5 of the most amazing cities to visit in South America

South America has some of the most amazing cities in the world. Can you imagine traveling by land from Sao Paulo, the biggest city in the region, to Buenos Aires, the Paris of South America, to La Paz, the highest altitude capital city on earth, to Cusco, the party capital of Peru, ending in Lima, the city by the sea where trying the food is enough reason to stay? In this post, we tell you about six of the most amazing cities in South America and how to get from one to the other, crossing the entire continent by land!

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Park in Sao Paulo

Sao Paulo, Brasil

Sao Paulo, is the largest and one of the mos wonderful cities in South America, with endless things to do and see. The huge diversity of art, food, historic and recreational activities this city offers can be overwhelming (for example, there are over 15,000 bars) so find some cool spots to visit before your trip. This way, you are sure to use your time wisely.

So, any idea where to go? For food, the Jardins district is rife with little restaurants and art-house cinemas. While it’s not necessarily eye-pleasing, it is a sophisticated city with a melting pot of cultures. With influences from Japan, Italy, Lebanon, Germans and a growing number of Peruvians and Bolivians, to name just a few, the city has a unique fusion of culture. This post makes for a list of excellent restaurants where you can try just about anything.

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Street art in Sao Paulo

There are plenty of cool attractions in Sao Paulo alongside the museums and cathedrals. For an unusual art exhibit, visit Beco do Batman, Batman Alley, an open air gallery of street art attracting artists from all over the world. Or you can take a look at the world’s second highest Lego tower, made of 500,000 pieces. And of course, there are plenty of shopping options, from high-end designer clothes to markets full of antiques and handicrafts.

To get to our next destination, the capital city of Argentina, you can take a bus from Sao Paulo to Buenos Aires. The trip is a long, but rewarding one, and you can buy your tickets online by visiting the Tickets Bolivia page.

 Buenos Aires, Argentina

Steak, tango, red wine and football. Buenos Aires, the ‘Paris of South America’, is known for many things. It has a reputation for being seductive, elegant and sophisticated. With theatres, opera houses, galleries, and French and Italian influenced architecture. Buenos Aires has a lot going for it and a lot to keep you entertained.

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9 de Julio Av, Buenos Aires

This city is a strong contender for South America’s best party city. It’s not just the nightlife that’s over the topt in Buenos Aires, as you’ll realise while you walk around its busy streets. For a dose of architecture, history and literature all in one, check out El Ateneo Grand Splendid, one of the world’s biggest and most beautiful bookstores that’s lived previous lives as a theatre and cinema.

The food is another erason to spend a few days here. You can´t leave if you haven´t tried a parrila, where heaps of steak, sausage, ribs are put on a grill and washed down with the best local Malbec.

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Tango Show in the streets of Buenos Aires

A great way to spend a day here is to explore the barrios, walking from one neighborhood to the next. They all have distinct personalities. For example, the lively La Boca is known for the rows of colourful houses, whereas San Telmo is famous for its eclectic markets. The elegant Recoleta has the lavish cemetery, while the trendy Palermo is great for people watching.

To get from Buenos Aires to our next destination, La Paz, you can buy bus tickets online. The buses are very comfortable and the journey takes around 30 hours.

La Paz, Bolivia

La Paz, the administrative capital of Bolivia, is the highest in the world. Located at 3,600 meters above sea level, in the Andes Mountains, you can take in gorgeous views of the city that literally clings to and sprawls down the canyon that’s incredible to explore.

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La Paz cable car view

If it’s the views you’re after, head on the aerial cable car system, Mi Teleferico. In 2014 the city introduced Mi Teleférico, the world’s highest cable car network. This transformed the city, lifting people up out of the traffic and turning an hour drive into a thrilling ten minute journey through the sky. As well as saving many of residents from commuter hell, the views of the city and the insight into life of the locals are amazing. Be sure to dress warmly and be prepared to spend some time acclimating to the high elevations. It can be tough if you’re not used to higher-altitude cities. For a few tips on how to cope, check out this post.

When you´re done with floating over the city, try walking it. Wander through the large food market, inspect the bizarre and gruesome things on offer in the witches market, and enjoy the intriguing architect style, a combination of concrete blocks against dramatic Gothic spires. It’s dizzy, gritty and chaotic but also exhilarating and enthralling with an endearing rough-around-the-edges charm.

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Streer fair in La Paz

Our next destination is cusco. You can buy bus tickets from la Paz to Cusco by cliking here, where you will also find the schedules and prices of the best companies offering this service.

 Cusco, Peru

Cusco is a city famous for being the gateway to the ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu. The city has many colonial cobbled streets, white buildings and ubiquitous orange rooftops, making it one of the most beautiful cities in South America. The spiritual vibration of the surrounding sacred valley is felt throughout the city, so yoga spots, meditation sessions and ethical vegan eateries are common. It’s also one of the best cities to visit in South America for anyone wanting to learn Spanish, with loads of local schools offering courses at cheap prices.

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Plaza de Armas Square

Cusco was once the Inca capital, and it was built on the ruins of ancient temples and palaces. It´s rich history is fascinating. Plaza de Armas is the heart of the city and an ideal starting point of any walking tour. Cusco is home to a lively nightlife, for which it has been named ‘party capital of Peru’. All kinds of bars and clubs surround the square, playing electronic, hip-hop and dance music till the early hours with street vendors on hand for when you make the journey back to your hotel.

Our final destination in this tour of cities is Lima. To travel by bus from from Cuzco to Lima, and to see the schedules and prices of the best companies offerind this service, click here.

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Inca walls near Cuzco

Lima, Peru

A lot of travellers pass through Lima on their way to Cusco and Machu Picchu or on their way back. Lima may get a day or two at a glance on most itineraries, but it’s not a city many stay in. Yet, Lima has a lot to offer travelers, especially foodies.

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A view of Lima

Founded in 1535 by Francisco Pizarro, Peru’s capital city is one of the best cities in South America to visit. Located between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Coast, you’ll find a huge amount of colonial Spanish buildings as well as ancient Incan archaeological sites close by. Some cool things to do in Lima include:

  • Visit El Circuito Mágico del Agua: The Magic Water Circuit is a night show of water and light in Parque de la Reserva: 13 water fountains that come to life with lasers, coloured lights, and music.
  • Eat ceviche: This popular seafood dish is made with raw fish cured in lemon. The fish is served with white corn, sweet potato, and red onions, typically for lunch. Some popular cevicherias in Lima include: La Mar, Punta Sal, Pescados Capitales and El Punto Azul.
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Seafood Ceviche
  • Eat peruvian food in general: Peruvian food has become known around the world for its blend of indigenous, spanish and asian cultures, and for the way its street food and popular cousine has been made gourmet with a few fusion twists. Peru’s cuisine has evolved, blended, and been adapted by the various cultures found within the country. Some prime examples of this include chifa (Peruvian-Chinese fusion) and nikkei (Peruvian-Japanese fusion). You’ll also find that dishes vary by geographical region, resulting in coastal, Andean, and jungle food. For all these reasons, Lima is considered the gastronomic capital of Latin America. From the most gourmet restaurants to the cheapest street-food trucks, the food in Lima is well worth trying.
  • Tour the city: The bus tour company Mirabus runs various tours within Lima.. If you want to get an overview of Miraflores and Lima’s historic centre, then their tour Lima by Dayis a good option. The tour last 3.5 hours and it is 70 soles.
  • Shop at Larcomar. Larcomar is a shopping centre located in Miraflores, which stands out because it has been built on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, with amazing lookout points. People come here to shop, have dinner, or enjoy a snack with an amazing view.

We hope the information is useful and wish you happy traveling!

The most spiritual places to travel in South America

For many people, traveling is a form of spiritual practice. Traveling can refresh and renew your sense of wonder, and allow for a deeper connection to the earth, other cultures and your self. Now, traveling to specific places known for their spiritual power can be an even more spiritually rewarding experience.

