Travel to Cuzco from Bolivia or Argentina: all you need to know

Cuzco is one of the most important tourist destinations in South America. As such, it attracts travelers from every country. Planning ahead is important if you want to travel to Cuzco by land during high season months of July/August, and December/January. If you are planning on traveling to Cuzco from Bolivia or Argentina, we have put together all the information you will need in order to plan your trip.

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Ruins of Machu Picchu, Peru

From Bolivia

Travel from La Paz to Cuzco: If you are starting your trip in La Paz, you´re in luck: you can decide if you want to take a direct bus from La Paz to Cuzco, or if you want to break up your trip to spend a few days in Copacabana and Puno in order to visit Lake Titicaca, the sacred lake of the Incas. 

The bus from La Paz to Cuzco takes about 12 hours, covering a distance of 640 km. For traveling to Cuzco you have two alternatives: going through Desaguadero, the border between Bolivia and Peru, or passing by the Copacabana-Kasani tourist area. The buses leave every day at 7:30 and 16:30 from the Bus Terminal of La Paz, located on Uruguay Av. Before boarding the bus you need to pay a small fee of 2.5 Bolivianos, called Uso de Terminal. In Cuzco, the buses arrive at the bus terminal on Avenida de Evitamiento.

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View of La Paz, Bolivia

From Cochabamba to Cuzco: In order to travel from Cochabamba to Cuzco by bus, you have to divide your trip in several segments, as there are no direct buses for this route. The most efficient way to do it is to travel first from Cochabamba to La Paz, and then from La Paz to Cuzco. The trip from Cochabamba to La Paz takes around 8 hours, covering a distance of 378 km and crossing the valleys and Altiplano region of Bolivia. La Paz lies at an altitude of 3,600 m above sea level. The buses depart from Cochabamba at the Bus Terminal, located on Ayacucho Av. Before departure you will have to pay a small fee (around 50 Cents of a dollar) for the Terminal´s maintenance. In La Paz, the buses arrive at the Bus Terminal on Uruguay Avenue, in the city´s center. 

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Cathedral in Santa Cruz, Bolivia

Traveling from Santa Cruz to Cuzco: Santa Cruz is the most important city in the south of Bolivia, and it is key as a connection to Brazil and Argentina, due to its location. In order to travel from Santa Cruz to Cuzco by bus, you need to divide your trip in at least two segments, as there are no direct trips available. The most efficient way is to travel first from Santa Cruz to La Paz and from there to Cuzco, because the quality of the buses is better, as well as the conditions of the roads. The trip from Santa Cruz to La Paz takes around 17 hours, covering a distance of 851 km. The buses leave from the Bimodal Bus Terminal in Santa Cruz, located on Montes Av. The buses leave every day between 14:00 and 20:00, almost every hour, so you have many options. 

Before boarding the bus, you need to  pay a small fee of 2.5 Bolivianos, called Uso de Terminal. After crossing the low-lands of Santa Cruz, the valleys of Cochabamba and climbing to the highlands of the Altiplano region, the buses arrive in La Paz at the bus terminal on Uruguay Av. You can take your bus to Cuzco from the same bus terminal, as explained above.

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A view of the rooftops in Sucre, Bolivia

From Sucre to Cuzco: Sucre is the capital city of Bolivia, one of the jewels of our country due to its amazing colonial architecture. In order to travel from Sucre to Cuzco by bus, you need to, again, reach La Paz first, as there are no direct trips available. The distance between Sucre and La Paz is 694 km, and the bus trip takes around 12 hours. To travel by bus from Sucre to La Paz you have to go to the bus station at Ostria Gutierrez Avenue. Before boarding the bus you have to buy the “uso terminal” which is a fee charged by the Terminal. It costs 2.5 Bolivianos. The buses leave every day between 19:00 and 20:00, arriving in La Paz the next morning, at the Bus Terminal located on Uruguay Av. 

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Landscape of the Uyuni Salt Flat in Bolivia

Uyuni-Cuzco: Uyuni has become one of the most attractive tourist destinations in the region, and many travelers are keen on visiting Uyuni and Cuzco when they travel around South America.  Again, you should travel to La Paz first, and then to Cuzco as explained above. Between Uyuni and La Paz there is a  distance of around 731 km, and the trip takes around 11 hours. You can travel from Uyuni to La Paz by direct bus, or by bus and train. All buses depart from Uyuni at night, from Cabrera Av., arriving in La Paz early in the morning at the Bus Terminal located on Uruguay Av. 

