Tag Archives: Salta

Train to the Clouds and beyond

The most amazing tourist train in the world that takes you to the clouds, at 4200 meters high. A classic and a must when visiting Salta!


Much has been told about the famous Tren a las Nubes, but not many know the story of its name. Although one may think that it was given due to the magnificent ascending tour, according to Luis Borelli, an Argentinean journalist and writer, the name was given after a steam cloud that was captured on film by two cameraman that traveled on board in the 60s, before the train was a tourist attraction.

The story goes that while stopping at La Polvorilla viaduct, the train discharged steam which remained under the wheels floating in the air as a cloud just for a moment, because of the low temperatures of the region. Hence: the train to the clouds, a very graphic image kept for posterity that would make anyone wonder about the veracity of its name.

It doesn’t matter if the name comes from steam or from the clouds themselves that seem to be closer and closer as the train goes up in the sky. Since 1972 it has been running, taking tourists from all over the world.

Today the train provides comfortable seats, broad windows to enjoy the landscape along the way, and conditioned temperature. There are restrooms, speakers and screens on board.

There are two options to choose from when planning your excursion:

BUS + TRAIN + BUS: This option includes a bus trip from the city of Salta, going across the National Route 51 and passing by the towns of Campo Quijano and Gobernador Solá up to El Alfarcito. At this stop, you will be provided with a rural breakfast with local fresh products, all handmade by the local communities from the area. Then, the bus trip will continue along the Quebrada de las Cuevas and the Muñano plain towards San Antonio de los Cobres.

At this town, you will be taken to the train station where you will finally go on board the Train to the Clouds that will take you on an hour ride to the La Polvorilla viaduct, an imposing work of engineering from the last century, at 4200 masl.

After 30 minutes, the train returns to San Antonio de los Cobres where you will take the bus back to Salta. On the way, a last stop will be done at Santa Rosa de Tastil where you may visit the historic museum and handicrafts fair to meet and support the local artisans.

ONLY TRAIN: For those who prefer a shorter tour, you may go straight to the San Antonio de los Cobres station and take the Train to the Clouds for the one hour ride (22 km) to the La Polvorilla viaduct and back. This option does not include San Antonio de los Cobres in/out transfers.

No matter which option you choose, it is advisable to book your tickets in advance. Below you will find the train´s operation days for 2018:

If you would like to ride the Train to the Clouds, please contact your Kallpa Executive and ask for available dates.


GENERAL INFORMATION

  • Passengers must show their passport and printed ticket voucher.
  • It is advisable to bring warm clothes, to have a light dinner and good rest the night before to make the most of this fantastic experience in Salta.

BUS + TRAIN + BUS:

  • The bus service leaves at 7:05 hs from Salta city bus terminal and arrives at 12 hs to San Antonio de los Cobres station to board the train. The bus back to Salta leaves San Antonio at 16:15 hs.
  • Transfers from/to Salta city terminal are not included.

ONLY TRAIN:

  • Passengers should be at San Antonio de los Cobres station at 11:45 hs or before. The train leaves at 12 hs.
  • Transfers from/to Salta city are not included.
  • Distance from Salta to San Antonio is 160 km. Approx. 3 hs car ride.
  • Train ride total distance: 44 km.

 

Rural tourism in the Calchaquí Valley

In Kallpa we would like to foster rural community tourism; a different, accessible and responsible way to travel, where the traveller finds himself within authentic cultural scenarios that leave a deep trace.


More and more travellers are looking for a different kind of trip, to go beyond only observing and to be able to take part of something, to learn by experimenting on their own. Knowing places, sharing activities, knowledge and lifestyles with rural and native communities is becoming the new way of travelling.

That is why responsible rural tourism has been growing so much in the last years in Argentina, triggered by the cultural exchange and mutual respect between local people and visitors, providing also a local growth and development opportunity.