Tourist destinations that are highly regarded spiritualy have been constructed based on specific belief systems, such as churches and temples, and some are known as such simply based on the energy and vibration of the landscape and nature. These last tend to be of spiritual importance to ancient and native cultures.

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In this post, we will tell you about the most spiritual places to travel to in South America. We can even imagine a spiritual tour for you, starting in the low-lands of Bolivia and ending in the peruvian desert. Many of these destinations are known for their ancient legends, spiritual practices and long-standing ceremonies, while other sacred sites now exist as ruins or natural wonders.

Samaipata (Bolivia)
We start our imaginary spiritual tour in Samaipata. The ruins of Samaipata are located in the remote mountains of central Bolivia, 120 kilometers from the city of Santa Cruz, the largest city of the Bolivian low-lands. The ruins of this fort and ancient, pre-incan religious temple are one of the most enigmatic ancient sites in all of South America. Located on a mountain at 6500 feet above sea level (1949 meters), the site was first discovered by the early Spanish and named ‘The Fortress’ as they believed it was a strategic, military strong-hold of the Incas.

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Ceremonial stone of Samaipata

Today, archaeologists believe it was not a military fortress, but a spiritual one. The ruins of Samaipata consist of two parts: the stone hill carved with fascinating images of jaguars, snakes, other zoomorphic and geometrical figures, a water tank with conduits, and a curious seating arrangement; and an area to the south of the stone hill that seems to have been the administrative and residential district. The seating arrangement at the top of the stone hill was designed with 12 seats carved into the hilltop facing toward each other in a circle.

You can travel to Samaipata by bus from any city in Bolivia. Just click here for a full article about how to reach Samaipata from Cochabamba, Sucre, La Paz and Santa Cruz. In order to get to La Paz, where our next destination lies, you can take a bus from Santa Cruz to La Paz. 

The Ancient City of Tiwanaku (Bolivia)
Our next stop are the ancient ruins of the pre-incan city of Tiwanaku, which was once the spiritual and political capital of the Tiwanaku Empire. Believed to have existed between 300 BC and 300 AD, this empire dominated the area in the current border between Bolivia and Peru. Today, it is a ceremonial site with majestic structures infused with an ancient spirituality that’s palpable. Hightlights are Tiwanaku’s beautifully crafted sculptures and its mysteriously crafted megalithic stone arch known as La Puerta del Sol (“The Gate of the Sun”). What’s more astounding than these few remnants themselves is the mindboggling story behind their construction. Consider the fact that the stones — weighing up to 150 tons — were somehow transported from more than 10 miles away.

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Monolith sculpture in Tiwanaku

Today, the ruins are the center of a spiritual celebration of the Winter Solistice. Every june 20th, indigenous communities gather around the Gate of the Sun at night and hold bonfire vigils, waiting for the sun to return and receiving the first rays that go through the gate. This celebration has become a spiritual tourist attraction in the last ten years. You can travel from La Paz to Tiwanaku by train. To buy tickets and check out the schedule, click here.

Lake Titicaca & Sun Island: Birthplace of Inca Civilization (Bolivia/Peru)
Just a few kilometers from the ruins of Tiwanaku is the next place on our tour: Lake Titicaca. This lake was central to the birth of the Inca civilization, as legend has it both its founder-king,  and the sun itself were said to have emerged from these glistening blue waters. Thus, the lake’s Isla del Sol (“Island of the Sun”) became a vital religious center, attracting pilgrims from across the ancient empire to visit its shrines on this endless lake.

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A view of Lake Titikaka

It is hard to believe that this remarkable expanse of shimmering water, the highest altitude navigable lake in the world, is indeed a lake and not a vast ocean, as it unfolds towards the horizon in a spectacular display of natural beauty. You can sail across the expansive lake to the Sun Island, discover this sacred site with moon and sun temples and spellbinding scenery. Soak up the mythical aura of this true South American icon as you walk along flagstone paths to temple ruins set against a backdrop of picture-perfect snow-capped mountains.

Boats and tours to the Island of the sun leave from Copacabana, a colonial town on the Bolivian shore of Lake Titicaca. To find out how to travel by bus from La Paz to Copacabana, just click here.

Machu Picchu
The next stop in our spiritual tour needs no presentation. This ancient ruin is located high in Peru’s Andes Mountains, a feat of engineering performed by the Inca Empire in the 15th century. The site is home to many temples, shrines, and caves, and is most renowned for their advanced civil engineering and way the buildings portray astronomical formations. Climbing to Machu Picchu has been a journey of deep spirituality for people ever since the site was re-discovered two hundred years ago. Many sites in the area used for healing and connecting to ancient energies.

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Machu Picchu

The remote remains of this ancient Inca civilisation were hidden for around 400 years. As well as being a marvel of engineering, with stones so precisely shaped to fit together that they required no mortar, the complex contains multiple shrines, temples and carvings, some of which are clearly oriented to astronomical events.

In order to get to Machu Picchu, you must travel by train from Cusco. You can easily travel to Cusco from La Paz, and even get a direct bus to Cusco from Copacabana in comfortable buses.

Nazca
Our final destination in this imaginary spiritual tour is one of the greatest mysteries on this planet: the Nazca Lines, monumental drawings etched across 500sq km of the Pampa Colorada of southern Peru, in impeccably geometric lines.

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Nazca lines as seen from the sky

Since they can only be seen clearly from the sky, Peru’s sand-etched lines – some of which depict animals and others, geographical patterns – have led theorists to ask themselves  who they were originally intended for. Were they messages to the gods? Were they created by aliens? More recent research suggests that the lines were ritualistic in purpose, designed to be walked along, single file and deliberately, in a quest for spirituality and enlightenment. They could be anything from ceremonial sites for the gods of water, to an astronomical calendar.

No matter if you view from ground level or by plane, you’re certain to be awestruck. Contemplate the many theories for yourself as you marvel at the hundreds of geoglyphs from above. You can easily buy tickets to travel by bus from Cusco to Nazca by following this link.  Happy enlightenment!

From Arequipa to La Paz by bus

Updated January 2020

Getting from Arequipa to La Paz by bus takes about 13 hours. There are no direct buses between Arequipa and La Paz so buses will stop in Puno where passengers need to board a different bus. Puno is located 292 km from Arequipa and the trip takes around 6 hours. The bus from Puno to La Paz takes another 6 hours.

Nonetheless, there is also a tourist service offered by Bolivia Hop which includes stops along the way.

Since there is a border crossing, usually in Desaguadero, make sure to have all the necessary documents ready when arriving at the migration office and be aware of the paperwork needed. For more information on the entry requirements for Bolivia, check our blog post here.

Route Arequipa to La Paz – Photo: Google maps

This guide will cover the following:

  1. Book your transport from Arequipa to La Paz
  2. What to do after your arrival?
  3. Plan a tour in La Paz
  4. Other useful information
Typical Andean women dancing – Photo: user 677920 via Pixabay

1. Book your transport to La Paz

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, there are two ways to travel from Arequipa to La Paz by bus. First, the trip can be done with a stop midway the route in Puno. On the other hand, you can travel with a bus company that offers a tourist experience, with stops where you can hop-on and hop-off, such as Bolivia Hop.

Trip with stopover

The fastest option to travel from Arequipa to La Paz by bus is to go via Puno. Puno, on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca, is famous for the Urus floating islands.

Arequipa to Puno by bus

Bus companyType of busDeparture timeArrival timeAdditional information
4M ExpressTourist bus12:00pm7:00pmStops in Pampa Cañahuas and Lagunillas.
Includes: Transportation, and tourist stops.
Guide on board in English and Spanish.
Tour PeruSemi lie-flat and lie-flat10:30pm04:30amDirect service
TranszelaLie-flat10:30pm05:00amDirect service

The bus company doing the trip from Arequipa to Puno is 4M Express, a touristic bus company. From Puno to La Paz there are different options with Trans Titicaca (normal bus), Tour Peru (semi lie-flat bus) and Bolivia Hop (tourist bus).

