Updated: 03 June 2019
One of the most frequent questions we get this time of year is how do I travel from Cusco to Uyuni? Being two of the most popular tourist destinations in the region, and located relatively close to one another, it is amazing that there is no bus or train that offers the direct trip. But not all is lost. You can travel from Cusco to Uyuni by land affordably and comfortably. This is how:
Getting from Cusco to La Paz:
The fastest and easiest way for getting from Cusco to Uyuni by bus is reaching La Paz first. There are many options for making this trip by bus. Sadly, there aren’t trains that cover this route. It is possible to fly directly with Latam and Amaszonas which costs about 80-100 US$ one way. The bus is a popular option among travelers with many bus companies doing this route at night, the journey takes about 14 hours. The route from Cusco to La Paz goes also via Lake Titicaca where tourists can break their journey and visit Puno and.
On the direct route between Cusco and La Paz, Tickets Bolivia works with Trans Salvador, Tour Peru and NC Internacional, which are reliable and quality bus companies. These are their schedules and reference prices (prices may vary according to the season):
Bus schedule and prices from Cusco to La Paz
|Bus company||Seat class||Time of departure||Time of arrival (estimated)||Price in US$||Extra info|
|Trans Salvador||Lie-flat 3 rows||22:00||13:00 (+1 day)||$24.09||Migration in Desaguadero|
|Tour Peru||Semi-lie flat||22:00||15:00 (+1 day)||$29.00||Migration in Desaguadero|
|NCI||Lie flat||22:30||14:00 (+1 day)||$26.28||Migration in Desaguadero|
Additionally now you can also choose to do this route with a tourist bus such as Bolivia Hop for $59.00. It departs at 22.00 and arrives 22.30 the next day stopping along the way in Puno and Copacabana for optional tours.
Except for Bolivia Hop which has a private terminal in Cusco, the buses depart from the Cusco bus terminal, located at the following address:
From La Paz to Uyuni by bus:
Once you arrive in La Paz, you can continue your journey directly since most buses from Cusco will arrive at around midday and all buses leave La Paz from Uyuni in the evening. This gives you a few hours to explore La Paz. Here you can find ideas regarding what to do and where to eat in La Paz in one afternoon. If you have more time, you can take this opportunity to discover La Paz and its surroundings in a few days.
There are many bus companies that offer direct services to travel from La Paz to Uyuni. Tickets Bolivia works with Panasur, Cruz del Norte, Trans Titicaca, and Trans Omar.
Bus schedule from La Paz to Uyuni is as follows:
|Company||Bus class||Route||Time of departure and arrival||Prices in US Dollars|
|Trans Omar||Semi lie-flat/Lie-flat 3 rows||Direct service||20:00/6:00 (+1 day(||$14.60/21.90|
|Panasur||Lie-flat||Direct service||20:00/6:00 (+1 day)||$14.60/21.90|
|Cruz del Norte||Semi lie-flat/Lie-flat||Direct service||20:30/6:30 (+1 day)||$14.60/21.90|
|Trans Titicaca||Lie flat||Direct service||22:00/7:00 (+1 day)||$29.93|
Seats in a lie-flat bus recline 160 degrees, and semi lie-flat recline to 140 degrees. These services do not include meals, but the bus stops along the road so passengers can buy food and drink. All buses depart from the bus terminal of La Paz, located at the following address: https://ticketsbolivia.com.bo/googlemaps/terminal_la_paz.php
Uyuni doesn’t have a bus terminal but it is a couple of streets and avenues where all the bus agencies are located. The bus will drop you off in front of their agency and departure will take place in the same location. Buses will arrive early in the morning, sometimes even earlier than scheduled. This is not a problem as coffee shops and restaurants open around the bus schedules. Passengers who arrive early in Uyuni will have the option to get a hot drink, charge their phones and check their messages, until the travel agencies open.
From La Paz to Uyuni by train (via Oruro):
With this option, the passenger travels from La Paz to Oruro by bus and then from Oruro to Uyuni by train. This option allows you to enjoy the scenery with views of the altiplano and Cordillera Real. Buses from La Paz to Oruro depart every 30 minutes practically all day from the La Paz bus terminal (see map above). The trip takes 3-4 hours and you arrive in Oruro at the Bus terminal located here.
Once in Oruro, you must take a cab to the train station, located on Av. Velasco Galvarro on the corner of Aldana. 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.
To learn more about the trains from Oruro to Uyuni check this blog.
The train station in Uyuni is located here. Tours to the Salar and Sud-Lipez all leave around 10:00 in the morning so passengers arriving by train will have to secure a night of accommodation in Uyuni.
With all this info there is no reason to miss Uyuni if you are traveling to Cusco and making the most of your trip. If you want to buy bus or train tickets online just click here: www.ticketsbolivia.com
Have a nice trip!