Getting to Know the Colonial Routes of Bolivia by Bus or Train

If you’re in the city of La Paz and have yet to decide on your travel itinerary in Bolivia, you should take into account this blog. It invites you to visit the Salar de Uyuni, and the colonial cities, which express more than just history, of Potosí and Sucre.

Is the tour best done by train or bus?

One of the fastest ways to reach the Salar de Uyuni from the city of La Paz is to go by bus. Bus companies serving the route from the city of La Paz to Uyuni provide quality service and comfort, including night service with semi-cama and cama buses. Buses leave from the bus terminal located between the avenues Peru and Uruguay.

The trip is done by the new, paved, road bypassing Potosí and shortening the travel time to about 10 hours. The bus passes through the towns of Calamarca, Ayo Ayo, Patacamaya and Challapampa. In these places the bus takes a break of 15 minutes during which you can buy some refreshments, and then continue on to the town of Uyuni. The bus will arrive in the early hours of the next day at the intersection of Cabrera Street and Arce Avenue which is considered the Uyuni bus terminal. Here, at 10:30 am, you can find different options to tour the Salar.

Below are timetables and well-known bus companies travelling the route from the city of La Paz to Uyuni:

la paz to uyuniBus trips from La Paz to Uyuni available at:

Travel by train from Oruro to Uyuni

If you are a person enjoys observing nature while travelling, there is no better alternative than travelling by train. It is important to emphasize that from the city of La Paz there is no train service and the best option is to travel by bus from the city of La Paz to Oruro, travel is approximately three hours via the new four-lane divided highway. When you arrive at the bus terminal in Oruro, you should go to the train station, which is located at the intersection of Velasco Galvarro and Aldana streets, to take the train to Uyuni.


When you find yourself at the train station you should board the train from the company Ferroviaria Andina (FCA). The length of the trip will be approximately eight hours. Travel from Oruro to Uyuni is during the day, so you will have the opportunity to observe the scenery of the highlands, and what better way to travel than by taking pictures all the way until you reach the train station in Uyuni. The train station in Uyuni is located at the intersection of Ferroviaria and Arce avenues where you can consult several travel agencies about tours of the Salar for the next day.

trains          Train tickets available online from:

What to do in the Salar de Uyuni?

When you get to the Salar de Uyuni you have two options to choose from, either arranging activities yourself or buying a tour with a tour company. When choosing, it is advised to go with a guide since they are the ones who know the place better than any other person and will help you avoid the risk of getting lost in the immense salt flat.

The activities described below are not strictly rigid and vary according to each tour company:

3 Days and 2 Nights Tour

The tour of three days and two nights is one of the options most chosen by travelers since during this time it is possible see all the places of interest provided by the Salar de Uyuni.

Below is a description on itinerary for most tour companies:

First day: the tour starts at the town of Uyuni and heads to the cemetery of trains, town of Colchani, ojitos de agua (springs), Fish Island (Incahuasi), museum of the salt hotel, and an overnight stay at the salt hotel.

Second day: starts with the Ollagüe volcano, and includes the lagoons of Cañapa, Hedionda lagoon, Chiarcota lagoon, Honda lagoon, Árbol de Piedra (stone tree), and the Colorada lagoon, where you will spend the night.

Third day: the last day of the tour culminates with visits to the geysers, fumaroles, hot springs, Verde lagoon and then returns to the town of Uyuni.


2 Days and 1 Night Tour:

First day: the tour begins with the train cemetery, continues to the town of Colchani, ojitos de agua (springs), salt museum, and finally, ends with an overnight stay accompanied by stargazing.

Second day: starts with a walk to the Tunupa volcano look out point, continues to Fish Island (Incahuasi) and then returns to the town of Uyuni.

islaFoto: Google- Fish Island (Incahuasi)

One Day Tour:

This route is the shortest and includes visits to the train cemetery, the town of Colchani, ojitos de agua (springs), the museum of the salt hotel, Fish Island (Incahuasi) and ends with a return to the town of Uyuni.

Salar-con-agua-Dic-05-252_redim.jpgFoto: Google

Travelling from Uyuni to Potosi by Bus

Following the Colonial route, you can take a bus from Uyuni to Potosi. The distance from Uyuni to Potosi is 219 km, and the journey lasts approximately 4 hours. As the bus travels, you can enjoy the nuances of the Altiplano scenery  until arriving at the bus terminal located on Universitaria Avenue.

Below are the bus companies most requested for their quality services and comfort:

uyuni to potosíNote: There are other bus companies that make this trip, but are not in our database at:

What to do in Potosi?

Potosí is characterized for its mines that in colonial times experienced an economic boom of great importance, and lands that were inhabited by the Spanish Crown. During these times it was considered one of the most important cities of Latin America. Today, guarding its history, only vestiges remain of the great city that it was centuries ago.