Puno to La Paz by bus

The buses from Puno to La Paz leave every day between 07:00am and 1:30pm. This trip also takes around 6 hours, depending on the route and bus company you choose. Some buses are direct, crossing the border at Desaguadero and others go via Copacabana where travelers need to change buses.

Bus companyType of busDeparture timeArrival timeAdditional information
Tour PeruSemi lie-flat06:45am3:00pmDirect service. Migration in Desaguadero. This ticket does not include the boat trip cost in Tiquina.
Trans TiticacaNormal7:00am3:00pmDirect service. This ticket does not include the boat trip cost in Tiquina.
Trans Titicaca Normal 7:30am6:30pm Migration in Kasani and change of bus in Copacabana.
This ticket does not include the boat trip cost in Tiquina.
Trans Titicaca Normal 1:30pm10:30pmMigration in Kasani and change of bus in Copacabana.
This ticket does not include the boat trip cost in Tiquina.
Bolivia HopTourist bus8:30am10:30pmHop-on/Hop-off service
Floating islands in Puno – Photo: Jerson Goicochea via Unsplash

Tourist bus from Arequipa to La Paz

You also have the option to travel with Bolivia Hop from Arequipa to La Paz in a tourist bus. The journey takes about two days with multiple stops in Lagunillas, Juliaca, Puno and Copacabana. Bolivia Hop provides a personalized service with guides and assistance with border crossing paperwork.

2. What to do after your arrival?

Witches market

Located in downtown La Paz, behind the San Francisco church, it is one of the most visited places by tourists. Here you can find amulets, potions and other various products used to make offerings to Mother Earth, known as Pachamama. There you can also find clothes, accessories and ornaments with indigenous motifs that you can bring back as souvenirs.

Street vendor at Witches Market in La Paz – Photo: Bolivia Hop website

Valle de la Luna

Located on the way to Mallasa, it is located 40 minutes from the city center of La Paz. You can get there by taxi or public transport.

Valle de la Luna – Photo: WaSZI via Pixabay

Cable car – Mi Teleferico La Paz

A transport service consisting of over 8 lines with different routes that will help you to know the whole city of La Paz from above. La Paz is located at 3,650 meters above sea level. You can board any of the lines in the areas of Irpavi, Sopocachi, Obrajes, Alto Obrajes, Av. Arce, Plaza Villarroel, etc.

Cable car in La Paz – Photo: Gabriel Alenius via Unsplash

Viewpoints

The most visited viewpoints are the viewpoints of Pura Pura, Killi Killi and the viewpoint of Laikakota located on Avenida del Ejército.

Children on slide at Laikakota park in La Paz – Photo: Pagina Siete newspaper website

Museums

The city hosts numerous cultural spaces and museums. Some highlights are:

Precious Metal Museum (also known as Gold Museum): This museum holds an impressive collection of Pre-Columbian pieces showcasing jewelries and ceramics.

MUSEF (Museum of Ethnography and Folklore): This museum contains archeological pieces from around Bolivia, ranging from textiles, feathers, masks, metal and stone.

Museum of National History: Showcases fossils of animals from different geological eras. Located in the South Zone of La Paz, in Cota Cota (street 26).

Museum Tambo Quirquincho: Contains collection of colonial and republican silver artefacts. There are also old photographs of La Paz, traditional masks and costumes.

Food

There is something to eat for all tastes and budgets in La Paz. If you want to taste local delicacies, we recommend the delicious salteñas. For more typical and traditional food, you can find many options around the city, especially behind San Francisco church, on Calle Murillo.

Typical salteñas food in La Paz – Photo: Opinion newspaper website

3. Plan a tour in La Paz

For instance, if you want a quick although complete look of this wonderful city you can book a tour with Qantuxcape. Certainly, this sightseeing city tour is the perfect way to discover La Paz and, with stops where you can hop-on and off, it is easy for you to visit the best that the city has to offer.

Sightseeing bus – Photo: Qantuxcape via TicketsBolivia.com

Discover La Paz’s most important landmarks on a bus tour led by experienced tourist guides. Book online here today!

4. Other useful information

We hope the information is useful. Check our other travel guides for Bolivia. If you have any doubts and want advice regarding your travel plans, feel free to contact us at info@ticketsbolivia.com.

From San Pedro de Atacama to Uyuni by bus

Travel from San Pedro de Atacama to Uyuni by bus

Getting from San Pedro de Atacama to Uyuni by bus takes around 14 hours. The distance between both cities is 520km. There are buses that leave the station everyday at 3am and 9:45am and arrive to Uyuni at 3pm and 8pm.

Here you will find a complete guide to:

  1. Book your transport to Uyuni
  2. What to do after your arrival?
  3. Plan a salt flat tour
  4. Other useful information

San Pedro de Atacama is a Chilean town located at the edge of the Salar de Atacama. An increasing number of tourists are interested in visiting the native ruins nearby, trekking, climbling and even sand boarding in the desert. But because of its altitude (2.400m), a brief period of acclimatization may be required.

Salar of Atacama – Photo: Kurt Cotoaga via Unsplash

On the other hand, Uyuni is a must visit destination if you are traveling through South America. It’s a Bolivian city which serves primarily as a gateway for tourists traveling to the wolrd’s largest salt flats. The Salar of Uyuni has an elevation of 3656 meters above sea level and a surface of 10.582 square kilometers.

Salar of Uyuni – Photo: Diego Fernandez via Unsplash

1. Book your bus from San Pedro de Atacama to Uyuni

Through Tickets Bolivia you can book your trip from San Pedro de Atacama to Uyuni by bus with trustworthy and reliable companies that offer clients good quality services. Cruz del Norte and Trans Salvador work on this route. Their schedules are the following:

CompanyBus classRouteTime of departure and arrivalPrice in US Dollars
Cruz del NorteSemi lie-flatDirect service03:00 / 16:30$32.12
Trans SalvadorSemi lie-flat Direct service 09:45 / 22:00$28.91
Cruz del NorteSemi lie-flat Direct service 10:30 / 21:00$32.12
Bus schedule San Pedro de Atacama to Uyuni by bus

Tips during the journey

  • Buses from San Pedro de Atacama to Uyuni stop in Calama. Calama is 100 kilometers from Uyuni and it takes about 1:30 hours to do the journey by bus.
  • These companies don’t offer food or refreshment during the trip. Sometimes they will take sellers on board offering drinks or food, this is a common custom for buses in Bolivia. Sometimes they will also stop to pick passengers or packages along the way.
  • Buses should come with heating and blankets as the journey gets cold at night on the altiplano but it is better to always come prepared. It will also be very cold (whatever the time of year) when arriving in Uyuni at 5:30-6:00 so better have warm layers.
  • The buses that travel during the day will do a stop in Calama, while the night bus will go through this town, located on the border between Ollague and Avaroa.

These are the Cruz del Norte semi lie-flat bus.

Cruz del Norte buses – Photo: Cruz del Norte via Flickr

This is the Trans Salvador semi lie-flat bus.

Trans Salvador semi lie-flat bus – Photo: transsalvador.com via Google Images

2. What to do after your arrival?

Buses arrive in the afternoon around 16:30 or at night around 21:00-22:00. Passengers who arrive earlier will have time to charge their phones, eat something and buy whatever is needed before the tour, or book a tour if they haven’t done it. Agencies open at around 7:00 and tours leave at around 10:00. Until then there are options of coffee shops with Wi-Fi and hot drinks/food open from 5:00 to accommodate early arrivals.

Here are some good food options if you are in Uyuni and are looking for a place to eat while you wait for your next bus/train/flight:

Breakfast Nonis: Opens early in the morning so you can go straight here after the long bus ride and warm with a hot drink and some simple food. The WiFi works well and there are plugs to charge your phone.