In order to make the trip by bus and train, you should take the train from Uyuni to Oruro and then continue by bus to La Paz. The train companies offering this service are:
*Expreso del Sur: Uyuni-Oruro (Wednesday and Saturday)
*Wara Wara del Sur: Uyuni-Oruro (Monday and Thursday)

Buses depart from Oruro to La Paz every day, every half hour. The trip lasts only four hours and the buses leave from the main Bus Terminal, located on Gregorio Reynolds Av. You can plan your trip by visiting http://www.ticketsbolivia.com to compare bus companies and prices and book online to avoid hassles and secure your tickets during high season.

From Argentina

Travel from Buenos Aires to Cuzco: If you want the most direct trip from Buenos Aires to Cuzco by bus, again you must divide the trip in several segments because there are no companies offering the direct route. In this case, you should travel from Buenos Aires to Santa Cruz first, and from there to La Paz, as explained above. The trip from Buenos Aires to Santa Cruz by bus covers a distance of 2362 km and takes around 36 hours. This can vary depending on the time of year, since during tourist months there can be a lot of traffic at the border. The trip crosses the Bolivian tropics and the valleys of Argentina. Buses depart every day from the Bus Station Retiro, in Buenos Aires, located on Libertador Av, and arrive at the Bus Station in Santa Cruz, located on Montes Avenue.

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From Villazon to Cuzco: Another way to make a pretty direct trip from Argentina to Cuzco ys crossing the border through Villazon, and from there to La Paz by bus, or by train and bus. You can even pass by Uyuni, first, for a very complete tourist experience. The trip from Villazon to La Paz lasts around 18 hours, taking you on a journey across most of Bolivia in the west and crossing the Altiplano and valleys of Bolivia through a paved road. The distance between the cities is of 1,331 km. Along the way, the bus will stop several times for passengers to buy food and stretch their legs. In order to take a bus from Villazon to La Paz, you must go to the bus terminal in Villazon, located on La Paz Av. Before boarding the bus, you will have to pay a small fee called “uso de terminal”, which costs around 2 Bolivianos. The trip ends with the arrival of the bus at the Main Bus Terminal of La Paz, on Uruguay Av.

If you prefer to reach La Paz by a combination of train and bus, you must take a train to Oruro, first, and then a bus to La Paz. Oruro is located at a distance of 655 km from Villazon. The train trip takes around 13 hours, departing at night and arriving in Oruro early in the morning. The trains leave from Villazón at the Train Station, located on Antofagasta Av.  The companies offering this service are Wara Wara del Sur and Expreso del Sur with executive and salon class service. Wara Wara del Sur leaves for Oruro on Mondays and Thursdays, and Expreso del Sur leaves on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Once in Oruro, take a cab to the bus station located on Gregorio Reynolds Av., and take a bus to La Paz. From there, the trip to Cuzco is direct and you can use the information above. For more information, visit www.ticketsbolivia.com

 

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Traveling to Uyuni From Argentina, Chile and Peru: all your questions, answered

Updated 21/11/18

The Uyuni salt flat is unquestionably the most important tourist destination in Bolivia, and in recent years it has become one of the favorites for tourists traveling within South America from all over the world. As you might expect, there are many ways to travel to Uyuni by bus or train from Argentina, Peru and Chile, and in this post we want to detail all your options, no matter which country you are coming from.

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Uyuni Salt Flat, Bolivia

From Peru

If you’re traveling to Uyuni from Peru, you will need to get first to the Bolivian city of La Paz, and from there go to Uyuni by bus or bus/train. You can travel directly to La Paz from Cuzco and Puno. If you’re coming from another city in Peru you will have to transfer buses in either one of these cities.

Cuzco – La Paz: If you want to take a bus from Cuzco to La Paz, there are many dependable and comfortable bus companies that offer their services for this route. The buses leave every day at 22:00 or 22:30, arriving in La Paz the next day. The journey takes abot 14 hours and buses cross the border at the Desaguadero.

Puno – La Paz: The trip takes around 6 hours, and buses depart at 07:00 and at 13:30. The morning bus takes you directly to La Paz, crossing the border in Desaguadero, while the afternoon bus takes you through Copacabana, where there is a change of buses and migration is done in Kasani.

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View of La Paz, Bolivia

From La Paz to Uyuni by bus: You can take a direct bus to Uyuni, or you can take a bus to Oruro first, and then from Oruro reach Uyuni by train.

