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Train to the Clouds - Argentina - Is It Worthwhile?

Updated on January 13, 2012

Train to the Clouds - Argentina - Some Facts

The Train to the Clouds is a tourist train in the province of Salta in the northwest corner of Argentina. It takes its name because it is normal to see clouds below and around the train during its journey. Something to be expected if we consider that it is the third highest train in the world. The train travels from the city of Salta to La Polvorilla Viaduct near the Chilean border reaching an altitude of 4220m (13,845ft) abode sea level. It covers the 434km round trip in about 15 hours every Saturday departing at 7:05 AM from Belgrano Station in Salta. The convoy of 10 wagons can carry 468 passengers at an average speed of 35 km/h (21.7 mph). Nowadays, the train to the clouds is operated by a privated company, Ecotren, and it runs from April to November, during the Salta's high tourist season.

Viaducto La Polvorilla - Train to the Clouds - Salta - Argentina
Viaducto La Polvorilla - Train to the Clouds - Salta - Argentina

The Review

If you are wondering whether you should take the train to the clouds during your travel in Argentina or not? The only answer I can give you is: it depends. There are a couple of things to consider. First, the train to the clouds is expensive. The price is US$ 140 in high season (Easter and winter school Argentine vacations) and US$ 120 the rest of the months the train runs. For Argentine standards that’s a lot of money to spend in a single day. Second, it is a very long day on the train, a long day you will spend mostly sitting on a seat. On the other hand, the scenery is simply amazing, sometimes a little cloudy, though. Besides the beautiful but rugged landscape that you can view from the train, one thing that really impresses you is the monumental engineering work that the railway demanded. There are 29 bridges, 21 tunnels, 13 viaducts, 2 spirals and 2 zigzags. The most “exciting” of course is La Polvorilla Viaduct with 74m high and 224m long. The train has two stops where you can walk or buy northern Argentine handicrafts for about thirty minutes in San Antonio de los Cobres and La Polvorilla Viaduct. The Services of the train are a dining car (only breakfast and an afternoon snack are included in the price) an onboard medic, and bilingual guides.

Conclusion

If you have time enough to know the Argentine north, are not traveling on a budget and like trains, then the train to the clouds could be an interesting option for your Argentine trip.

Train to the Clouds - Argetnina - San Antonio de los Cobres
Train to the Clouds - Argetnina - San Antonio de los Cobres

Tren del Cielo - Soledad y Natalia

***

The photo of San Antonio de los Cobres was released into the Public Domain. Photo of Viaducto was released under the terms of GNU free documentation license.

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    • patraining profile image

      Jennifer Hugsworthy 

      5 years ago from London

      I agree too, but there are also so many things to see in Jujuy and Salta. really unique and beautiful landscapes, if you cant afford the train

    • Bogdan Cocian profile image

      Bogdan Cocian 

      7 years ago from Buenos Aires

      Nice article; I agree with your analysis.

      Moreover, I have noticed that several South American trains have a tendency in overcharging tourists on these special trains, like the one in Salta or the other one in Cusco.

      www.brujulaba.com.ar

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