Minuteman Revolutionary Pizza: Located inside a hotel in the center of Uyuni, this pizza place is the perfect stop after your tour while waiting for your bus. It has a good selection of pizzas which also happen to be very good.

Lliphi: This is another very good option to wait during the afternoon. This restaurant/cafe-bistro has food, music, drinks and board games which will keep you occupied while you wait.

Tika: A more upscale option, this restaurant has a nice atmosphere and good-quality dishes.

Extreme Fun Pub: Like its name, this is a fun place meet fellow travelers if you happen to spend the night in Uyuni and are looking for a party and good drinks.

3. Plan a salt flat tour in Uyuni

Tours can be booked online, in La Paz or directly in Uyuni when arriving in the morning. When in Uyuni, from as early as 5:00, tour agents will come forward trying to sell you a tour. It’s best to have an idea of which tour agencies you want to go to and go there directly to inquire for availability and prices.

But first, should you book your tour in advance? You can book your tour online or in La Paz or any travel agency in the country. If you want to have your trip planned and not worry about it, it is the best option. It is also recommended to book ahead if traveling in a large group. (Cars can carry up to 6 passengers – not including the driver). If you are travelling solo or with one other person, you can easily find space directly in Uyuni as agencies will be trying to fill their cars and bargain the prices due to the high competition.

Tour car on Uyuni’s “mirror” salt flat – Photo: Lucas Metz via Unsplash

In the case that you haven’t booked a tour yet, there are over 100 tour agencies and it can be overwhelming to have to choose between all the choices. Here are some tips to help you choose which company to travel with in Uyuni:

  • Do some research about the tour agencies online, TripAdvisor is a reliable source of information as well as other traveler’s forums. When you have found some options go around and check for prices, tour descriptions and availability, compare the different operators before making a decision. If you are in Uyuni, tours will leave around 10:00 so there is plenty of time to choose. Don’t feel rushed to decide on the spot.
  • The average price for a shared 3-day tour with a Spanish-speaking driver is about 750-800 bolivianos (115 US$). It is not recommended to go for a cheaper option as this could mean unsafe travel conditions. If you are paying for a more expensive tour make sure to know what are the added extras (usually English-speaking driver and private rooms). Paying more could just mean slightly better food and a bottle of wine in the evening so make sure to know exactly what you are paying for and decide if it’s worth it.
  • You will need to have water, good sunglasses, a hat, warm clothing, a sleeping bag which can usually be rented with your tour agent.
  • Car can carry 7 people maximum (including the driver). Do not pick a tour agency that says otherwise and who is willing take more people.
  • Bring cash with you as ATMs don’t always work in Uyuni and there is no place to exchange money. Tour agencies will accept US dollars and Bolivianos but the exchange rate may not be as good as in La Paz.

There are about 4 different options for your Uyuni tour.

1 – One-day tour

First, and a very popular option is the one-day tour that can come with variations depending on the season with sunrise or sunset and even stargazing options. I would recommend this option only if your time/budget is limited and you absolutely have no other option. Tours will start at around 10:00 in the morning and return right after sunset. Most tours will take you to the train cemetery, Colchani, and then head to the salar for lunch. The afternoon is dedicated to taking the traditional fun pictures and a visit to the Tunupa volcano where there are good viewpoints and archaeological sites to explore.

2 – Three-day tour

The most popular option is the three-day tour. The tours follow the same route with small variations. On the first day you will go to the salt flats and spend most of the afternoon there before heading to your accommodation right after sunset. The first night is spent in a salt hostel at the edge of the salar with amenities varying depending on the tour booked.

The second is a lot of driving towards the National Reserve Eduardo Abaroa, you will see active volcanoes, lagoons and beautiful landscapes. The highlight of that day is the Laguna Colorada where tours stop the longest. This is usually the last stop of the day and accommodation the second is usually more rustic and at an higher altitude (around 4.700 meters above sea level) making it the coldest night of the trip.

Brown lama facing body of water – Photo: Mariana Proenca via Unsplash.

On the third day you will most likely head before down to the geysers and then go to the hot springs where you can bathe, have breakfast and rest before the last stop of the tour. At Laguna Verde located very near the border with Chile the groups split; those wanting to continue to Chile will cross the border and the others will return to Uyuni. The rest of the day is mostly drive with stops for lunch and special sights. The cars take a different route to go back. Tours return to Uyuni at around 16:30-17:00.

3 – Two-day and four-day tours

These options are not always offered by agencies as a shared tour. If you are traveling in a group of 6, you can easily arrange a private tour and select what you want to see and do.

If you can’t afford a private tour, some companies do offer these as shared tours. You can find some of these options here. If you are interested in these options it is better to do some research beforehand and book it before getting to Uyuni as you may not be able to find what you want on the day.

Also please note that there are 4-day tours from Tupiza (instead of Uyuni) which are also a good alternative for those who want a slightly different and more complete experience. These tours are slightly more expensive since they can only accommodate groups of 5 per car. The tour comes with a driver/guide and a cook. Also because they are less popular, fewer agencies operate them but they are of generally good quality. They also have the advantage to hit all the touristic stops at a different time than the tours coming from Uyuni or San Pedro de Atacama, which means that you can enjoy them with significantly less people.

4. Other useful information

  • The high season is in December-January and July-August. Prices can be higher due to the high affluence of tourists during these months.
  • Temperatures get really cold during the tour, especially if you do the 3-day tour on the second night. July and August are winter month and temperatures can drop to -20°C or -4°F. Tours can rent you a sleeping bag but bring warm layers.
  • You will be affected by the altitude, especially for those who recently arrived in Bolivia and didn’t adjust properly. On the second and third day, tours go up to 5,000 meters above sea level. This affects the body on different levels, starting with headaches and trouble digesting. It is all completely normal but to avoid getting sick during the tour it is recommended to eat light, drink a lot and avoid alcohol.
  • Bring protection from the sun, sunglasses are indispensable but also protect your head and skin.
  • Five liters of water are recommended per person for a three-day tour.
  • You can start the tour from Uyuni, Tupiza or San Pedro de Atacama. Tours from San Pedro de Atacama follow the same itinerary as the tours from Uyuni, except in the reverse order: the last day is spent on the salt flats and transfer is possible to Uyuni.
  • During the rainy season (November to April/May), parts of the salt flats can be flooded causing changes to the itinerary as it is impossible to access some sites. However, the rainy season has the advantage to have the mirror effect happen where the sky reflects on the inundated white surface.
Body of water under cloudy sky during daytime – Photo: Boyan Lepoev via Unsplash

If you are traveling from San Pedro de Atacama to Uyuni by bus, you can find the information bus schedules here. Buses have day and night departures.

We hope the information is useful. Check our other travel guides for Bolivia. If you have any doubts and want advice regarding your travel plans, feel free to contact us at info@ticketsbolivia.com.

All you need to know to travel from La Paz & Puno to Copacabana by bus

Puno to Copacabana by bus takes about 4 hours. From Bolivia, La Paz to Copacabana also takes about 4 hours by bus. This guide will give you all the information you need in order to plan your trip from La Paz and Puno to Copacabana and Isla del Sol in Bolivia. You will find here bus and boat schedules and suggestions on what to do and where to go.

Bus from La Paz to Copacabana

La Paz to Copacabana by bus takes about 4 hours. Buses leave throughout the day but the last bus to leave from the main terminal leaves at 13:30. There are no night buses to Copacabana because buses need to cross by ferry the strait of Tiquina which closes at night.

