San Antonio de los Cobres, 104 miles (168 km) west of Salta, got its start as a mining town, thanks to the copper-rich mountains that surround it. The mining industry has faded, and today, the town’s livelihood comes mainly from the tourist industry, as it’s a stop on the famous Tren a las Nubes (Train of the Clouds).
The 16-hour train ride arguably northern Argentina’s most popular attraction — pulls to a stop along the way in San Antonio de los Cobres, allowing passengers to disembark and breathe in the thin high-altitude air or shop for souvenirs at the small artisanal market at the side of the tracks. At 12,385 feet (3,775 m) above sea level, it’s one of the country’s highest towns.
Even if you’re just hopping off the train for a stretch in San Antonio de los Cobres, sunscreen is essential. It’s also a good idea to bring a light jacket, as it can get cold, particularly in the evenings, and medication for altitude sickness if you anticipate it being a problem.