Since 2011, Salta is the pioneer province in Argentina to embrace the rural community tourism. Twelve local communities from the Calchaquí Valley are involved in a cooperative organization self-managed by low resources families of farmers and artisans, opening their doors to share different activities and experiences with visitors from all around the world.

On their own words, not only they offer regional artisanal products but also community rural tourism services, a real country life experience. “We practice and promote fair trade, a tourism that respects everyone´s culture and that is responsible with our society and friendly with our Mother Earth and the land that we live in”.

The cooperatives proposal main goals are the cultural exchange and the enjoyment of the landscape. To join the communities on their everyday lives and activities, to share the farming and artisan professions, to sit and chat generating an enriching interchange. Their infrastructure is their own family and communal habitat. Homes, roads and places that belong to their communities, families and local scenery, which they gladly share with visitors.

Travellers willing to visit any of these communities and to experience rural tourism in the Calchaquí Valley may expect to take part of daily farming activities, visiting artisans, and cultural and outdoor strolls or rides. They may learn to cook regional dishes and using a mud oven, knowing about local traditions, taking care of a flock of goats, learning about grapevine and artisanal wine making, visiting archaeological sites, trekking among the hills, learning craftworks like pottery or using a loom, sharing a religious festivity, among others. Trekking and horseback riding activities are on short and easy circuits guided by local people. These last almost 3 hs.  

Regional gastronomy is an important character of this experience, specially for the half day activity with lunch. Visitors will be able to taste and also elaborate along the local families typical dishes such as empanadas, locro (meat and vegetable stew), tamales or humitas. Also desserts like anchi (a sugary corn and lemon cream), cayote pies and homemade cheese with sugar cane honey. Wine tasting is also available in certain communities.

Communities involved in the cooperative organization open their doors to visitors willing to experience unforgettable moments shared with ancient cultures in natural and beautiful scenarios. A one in a lifetime experience and a knowledge and lifestyles true interchange.

Contact your Kallpa executive for more information about the communities and to book a half day experience, including an activity and lunch with one of these hardworking communities.


NOTE

  • Available options: Half day experience, including an activity and lunch with local family. Full day experience including overnight at a local family home, full board and activities.
  • Communities are assigned to travellers depending on their availability and the activity that the visitors would like to take part in.
  • It is important to book the experience in advance, so that the community families can be prepared for the visit, and also for the visitor to read the Ethical Code of Conduct that will be provided.

 

Trekking to the clouds season 2018

At Kallpa, we are proud to announce this new shorter, but not less promising, version of the Trekking to the Clouds. An experience that will let you grasp the immensity of Quebrada del Toro and the spirit of an ancient culture.


This version of the Trekking to the Clouds is intended for those looking for a less demanding and shorter journey. The path is the same than our two other versions, but with the difference that we will return after we had reached Sillón del Inca.  The starting point is at the charming village of Ingeniero Maury, from where we will go across the ancient Inca road up to The Observatory, our first stop.

The Observatory is the name given to this peculiar panoramic lookout point where the ancient villagers installed a platform in order to anticipate the presence of visitors. Then the path will take us to the ruins of Sillón del Inca, an archeological site located at the intersection of several roads. The legend tells that it is here where the delegate of the Inca Empire used to control the state movement, the production and to collect taxes.

At this place, so full of history and mystery, we will set up our camp and enjoy dinner next to a warm fire. On the next day, after breakfast, we will start our return to Ingeniero Maury through Mount Golgota, passing by Abra del Caminante, milestone which today’s climbers use to frequent. Once we had reached Ingeniero Maury, the vehicle will be waiting to take us back to the city.

What’s interesting about this version is that it offers the possibility to combine this astonishing experience with another incredible journey, the Train to the Clouds, one of the most popular experiences in the north.  Nevertheless, if you are interested in a more active experience, you can join us for the complete 4 days trekking. More information can be found by clicking HERE or, our three-day trekking, more information can be found by clicking HERE. The fixed confirmed departure dates (minimum 2 travelers required for all versions) for our three itineraries are listed below:

If you wish more information about these experiences, please contact us at Kallpa Tour.