Schedule and prices for La Paz to Copacabana bus:

Bus CompanyBus ClassTime of DepartureTime of ArrivalPriceAdditional Information
Vicuna TravelNormal07:3011:30US$
4.38
Doesn’t include the crossing of Tiquina (2 Bs)
TurisbusTourist07:3011:30US$ 19Includes the crossing of Tiquina. Programmed stops to take pictures and pick-up service.
Trans TiticacaNormal08:0012:00US$ 3.94Doesn’t include the crossing of Tiquina (2 Bs)
Diana TourNormal08:0012:00US$ 4.38Doesn’t include the crossing of Tiquina (2 Bs)
Trans TiticacaNormal13:3017:30US$ 3.65Doesn’t include the crossing of Tiquina (2 Bs)
Bus from La Paz to Copacabana

Please note that this is the schedule for formal buses leaving from the main terminal in La Paz. The route between La Paz to Copacabana by bus is also operated by informal transport companies (buses and minibuses) leaving from the General Cemetery in La Paz. These leave every day between 6:00 and 18:00 (depending on the time of year).

There is no schedule as buses from La Paz to Copacabana leave whenever they are almost full and stop regularly along the way to drop or pick-up passengers. Because of the irregularity and lack of any guarantees regarding safety, we recommend traveling with an established company to avoid any problems. However they do provide the advantage of being more frequent and flexible. The price is about the same than buses leaving from the main terminal: 20/30 Bs.

View of Copacabana, Bolivia
View of Copacabana from the Calvario – Photo: sunny-upadhyay via Unsplash

Bus from Puno to Copacabana

The Puno to Copacabana bus takes about 4 hours by bus and the journey involves crossing the border at the Kasani office. Depending on the time of day this process can take longer. since the border is closed at night, this trip can only be done during the day.

These two cities, each on the shore of Lake Titicaca but in different countries, offer a very different experience of the lake. They are both touristic destinations: Puno is a larger city with a more developed tourism industry while Copacabana is smaller and more relaxed. But, from Copacabana you can visit the Isla de Sol which is perfect for travelers who want to enjoy a more quiet, independent experience.

Schedule and prices for bus from Puno to Copacabana:

Bus CompanyBus ClassTime of DepartureTime of ArrivalPriceAdditional Details
Trans TiticacaNormal06:0011:00US$ 10.22Migration in Kasani
Tour PeruNormal07:0012:00US$ 9Migration in Kasani
Huayruro ToursSemi lie-flat07:0012:00US$ 5.84Migration in Kasani
Huayruro ToursLie-flat07:0012:00US$ 7.30Migration in Kasani
TranszelaInca suite07:0010:30US$ 15.00Migration in Kasani
Trans TiticacaNormal07:3012:30US$ 10.22Migration in Kasani
Trans TiticacaNormal13:3018:30US$ 13.14Migration in Kasani
Bus schedule Puno to Copacabana

A guide to visiting Copacabana

Most people go to Copacabana to see Lake Titicaca and visit Isla del Sol, therefore it has the feel of a transit town, but if you take the time there are some interesting sights and things to do around depending on how much time you have.

  • If you only have a couple of hours in Copacabana, you can walk up the Cerro Calvario for amazing views of the lake (this is especially popular at sunset). The walk up can take 30 minutes to an hour and the hill is easily accessible from Copacabana. Look for the steps to the north of the city. You can also visit the Cathedral of Copacabana and enjoy some trout from the lake.
  • If you have at least a whole day in Copacabana, you can do a day-hike to Yampupata. This path is not a touristy one and very few people head that way but it provides a nice walk in the countryside with amazing views of the lake on a mostly flat-surface. This is perfect if you want to try high-altitude trekking and do something a bit different. The hike to Yampupata takes about 5 hours and from there you can hire a boat to Isla del Sol or a taxi back to Copacabana.

However, the absolute must-see for people is Isla del Sol. It is possible to go there for the day or even a few hours but ideally one should stay one night on the island to enjoy the tranquility and beauty of the scenery. There are also pre-Columbian ruins on the island that are worth visiting.

Where to eat

There is an abundance of places where one can grab a bite in Copacabana, and like in any other touristy, transit town, it is difficult to pick the good places from the less reputable ones. Here are some options we recommend for those who want a quick lunch or a snack to take on their next bus. There are also plenty of more fancy sit-down restaurants where you can try the local trout, local or international dishes.

El Condor & The Eagle Cafe: For a good breakfast. It’s located inside Residencial Paris and they serve hearty homemade Irish bread, beans, porridge and organic coffee.

The Pit Stop: Located across from the main plaza where buses drop and pick passengers, it’s ideal for those who just want something small, tasty and convenient to go. They also have empanadas, cake and other quick bites to go.

Pan America: For those who crave pizza. They have a simple menu and a rotating selection of fresh ingredients for toppings.

Where to sleep

Backpackers on a small budget will find very affordable accommodation for 20-30 Bs. These hostels will provide very basic rooms and it is recommended to have a sleeping bag as it gets very cold at night. You can find some of these hostels online but the majority doesn’t have an online presence.

As with food, the range of choice for accommodation is wide and with some research you can find what suits your needs best, there are hotels on the shore of the lake and others near the center. There are also eco-lodges and more luxurious options. Prices range between 4 USD to about 150 USD per person per night.

How to get to Isla del Sol

The only way to get to Isla del Sol is by boat from Copacabana (or from Yampupata if you are hiking there). However, you can hire a private boat from Copacabana which could cost about 40-100 USD depending on your itinerary or you can take a public shared boat for 5-7 USD.

Please note: When arriving to Isla del Sol you will be charged an an admission fee of 10 bolivianos.

Boat from Copacabana to Isla del Sol

Shared boats leave twice a day at 8:30 and 13:30 and the journey takes about 1:30 hours to the south part of the island and 2 hours to the north side. Boats stop on both sides so make sure to specify where you want to be dropped off and, if you are doing the trip in one day, where you want to be picked up.

Please note:

For the last two years the island was experiencing a conflict between the north and south sides with the northern part being closed off to tourists. It has finally been solved and tourists can now access both sides again. However, there may be small changes of schedule so please take into account that the times given here might be subject to change.

Isla del Sol, Bolivia
Isla del Sol – Photo: Christopher Crouzet via Unsplash

What to do on Isla del Sol

Isla del Sol is often an underestimated destination where travelers wish they had staid longer. The views, tranquility and absence of motorized vehicles make it the perfect spot to relax between two tours/treks or long bus journeys. While you are there, we would recommend spending one night there to have time to really appreciate how special this place is.

Suggested itinerary for visiting Isla del Sol

  • The north side of the island is where most of the touristic attractions are with pre-Columbian ruins such as: The Rock of the Puma, or Titi Kharka; the Inca Table, supposedly used for human sacrifices and the Footsteps of the Sun. You first arrive at Cha’llapampa, the town on the northern end of the island. From there you can also visit the Gold Museum which displays Inca treasures discovered underwater off the island. 
  • In the south side is the Yumani community from where you can take the Inca steps down to the port and stop at the Fountain of Youth. Further down south from Yumani is the temple of Pilcocaina. There are not as many sights in the south side but there are plenty of accommodation choices ranging from backpacker hostels to luxurious eco-lodges. There are also more options for food and drinks there.

Explore

You can follow dirt paths and walk around the island to enjoy the views. Please note that the Cha’llapampa community charges about 15 bolivianos to access its archaeological zone but it is where the best beaches are. Walking around the island is generally safe but be careful of stray dogs.

Another popular itinerary for a one-day trip to the island is to get dropped off on the north of the island and walk to the south side. The walk takes about 3 hours so you can take the first boat which arrives at about 10:00-10:30 and catch the afternoon boat leaving the south side at about 15:30.

Relax

If you want to relax, find a quiet spot or pick a room with a view, watch the sunset and enjoy the stars at night. To the west, you can see the Peruvian side or you can look to the east and admire the Cordillera Real in the distance.

Isla de la Luna: While on Isla del Sol you can visit the smaller island Isla de la Luna next to it or you can take a boat from Yumani or arrange it from Copacabana. This island is home to the Temple of the Virgins and can be explored in an hour by foot. There is a small village to the south and please note that the island doesn’t have any electricity.