In Potosí, you can watch and be a part of various activities such as:

  • Mine Tours

toour-minesFoto: Google

  • Hot Springs

geissFoto: Google

  • Toro Toro National Park

dsc09815Foto: TicketsBolivia


  • Convents and Museums

dsc01669Foto: Ticketsbolivia-Casa de la moneda (colonial mint)

  • And other.

Travelling from Uyuni to Sucre

The other alternative for continuing on the colonial route is to take a bus from Cabrera Avenue to Sucre on a 381 kilometers trip lasting approximately 7 hours. During the trip you will notice a slight change in climate with a temperature rise, and should see the foliage of the landscapes change.

From the companies with which we work, we suggest taking the semi-cama bus from the company 6 de Octubre leaving at 10:00pm.

What to do in Sucre?

It is also known as the White City, and is the birthplace of Bolivia as an independent country in 1825. It is a city that still retains its colonial architecture, with houses that retain the white color and balconies that characterized this time.

sucre.jpgFoto: Google

The city of Sucre invites you to be part of day and night activities including:

  • City Tour

dsc01963Foto: TicketsBolivia-Mirador de la Recoleta (observation point)

  • The Glorieta Castle

dsc01982Foto: Ticketsbolivia

  • Cretaceous Park

dsc02017Foto: Ticketsbolivia


  • The Town of Tarabuco

tarFoto: Google

  • Che’s Route

cheFoto: Google

  • And others.


“The Pleasure of Travel is in Doing it by Land”


A quick guide to travel from Oruro to Uyuni by train

Traveling by train might be the best option so as to break the monotony of a bus…

If you are in Oruro city and you wish to know new touristic landscapes, you must visit Salar de Uyuni, it is a unique place that you won’t be able to forget, being there feels like flying in the sky or outside the planet.

The best option to travel to Uyuni is by train, you will appreciate the landscape of bolivian plateau and receive a first class service that only a train can offer to you.

trenThe option to travel by  train to Uyuni is with Expreso del Sur or Wara Wara del Sur

Ferroviaria Andina was born with  the process of capitalization and it began with its activities in 1997. This company is well renowned nationally and internationally because of the comfortability, quality services, and punctuality that characterizes everyday with differences routes in Bolivia.

Ferroviaria Andina offers the trip from Oruro to Uyuni with two alternatives: Wara Wara del Sur and Expreso del Sur, these trains have different schedules and two classes: Saloon and  Executive.

COMEDORIt might be important to emphasize that Ferroviaria Andina’s headquarter is located in La Paz city and has different sales offices in some cities of Bolivia. Where it is possible to buy the tickets for this trip, Oruro to Uyuni.

However if you are not able to buy the tickets in the offices you can always book your tickets online in:

mmmmmIn order to know more about these trains, I invite you to read the following information:

Wara Wara Del Sur train

The name is in aymara (native language) and means “ Southern star”. During the route the travelers will observe the landscape of Oruro and Uyuni, with a few stops at some specific train stations. This train has a dinner room where passengers can have a meal anytime they want.

Executive class EJEC

  • Comfortable seats and semi-Lie-flat seating.
  • Heating system, TV and music room.
  • Air freshener.
  • Blankets and pillows Endowment.
  • Carpeted floors.
  • Individual light for reading.
  • Refreshments on board.
  • Personal attention.
  • Equipped bathrooms.

Salon ClassTREN

  • Reclining swivel seats.
  • Heating system, selected videos and music.
  • Vinyl and rubber flooring.
  • Fresheners and reading light.
  • Equipped bathrooms.

Expreso del Sur train

This train works in Bolivia since 1999, offering the travelers quality and comfort, with personal attention and food.  This train departs from Oruro in the afternoon, letting the passenger observe the view of the landscape of the bolivian plateau until you reach your destination: Uyuni.

Executive class ejecutivo

  • Comfortable seats and semi-Lie-flat seating.
  • Heating and air conditioning.
  • Video and musical environment.
  • Automatic air freshener.
  • Blankets and pillows endowment.
  • Carpeted floors.
  • Individual light for reading.
  • Refreshments on board.
  • Staff attention.
  • Equipped bathroom.

Salon ClassSA

  • Reclining swivel seats.
  • Heating system, selected videos and music.
  • Vinyl and rubber flooring.
  • Fresheners and reading light.
  • Equipped bathrooms.


cuadroTips for the travelers

  • If you want to know more about Ferroviaria Andina S.A., check the web page:
  • If you need to buy a ticket of train from Oruro to Uyuni in Salon or executive via online do it in:
  • You can to buy a train tickets in advance with tickets Bolivia, but the FCA company assigns the seats in salon class a week before the departing day and in Executive class a month before the departing day.
  • I recommend that you choose a window seat so as to appreciate the view in a better way.
  • I recommend for your trip that you wear light clothing during the day and warm clothes for the night trip.
  • When you arrive the train station of Uyuni, you can to choose different tours agencies that can take you to the Salar. I recommend that you choose a tour with three days and two nights.