubes, train to the clouds, salta, argentina, blog, review

When the train departed from the Salta station, they announced that we should keep our windows closed because many locals are opposed to the existence of the train (due to political reasons) and regularly throw rocks through the train windows.

Probably something we would have liked to know beforehand … it made me feel a little sceptical, to say the least.

tren a las nubes, train to the clouds, salta, argentina, blog, review

But as we moved further from the town, the sun came up and some gorgeous views appeared across the Argentine landscape.

tren a las nubes, train to the clouds, salta, argentina, blog, review

tren a las nubes, train to the clouds, salta, argentina, blog, review

Including our first glimpses of cactus!

tren a las nubes, train to the clouds, salta, argentina, blog, review

tren a las nubes, train to the clouds, salta, argentina, blog, review

tren a las nubes, train to the clouds, salta, argentina, blog, review

Throughout the day, we could see the shuttle buses chasing the train along its course.

It made us feel like rockstars being photographed by the people in the buses down below.  We said hello to them with our most regal hand waves 😀

tren a las nubes, train to the clouds, salta, argentina, blog, review

I’m always on the go when travelling, so for me the train was a lesson to take it easy and enjoy the ride.  And of course, the smashing views.  This area in Argentina is particularly famous for its colourful quebradas.

tren a las nubes, train to the clouds, salta, argentina, blog, review

tren a las nubes, train to the clouds, salta, argentina, blog, review

tren a las nubes, train to the clouds, salta, argentina, blog, review

tren a las nubes, train to the clouds, salta, argentina, blog, review

tren a las nubes, train to the clouds, salta, argentina, blog, review

Don’t doze off for too long guys, you’ll miss the amazing sights!

tren a las nubes, train to the clouds, salta, argentina, blog, review

tren a las nubes, train to the clouds, salta, argentina, blog, review

At the end of the train line is the famous viaduct.

The little cars and buses below were waiting to watch the train to cross.  But I reckon the view was much better from up top!

tren a las nubes18

tren a las nubes, train to the clouds, salta, argentina, blog, review

tren a las nubes, train to the clouds, salta, argentina, blog, review

tren a las nubes, train to the clouds, salta, argentina, blog, review

After the viaduct, we stopped at a little mining town called San Antonio a Las Cobras.

Where locals greeted us with their handcrafted goods and local products – ready to sell to us souvenir-hungry travellers.

tren a las nubes, train to the clouds, salta, argentina, blog, review

tren a las nubes, train to the clouds, salta, argentina, blog, review

tren a las nubes, train to the clouds, salta, argentina, blog, review

Yep, even the little ones get involved with the business.

tren a las nubes, train to the clouds, salta, argentina, blog, review

tren a las nubes, train to the clouds, salta, argentina, blog, review

They really discourage tourists from handing out money to the children (to prevent them from becoming beggars) so we did our best to buy lots of woollen jumpers and little alpaca toys from the children.

tren a las nubes, train to the clouds, salta, argentina, blog, review

When the train was about to depart back to town, I asked Danny and Tommy to take a photo of me with the train.

tren a las nubes, train to the clouds, salta, argentina, blog, review

“Does my hair look okay in this wind?” I asked before they took the shot.

“Yep, looks great!”  they replied.

tren a las nubes, train to the clouds, salta, argentina, blog, review

Boys, you can never trust them!

tren a las nubes, train to the clouds, salta, argentina, blog, review

Then it was time to get back to Salta.

I should probably warn you that it is a slow day on the train.  And I mean slow – it takes 17 hours to go up and down.  You don’t get back to Salta until 11.30pm with the train – which is why we decided to take the bus instead of the train back to Salta (which takes slightly less time).

Starting from 1,200 pesos, the Tren A Las Nubes is also a bit pricey.  I’m not sure if I would pay to do it again, but ultimately we had a relaxing day with some beautiful Argentine scenery – which is what holidays are all about!

Looking forward to sharing more of the Salta and Jujuy posts soon.  Thanks for reading :)

11 thoughts on “Train to the Clouds

  1. Miss W! The first photo in this post is STUNNING! Your best photo on this entire blog me thinks :)

  2. Aww thanks so much Jaz! Wishing I had my camera/photography skills when I was back in Shanghai. Hope you’re well xx

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  4. Have been told that the train has stopped running. There is a notice in Spanish on the website which I need to translate with the help of a dictionary but would be interested to know if other people have any information about this. Best Regards
    Jim

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  6. Hi Jim, I just saw the website and there was a notice that it is currently not running. I’m not 100% sure about the background story but I did find this review on TripAdvisor saying that the train stopped in the middle of a tunnel, perhaps this is the incident that they are talking about: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g312822-d313778-Reviews-Train_to_the_Clouds_El_Tren_a_las_Nubes-Salta_Province_of_Salta_Northern_Argentina.html – I hope that information assists you!

  7. Hi Olivia,
    Thank you very much. Apparently is the same but there is more. After the derailment in the tunnel (temperature -6C) one of the support/medical vehicles went to Route 51 to get help but overturned at high speed and crashed, injuring the two staff inside. The train had derailed about 80 kilometres from San Antonio de los Cobres. Eventually about 400 passengers were taken back to Salta in army vehicles. Apparently the state government of Salta has taken over the railway and it is unlikely to run until next September.

  8. Forgot to say that I am disappointed that our train has been cancelled – but my wife is somewhat relieved and looking forward to a less stressful day in Salta.
    Hope you continue to have enjoyable travels.
    Best Regards Jim

  9. Thanks again Jim for this information. Sorry to hear that you and your wife will miss out on the train but to be completely honest, I think the views are much more amazing if you hire a car and drive around Salta – either up north to Purmamarca/Tilcara or down south to Cafayate or the Ruta del Vino (all of which are to come in future blog posts!). Wishing both of you a great trip in Salta!

  10. Olivia, Thank you for your kind advice. I am sure we will have a great time and are still really looking forward to it. Once again, best wishes for your own travels and vaya con dios!

  11. I was just about to comment and say what a lovely way to see Salta the train was and that hopefully we could afford to do it (I actually how no idea how much 1200 pesos is) but alas it looks like it wasn’t meant to be. Love the picture of the crazy hair – made me out loud giggle! :)

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