Finally, to return to Copacabana you can take the boat back in the morning at around 10:00 or in the afternoon at 15:30. Normally, the buses leaving and arriving Copacabana take the boats schedule into account so you have time to visit the islands and take a bus to your next destination.

You can find here more information on bus from Copacabana to La Paz or Copacabana to Puno.

Check our other Bolivia Travel Guides!

From Puno to La Paz by bus

Updated 10 July 2019

Puno to La Paz by bus takes about 8 hours depending on how long it takes to cross the border. There are different options to do this route, directly or via Copacabana. Read on to make the most of this route, and to find the best option for you.

Isla del Sol
Island of the Sun, Lake Titicaca

Puno is one of the highest city in Peru, at around 4,000 meters above sea level. It is on the shore of lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world on the skirts of the Andes mountain range. In Puno you can take a boat trip to the Uru’s floating islands, visit the Cathedral of Puno and visit other archaeological sites.

1. Puno to La Paz by bus

The bus terminal in Puno is located here (see map below). Before boarding the bus every passenger has to pay a terminal tax that has a cost of around 0.4 $us and is not included in the bus ticket. From this bus terminal you can travel to La Paz and other destinations in Bolivia and Peru.

terminal de puno

Direct buses from Puno to La Paz go via the migration center near Desaguadero. Buses won’t stop in the town and the border crossing takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on how many buses are ahead of you. The process is fairly straight forward. Get your passport stamped leaving Peru and stamp in again to enter Bolivia. US citizens and other nationalities requiring a visa should make sure to have all the necessary paperwork and documents available before traveling.

Schedule and prices for buses from Puno to La Paz

Bus Company Bus Class Time of Departure Time of Arrival Price  Additional Information
Tour Peru Semi lie-flat 6:45 15:00 US$ 15 Direct service. Migration in Desaguadero.
Trans Titicaca Normal 7:00 15:00 US$ 17.52 Direct service. Migration in Desaguadero.
Trans Titicaca Normal 13:30 22:30 US$ 20.44 Via Kasani. Change of bus iun Copacabana.

2. Puno to Copacabana by bus

The bus from Puno to Copacabana takes about 4 hours by bus. You will have to cross the border a the Kasani migration office.

Copacabana is a smaller and more relaxed town with many cultural and natural tourist attractions. Copacabana offers boat trips, hikes and the best trout in the region, as well as tours to the Islands of the Sun and Moon, where legend says the Inca Empire was founded. If you want to stop there on the way to La Paz, you can easily do so by taking one of the buses below:

Schedule and price for buses from Puno to Copacabana

Bus Company Bus Class Time of Departure Time of Arrival Price  Additional Information
Trans Titicaca Normal 06:00 11:00 US$ 10.22 Direct service. Migration in Kasani.
Tour Peru Normal 07:00 12:00 US$ 9.00 Direct service. Migration in Kasani.
Huayruro Tours Semi lie-flat 07:00 12:00 US$ 5.84 Direct service. Migration in Kasani.
Huayruro Tours Lie-flat 07:00 12:00 US$ 7.30 Direct service. Migration in Kasani.
Transzela Inca suite 07:00 10:00 US$ 15.00 Direct service. Migration in Kasani.
Trans Titicaca Normal 07:30 12:30 US$ 10.22 Direct service. Migration in Kasani.
Trans Titicaca Normal 13:30 18:30 US$ 13.14 Direct service. Migration in Kasani.

You will notice there are no night trips available. This is because the border closes at 20:00. Also please take into account that there is an hour time difference between Peru and Bolivia.

copa
Copacabana, Bolivia foto: worldynomads.com

Please take into consideration that some buses make several short stops along the way, picking up passengers from local communities who make a living by selling food and beverages on the buses. Since these stops are not in the official itinerary, they may be upsetting for tourists.

There is no proper bus terminal in Copacabana, as it is a very small town, but buses stop at the main square near the bus companies’ offices. Here is the map:

terminal terrestre de copacabana

If you are interested in spending a day or two in Copacabana before continuing your trip, one of the most popular things to do is visit the Island of the Sun (Isla del Sol). The boats leave from the dock at 8:30 and 13:30 most days. It takes about an hour and a half to reach Isla del Sol. On the island you will be able to see pre-Columbian ruins and experience the peace and energy of one of the most sacred places of the Inca empire. The boats back to Copacabana leave at 10:30 and 16:00, reaching Copacabana before 18:00.

3. Copacabana to La Paz

Copacabana to La Paz takes about 4 hours. The journey involves crossing the Tiquina strait which costs 2 bolivianos and is not usually included in your ticket. The buses will stop on the shore, passengers will have to cross the strait on boat while the boat crosses on a ferry. Passengers must then wait on the other side for their bus to finish crossing. They will then resume their journey. This takes about 30 minutes. Because it is not possible to cross the strait at night, the last bus to La Paz leaves at 18:30.

Schedule and price for buses from Copacabana to La Paz

Bus Company Bus Class Time of Departure Time of Arrival Price Additional information
Trans Titicaca Normal 13:30 17:30 US$ 5.84 Doesn’t include the crossing of Tiquina (2 Bs)
Vicuna Travel Normal 13:30 17:30 US$ 4.38 Doesn’t include the crossing of Tiquina (2 Bs)
Diana Tours Normal 13:30 17:30 US$ 4.38 Doesn’t include the crossing of Tiquina (2 Bs)
Turisbus Tourist 13:30 18:00 US$ 19.00 Includes the crossing of Tiquina. Programmed stops to take pictures and pick-up service.
Trans Titicaca Normal 18:30 22:30 US$ 6.57 Doesn’t include the crossing of Tiquina (2 Bs)

If you want to plan ahead, remember to book your tickets through www.ticketsbolivia.com

Have a nice trip!

Sucre to Uyuni by bus

Updated: 12 June 2019

Bolivia is a land of amazing contrasts, where the magnificence of the natural landscapes are only matched by the beauty of its cultural attractions. If you are attracted by the out-of-this-world formations of the Uyuni salt flats, you will be a stone-throw away from the amazing cities of Sucre and Potosi, both named Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO due to their rich historical wealth and well-kept colonial architecture. Walking the streets of Sucre and Potosi is like stepping into another time, just as a walk through the Uyuni salt flats is like a stroll on another planet.

Capture

If you want to get to know all three destinations, you can go from Sucre to Potosi and from there to Uyuni, or vice-versa. We´ll walk you through the routes, time tables and all the information you need to know to reach these cities.

potosibol
A view of Potosi from the colonial rooftops

Sucre to Potosi by bus

Sucre is the actual capital of Bolivia, where the Constitution was signed, although the seat of government was moved to La Paz in the 18th century. Today, the city is one of Bolivia’s main tourist destinations due to its numerous white walls and red rooftops, the churches and convents of  colonial times and the mild, sunny weather. Sucre is considered one of the most beautiful colonial cities in America.

potosi
Cerro Rico, Potosi

The distance between Sucre and Potosi is 156 kilometers. Both are very important tourist destinations, both colonial cities rich in history. The trip between these cities is around 3 hours. The route is highly popular with both tourists and locals, given that the two cities are connected not only historically but also by cultural and economic ties.

Departures are available all day, as buses leave once every hour between 06:00 am and 19:00 every day.  In order to travel from Sucre to Potosi, you must take a bus at the main bus terminal in Sucre, located on Avenida Ostria Gutierrez. You will be asked to pay a small fee called Uso de Terminal (Terminal use), which costs 2.5 Bs. The buses from Sucre arrive at the “new” bus station in Potosi, located on Avenida Las Banderas.

sucre-3
A view of Sucre from the air

Potosi is an important mining center, famous for its Rich Mountain, which provided the silver for the Spanish Colony for centuries. In fact, it was in Potosi that the silver coins were made for the entire Spanish empire. Today, the city preserves its colonial architecture and tourists can visit the Casa de la Moneda (the colonial mint), as well as the mines of the Cerro Rico, which looms over the city.

sin-tc3adtulo2
Uyuni Salt Flat, covered by a layer of rain water

Potosi to Uyuni by bus

After spending a few days in Potosi, you can continue the trip on to Uyuni, the largest salt flat in the world. Uyuni is located at 204 km from the city of Potosi. The trip takes 4 hours by bus through a paved highway.