GENERAL INFORMATION

  • Sillón del Inca Trek
  • Duration: 2 days
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Feasible from January to December
  • 2 pax minimum required for confirmed departures. With 1 pax the single departure can run with 50% surcharge.

SERVICES INCLUDED

  • Local Bus Ticket Salta – Ing. Maury and transfer back to Salta
  • downtown.
  • Camping equipment. (Tent, cooking utensils, heaters, etc.).
  • Bilingual specialized guide (Spanish/English).
  • All meals in the program according to specification (D: breakfast;
  • A: Lunch; B: Box lunch; M: tea; C: dinner).
  • Personal luggage carry: sleeping bag, clothing and insulating
  • carpet up to 7 KG.
  • Camp organization. First AID kit.

NOT INCLUDED

  • Airplane tickets / Personal expenses and tips.
  • Meals not mentioned in the program. Nights in Salta.
  • Sleeping bags.
  • Alcoholic beverages.
  • Medical insurance.
  • Train to the clouds tickets.

Wine & Art at Bodega Colomé

Visit the oldest winery in Argentina, home to renowned high-altitude vineyards and wines in the Calchaquí Valleys.


It is said that Bodega Colomé was founded in 1831 by the Spanish Governor of Salta at that time, Nicolás Severo de Isasmendi y Echalar. His daughter Ascensión, who married José Benjamín Dávalos, was the one to bring the first Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon vines from France to Colomé. Today, grapes from three of those original vines are still used for the production of Colomé Reserva wines.

For 170 years the winery belonged to the Isasmendi and Dávalos families, but after a trip searching for the perfect terroir and weather to produce unique Argentinean wines, Donald Hess acquired Bodega Colomé in 2001. Together with his wife Ursula they created the recent history of this ancient winery, rich in achievements and developments. Their vision includes social responsibility towards the people of Colomé town, being the winery today the main source of employment and income for its people.

Colomé has four vineyards at different heights located in the upper part of the Calchaquí Valleys: Colomé (2.300 masl), which vines are all around the winery, El Arenal (2.700 masl) and Altura Máxima (3.111 masl) in the area of Payogasta-Salta and La Brava (1.750 masl) in the north of the Valley.

The altitude is one of the most important factors for the development of the vine. The higher the altitude, the greater the exposure to the sun and the wider the thermal amplitude. Those factors contribute to a uniform and balanced development of the grapes; originating high-altitude wines of great concentration and poise.

Bodega Colomé has three brands so far: Colomé, Lote Especial (special batches) and Altura Máxima. Each one is especially focused on the emblem varieties of Argentina to enhance their unique and differential characteristics. They reflect the soul of the special terroir and high altitude of the Calchaquí Valleys.

At the winery’s visitor center you will start the guided tour and in the end also have a wine tasting experience of the house wines paired with snacks or special dishes, always enjoying the view to the vineyards.

While visiting Colomé, you will not only learn all about its history and wine production but also enjoy the warmth of the Founder’s House; a unique and exclusive building and refuge for friends and guests. From the terrace it is possible to contemplate the surroundings and the starry sky in the evening. It is believed that the Colomé experience and the contact with nature energize and renew the spirit of the visitors.

A plus for this visit is the exclusive James Turrell Museum, the only one particularly dedicated to this renowned American artist who has created striking works that play with perception and the effect of light within a given space.

On his own words: “My work is about space and the light that inhabits it. It is about how you confront that space and plumb it with vision. It is about your seeing, like the wordless thought that comes from looking into fire.”

Turrell’s works of art represent five decades of the artist’s track record, displayed in a time tunnel. They are exhibited in nine light room especially designed for an area at 1.700 masl. Thanks to the powerful art work and the breathtaking nature around the museum, visitors live a thrilling sensory experience.

We invite you to discover Bodega Colomé; where wine, art and history are intimately related.