There are many bus companies that offer direct services to travel from from La Paz to Uyuni. Tickets Bolivia works with Panasur, Trans Omar and Cruz del Norte. All the buses leave at 20:00 or 20:30 from the Bus Terminal of La Paz and arrive in Uyuni between 06:00 and 8:00. Before boarding the bus, you must pay a small fee of 2.5 Bolivianos per person, called the Uso de Terminal.

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From Oruro to Uyuni by Train: With this option, the passenger travels from La Paz to Oruro by bus and then from Oruro to Uyuni by train, a unique and unforgettable experience. Buses from La Paz to Oruro depart every 30 minutes practically all day from the La Paz bus terminal. The trip takes 3 to 4 hours. You can book on Tickets Bolivia with Trans Atlas.

Once in Oruro, you must take a cab to the Train Station, located on Av. Velasco Galvarro on the corner of Aldana St. The trains that travel from Oruro to Uyuni are Wara Wara del Sur and Expreso del Sur. Wara Wara del Sur leaves Wednesdays and Sundays at 19:00, and arrives in Uyuni at 02:20 in the morning. Expreso del Sur leaves on Tuesdays and Fridays at 14:00, arriving in Uyuni at 21:20.

Daniel Kordan laguna colorada
Laguna Colorada, Uyuni. (Daniel Kordan)

From Chile

If you are traveling to Uyuni from Chile, you can do so easily if you are coming from San Pedro de Atacama, Calama, Antofagasta, Arica or Iquique. Calama and San Pedro de Atacama are directly connected by bus to Uyuni.

Antofagasta-Oruro: Antofagasta is located at 884 KM from the Bolivian city of Oruro, and the trip to La Paz by bus takes around 24 hours, including a few hours in Oruro, where you will change buses and bus companies. The buses leave from the Bus Terminal of Antofagasta, located on Paraguay Av. #846. The bus trip takes travelers across the desert of north Chile and the Bolivian Altiplano, guarded by the Andes Mountain Range, where temperatures can reach below zero in winter. The buses that make this trip are semicama, which means the seats recline to 140 degrees, and leave at 20:00, reaching Oruro at 13:00. From Oruro, you can take the train on to Uyuni, as explained above.

Arica-La Paz: The bus trip from Arica to La Paz takes around 7 hours, and buses depart every day at 07:00 am, reaching La Paz in the afternoon. You cross the border at Tambo Quemado, where you have to do migration and customs paperwork, which can take between one and two hours, depending on the time of year. The bus will be waiting for you on the Chilean side to continue the journey, non-stop to Arica. To travel by bus from Arica to La Paz you have to take the bus from the Bus Station, located on Diego Portales Av. # 948. See the map by following this link:

https://ticketsbolivia.com.bo/googlemaps/terminal_arica.php

Once you reach La Paz, just follow the instructions above to either go on by direct bus to Uyuni, or by bus and train through Oruro.

Iquique – La Paz:The city of La Paz is located at 680 km from the port city of Iquique, in Chile. The trip from Iquique to La Paz takes around 18 hours. The buses leave from Iquique´s bus Terminal on Esmeralda Av, and stops in Tambo Quemado, border between Bolivia and Chile, so passengers can clear migration and customs. From there on, the bus crosses the bolivian Altiplano and will finally arrive at the main bus terminal of La Paz on Uruguay Av. Once in La Paz, just follow the instructions above to go to Uyuni either by direct bus or by train, through Oruro.

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From Argentina

Villazon to Uyuni: For travelers coming from Argentina, the most popular and direct way to get to Uyuni is to travel by train from Villazon, the Bolivian border town just across the city of La Quiaca, in Argentina. This means that, wherever you are in Argentina, you should take a bus to La Quiaca, first, then cross the border to Villazón and take the train. In order to make this trip by train, the options are the two train companies: Expreso del Sur and Wara Wara del Sur. Their schedules are as follows:

Expreso del Sur: Wednesdays and Saturdays at 15:30. The train makes a stop in Tupiza.

Wara Wara del Sur: Mondays and Thursdays at 15:30 The train makes a stop in Tupiza.

There is little information online regarding direct buses from Villazón to Uyuni. Nevertheless, one option is to travel to Uyuni by bus through Sucre. The bus company 6 de Octubre travels from Villazon to Sucre at 18:00, and arrives at 04:00 am. The buses from Sucre to Uyuni leave at 9:30 and 20:30.

Tickets Bolivia lets you plan your trip by booking your tickets online with the most reliable payment platforms. Visit us at www.ticketsbolivia.com