In order to take a bus to Uyuni from Potosi you must go to Potosi’s “old” bus terminal, on Avenida Universitaria.  The buses leave at 9:30, 16:30 and 17:30 in semi lie-flat buses with the company Expreso 11 de Julio. Again, you will have to pay a small fee of 2.5 B.s before boarding the bus. 

Please note that Potosi has two bus terminals, one for regional trip, which includes Uyuni, and another for national trips (La Paz, Sucre, etc.)

Uyuni is the foremost tourist destination in Bolivia, a landscape that will leave you in awe. Formerly a salt-water lake, the Uyuni salt flats is a desert of salt in the middle of the Bolivian highlands. Tours include the train cemetery and the red and green lagoons, with possibility to transfer to Chile.

Sucre to Uyuni by bus

You can also visit the salt flats on a trip directly from Sucre. The journey takes around 8 hours covering a distance of 360 kilometers. You can depart at three different hours from Sucre: at 9:30, 20:00 and 20:30 with the bus companies 6 de Octubre or Exp. 11 de Julio.

You can visit the site https://www.ticketsbolivia.com to book bus tickets online.

How to Get from Cusco to Uyuni

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:

1920px-Cusco-c01
View of Cusco – via Wikimedia Commons

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:

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

Llamas_en_las_pampas_de_Florida
Altiplano Bolivia – Dr. SANTOS QA via Wikimedia Commons

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.

Salar de Uyuni
Salar of Uyuni – Lucas Galuzzi via Wikimedia Commons

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!

How to get from Cusco to Puno

Updated: 30 May 2019

Here you will find all the information you need to know about the Route of the Sun between Cusco and Puno and how to get from Cusco to Puno by bus or train.

Discover the Route of the Sun

One of the most overlooked routes for tourists that travel in bus around Latin America is the trip from Cusco to Puno by bus, also known as Ruta del Sol, or Route of the Sun. This trip by land takes you across 386 km of scenic view and ancient Inca sites, connecting two of the most popular tourist destinations in Peru: Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca.

There are different options to do this route. You can either take a direct bus which will take about 7 hours, or you can opt for a more touristic option that will let you enjoy the different archaeological and cultural sites along the way but takes about 10 hours and has a higher cost. There is also a luxury train going from Cusco to Puno. Here we will explain in detail these options in order to help decide which one is the best for you.

puno
Lake Titicaca, Puno, Peru

 

1. Direct buses from Cusco to Puno

Due to high demand from tourists from all around the world, there are many bus companies that offer this route, especially during the high season (December-January and June-August). The table below shows the times of departure, the different bus companies and prices available for this trip. If your schedule is tight and/or you would rather save money for other sites later on during your trip, this is the best option for you.

Direct options from Cusco to Puno

Bus company Seat class Time of departure Time of arrival (estimated) Price in US$ Extra info
Tour Peru Semi lie- flat/lie-flat 22:00 5:00 (+1 day) $13.14/$18.25 Direct service
Transzela Inca suite 8:30 15:30 $15 Direct service
Transzela Inca suite 22:15 5:15 (+1 day) $15 Direct service
Huayruro Tours Semi lie-flat/lie-flat 22:30 5:00 (+1 day) $11.68/$16.08 Direct service
Trans Titicaca Semi lie-flat 22:30 5:30 (+1 day) $14.60 Direct service

The “lie flat” seats recline to 170 degrees, while “semi lie-flat” seats recline to 140 degrees. All buses have air conditioning and bathroom. The buses traveling to Puno depart from Cusco at the main bus terminal, located on Via de Evitamento. See map below:

terminal terrestre de cusco

Puno, on the other hand, is a city with an important cultural and natural heritage, such as the floating islands of the Uros on Lake Titicaca, one of the most important tourist attractions in Peru and Bolivia. The city of Puno is also an important passage point between Bolivia and Peru, and tourists traveling between the two countries are bound to pass through on the way to or from Copacabana or La Paz. Buses arrive in Puno at the bus terminal, located on Primero de Mayo.  (See map below).

terminal de puno

2. What to see along the Route of the Sun

The route from Cusco to Puno goes through scenic landscapes, Inca ruins and archaeological sites worth visiting. Most direct buses leave at night which won’t let you appreciate the scenery around you. If you just visited Machu Picchu it is a logical continuation of you trip and you can do so with a tourist bus service which includes stops in each of the major location, an English-speaking guide, and lunch. 

Bus-trip-from-Puno-to-Cusco_map

Andahuaylillas (3,122 masl): Sometimes referred as the Sistine Chapel of America, the church of San Pedro Apostol de Andahuaylillas was built by the Jesuits in the 16th century. It was built on top of an Inca sacred site.

Raqchi (3,175 masl):  Here you can visit the Wiracocha temple built by the Inca in honor tof their god Wiracocha. The temple is a great construction .

La Raya (4,338 masl): La Raya Pass offers stunning scenery as the highest point in the trip. The buses will stop here to allow passengers to enjoy the view and take photos.

Pukara (3,575 masl): Pukara is an ancient cultural center, dated as early as 1,800 BC. This was the first large urban center in the region. The archaeological site also gave its name to what some archaeologists refer to as Pukara culture.

Touristic options from Cusco to Puno

Company Seat class Time of departure Time of arrival (estimated) Price in US$ Extra info
Inka Express Bus 7:00 17:30 $65 Stops along the way. Buffet lunch
Wonder Peru Expedition Bus 7:00 17:30 $55 Stops along the way. Buffet lunch
PeruRail Titicaca Train 7:10 17:30 $265  Lunch

Inka Express stops in the following sites: Andahuaylillas, Raqchi, Marangani (for the buffet lunch), La Raya and the Museum of Pukara. Buses leave Cusco from their private terminal located Avenida Alameda Pachacuteq 499.

Pukara, Peru
Pukara, Peru –  By David Stanley from Nanaimo, Canada via Wikimedia Commons

Wonder Peru Expedition offers the following itinerary:

Departure from Cusco 7:00
1st visit 8:10 Andahuaylillas 35 min
2nd visit 10:20
Raqchi
45 min
Buffet lunch 11:20 Lunch 50 min
Photos
13:00
El Paso La Raya 10 min
3rd visit 14:30 Pucara 35 min.
Photos 14:55 Kalassaya 10 min
Arrival in Puno 17:30 End of trip

Wonder Peru Expedition buses leave from their private bus terminal located Avenida 28 de Julio R-2-1.

3. The luxury experience: PeruRail Titicaca

Peru Rail Titicaca offers a luxury experience in their train from Puno to Cusco, travelers can enjoy unrivaled service aboard a beautiful train, dining in 1920s-style Pullman carriages and absorbing breathtaking landscapes. The train has open-air observation cars ideal for capturing unique panoramas.

The journey in train lasts approximately 10 hours 30 minutes. At the start of the journey, passengers are welcomed at the Wanchaq Station in Cusco where local musicians will provide background music as you board the train. There are two dining cars with the finest gourmet food and afternoon tea.

Departures:  Sunday, Wednesday and Friday

Cost: Starting at 245 USD

Tickets Bolivia offers the sale of tickets online for traveling between Cusco and Puno. The online tickets at the best prices, and with the most reliable companies offering the service. Have a great trip!

Travel by land from Cusco to La Paz

Cusco to La Paz or Cusco to Copacabana to La Paz or Cusco to Puno to La Paz?

