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“A railway day tour through colorful landscapes” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Train to the Clouds (El Tren a las Nubes)

Train to the Clouds (El Tren a las Nubes)
Balcarce 1105 // Salta Railway Station, Salta, Argentina
541147063500
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Ranked #22 of 59 things to do in Salta
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Owner description: A major Argentinean attraction, this railroad, reaching almost 14,000 feet above sea level, is one of the three highest in the world.
Buenos Aires
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18 reviews 18 reviews
8 attraction reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“A railway day tour through colorful landscapes”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 22, 2013

The trip takes a full day from early morning till late evening. It is tiring but you get to see colorful valleys and mountains. The few stops are synchronized with offers of local handicrafts. On the way back down the same tracks you must see again what you had seen in the morning, under another light angle, but still the same views. You are not supposed to leave your assigned train coach, where you will have to attend the performances of local musicians, participate in games, and listen to marketing recommendations, courtesy of the train's trained staff. My recommendation is, take the same tour by car (you can easily hire one), there is a road running sideways to the tracks, so you can stop anywhere you want, and if you want music you can go to any Peña near the railway station, it will be much better.

Visited November 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Nottingham, UK
Top Contributor
170 reviews 170 reviews
81 attraction reviews
Reviews in 79 cities Reviews in 79 cities
71 helpful votes 71 helpful votes
“A long ride but worth it”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 3, 2013

This train trip at 35kph (21mph) for about 120 miles as a 7+ hour (each way) trip up into the Andes. Built on adhesion principles there are zig zags and loops to help gain altitude. Certainly a must do for train buffs; but everybody will enjoy this trip for the views. Video clips describing the route are shown regulalry so you know what to look for. The viaduct at the end is fabulous.

We opted for the bus ride back (at extra cost) which comes back via an alternative route so different views, with a 2hour+ earlier arrival in Salta. For us this saved at least a four hour train ride in the dark.

Visited November 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Top Contributor
81 reviews 81 reviews
30 attraction reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
84 helpful votes 84 helpful votes
“great two days”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 29, 2013

We are experienced traveller and we do almost everything by ourselves, but, quite honestly I could not find much about the two days schedule on the "Tren a las Nubes" website, impression later confirmed by the staff.
So I think you may like to get the details of what you book, and pay for...
We picked the option "two days, one night in Purmamarca, way up by train and return by bus",
Day 1: train departs from Salta at about 7 AM, seats are arranged in configuration of four, leg room is OK, not so bad as some says. There is plenty of space for your small or large luggage.
The train does not make stops on the way up to the viaduct (the highest point at about 4200m), with the exception of minor and purely technical stops. Shortly after the departure the staff serve the breakfast, nothing unforgettable, but ok considering that you may have skip your breakfast to get to the station early enough.
The view is spectacular, and it does not really matter if you sit on the left or the right side.
After zig-zag, bridges, etc you get over 3000 m and the view is stunning. Photographers are advised that the windows open to offer full view.
At lunch time the staff give you something to eat, again is not spectacular but it keeps you going.
At about 2 PM the train reaches San Antonio de los Cobres, then goes on the viaduct where it stops for about 30 mins, you get off, enjoy the view, the local crafts and the lack of oxygen, then the train returns to San Antonio de los Cobres where some join the train , other leave and other stay on board.
We got off and continued on a bus to the Salinas, it is about 2 to 2,5 solid hours on a dusty-sandy strip on a flat top at about 2500 m , the Puna. You got offered a great sandwitch on the bus.
The salina grande is the stop for about 30 mins, it was worth going back by bus. then you continue on the bus to Purmamarca via a pass at 4170 m. The view depends on the season and the light, the descent to Purmamarca is astonishing, a drop of 2000 m in few km.
You get into Purmamarca at about 9 PM, and stay there overnight, I understood that there are rooms available, we pre booked the Killari Hotel, very nice and competitive.
Day2: departure from Purmamarca after 9 AM, you have the time to visit the village and take pictures of the famous hill of the seven colours, great!
Then the bus goes to Tilcara, with a stop at the ruins, and continues to Humahuaca across the stunning Quebrada, the stop in Humahuaca is for lunch in a tourist place, I suggest to give a miss and walk around the beautiful city, you may find easily where to pick snacks.,"El Fortin" rotiseria is great, all locals for take away with a few seats, the food was spectacular.
Then, after guided tour the bus departs to return to Salta, with one of more stops for photos, the arrival is at about 7 PM.
Long days, but all worth it.

Visited November 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“A trip you must do”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2013

Lovely train journey to the highs (more than 4000 meters high) to the La Carbonilla place. The views are amazing and you feel you get lost in time. Suggestion return by Bus from San Antonio de los Cobres since by train it makes it to long.

Visited July 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Worth the wait.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 25, 2013

I've been trying to get onto this trip since1989, but could never co-ordinate the dates until this year.
It was worth the wait. Maybe not the food, which is pretty ordinary, but the experience.
Either take your own food, or buy the snacks. Skip the meals in the dining car, they're overpriced and ......crap!
BUT, the views are great. Thoroughly recommend it.

Visited April 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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