Here you will find all the information you need to know to go from Cusco to Puno-Copacabana-La Paz. We will also help you choose between Puno or Copacabana and provide you with all the bus and train information to plan your journey.

If you are traveling from Peru to Bolivia, you probably are going from Cusco to La Paz. The easiest and cheapest way to do this journey is by bus. But there is another reason to choose bus travel over plane for this itinerary. The journey from  Cusco to La Paz by bus goes via the Lake Titicaca where you can decide to break your trip and visit Puno or Copacabana. After Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca is one of the most famous and popular holiday destination in South America. It’s the highest navigable lake in the world and provided some of the most beautiful sunsets and views you can imagine.

Here we will help you decide what is the best itinerary for your trip and how to get there.

1. How to get directly from Cusco to La Paz by bus

Direct buses from Cusco to La Paz leave in the evening, after 22:00 hours, in order to reach the Desaguadero border in the morning when it opens thus avoiding lines.

Buses leave from the main terminal in Cusco located here. The journey takes about 14 to 16 hours depending how long it takes to cross the border. The bus goes via Puno where it stops briefly.

Direct bus schedule from Cusco to La Paz

Bus companySeat classTime of departureTime of arrival (estimated)Price in US$Extra info
Trans SalvadorLie-flat 3 rows22:0013:00 (+1 day)$24.09 Direct service. Migration in Desaguadero
Tour PeruSemi-lie flat22:0015:00 (+1 day)$29.00 Direct service. Migration in Desaguadero
Nuevo Continente InternacionalLie flat22:3014:00 (+1 day)$26.28 Direct service. Migration in Desaguadero
640px-024_People_Uros_Islands_of_Reeds_Lake_Titicaca_Peru_3075_(14995322808)
Uros Floating Islands – Photo: bobistraveling via Wikemedia Commons

2. Puno or Copacabana, which one is better?

A common decision that travelers who want to see Lake Titicaca have to make is to choose between Puno, on the Peruvian side of the lake, or Copacabana, on the Bolivian side. Both options are worth exploring but sometimes due to time constraints, it’s one or the other.

Why Puno?

Puno is a good sized town on the shore of the lake with archaeological sites nearby and where you can learn about colonial history and stay in the homes of the people native to the area:

  • Visit the Catedral de Puno, an 18th-century Baroque cathedral that towers over the city center.
  • Museo Municipal Carlos Dryer: The museum holds a solid selection of regional artifacts and textiles, including a collection of mummies with deformed skulls.
  • Uros Floating Islands: Founded by the Uros people, the islands have been artificially made from the native totora reed. The Uros meticulously maintain their traditional homes and welcome visitors.
  • Amantani Island: Further away than the Uros Islands, Amantani Island provides a fascinating and authentic insight into local indigenous culture. Tourists can choose to spend a night there thanks to community-run initiatives which will allow you stay in a family home.
  • Another island worthy of a visit is Taquile. Smaller yet more developed, the island is famous throughout Peru for its textiles. You can also visit archaeological sites and enjoy breathtaking views of the lake.
  • Back on the mainland, Sillustani is an intriguing pre-Inca burial ground. The tombs, which are built above ground in funeral towers called chullpas, are the vestiges of the Qulla people, who were conquered by the Inca Empire in the 15th century.

Why Copacabana? 

Copacabana is known for its mystique and beauty, and for the best trout you’ll ever eat. It’s smaller and more quiet than Puno but has a unique charm and allows for some small hikes around the lake.

If you don’t have much time and want to make the most of your visit, you can choose one or several of these options:

  • Climb Cerro El Calvario: A 30 minutes-walk up the hill to panoramic views of the lake. It is a popular spot to watch the sunset.
  • Spend a night on Isla del Sol: One of the most popular things to do when you are in Copacabana is visit the Sun Island. The boats leave from the dock at 8:00 and 13:30 every day. It takes about an hour and a half to get to the island. On the island you will be able to see Incan ruins and experience the peace and energy of one of the most sacred places of the Incan empire. It is a very picturesque place where one can enjoy panoramic views of the lake, sights of the Cordillera Real, and hikes trough ancestral terracing and Pre-Columbian ruins.
  • Moon Island: Legend has it that this is where Viracocha (the Inca Creator deity) commanded the rising of the moon. It is a tiny island located near the Sun Island on Lake Titicaca, it is home to the ruins of the Temple of the Virgins. Hiking the entire island takes about an hour.
  • Basilica of Our Lady of Copacabana: A 16th-century Spanish colonial church that houses the image of the Virgen de Copacabana.

The verdict

Both cities are transit places to go visit more picturesque sites on or near the lake. Copacabana is more relaxed than Puno but has less to offer in terms of cultural and touristic activities, and is smaller in size. Isla del Sol is less developed but, being free of cars, and protected by the local communities, it is a peaceful place to enjoy nature and amazing views of the lake. On the other hand, the Urus Floating Islands, near Puno will offer a different experience where tourists can stay in traditional houses and learn about the culture of the area. The choice will depend on each one’s personal preference, Puno and Copacabana could either be skipped but generally it is worth spending at least one night on an island on the lake.

640px-Copacabana_-_panoramio_(10)
View of Copacabana

3. Getting to Puno

To do the route from Cusco to Puno, also known as Ruta del Sol (Sun Route), there are two main options. The first one is to take a direct bus that takes about 7 hours. The second option is to take a tourist bus or train that will make stops along the way and provide guided explanations on the different sites.

Direct options from Cusco to Puno

Bus companySeat classTime of departureTime of arrival (estimated)Price in US$Extra info
Tour PeruSemi-lie flat/lie flat22:005:00 (+1 day)$13.14/$18.25Direct service
TranszelaInca suite8:3015:30$15Direct service
TranszelaInca suite22:155:15 (+1 day)$15Direct service
Huayruro ToursSemi-lie flat/lie flat22:305:00 (+1 day)$11.68/$16.08Direct service
Trans TiticacaSemi-lie flat22:305:30 (+1 day)$14.60Direct service

Touristic options from Cusco to Puno

CompanySeat classTime of departureTime of arrival (estimated)Price in US$Extra info
Inka ExpressBus7:0017:30$65Stops along the way. Buffet lunch
Wonder Peru ExpeditionBus7:0017:30$55Stops along the way. Buffet lunch
PeruRail TiticacaTrain7:1017:30$265 Lunch

From Puno, there are direct buses to La Paz and Copacabana (see below).

4. Getting to Copacabana

Buses from Cusco to Copacabana usually involve a stop or a change of bus in Puno. Buses from Puno to Copacabana are then direct. The border crossing point is Yunguyo-Kasani. Stories of tourists being scammed have been reported at this border point, you can read our blog on how to avoid and deal with scams when traveling by bus in South America.

Isla de la Luna, Bolivia
Isla de la Luna – Photo: Chtiwiki via Wikimedia Commons

Direct options from Puno to Copacabana by bus

CompanySeat classTime of departureTime of arrival (estimated)Price in US$Extra info
Trans TiticacaNormal bus6:0011:00$8.76Migration in Kasani
Trans TiticacaNormal bus7:3012:30$8.76Migration in Kasani
Trans TiticacaNormal bus13:3018:30$11.68Migration in Kasani
TranszelaInca suite7:0010:00$11Migration in Kasani
Huayruro ToursSemi-lie flat/lie flat7:0012:00$7.30Migration in Kasani
Tour PeruNormal bus7:0012:00$9Migration in Kasani

5. Getting to La Paz via Puno or Copacabana

Whether you are leaving from Cusco, Puno or Copacabana, there are direct buses for each route. Copacabana to La Paz takes about 4 hours. The journey involves crossing the Tiquina straight, which costs 2 bolivianos, a cost which is not usually included in the bus ticket. Buses can’t cross at night so buses don’t leave after 18:30.

If taking a direct bus from Cusco or Puno, migration takes place at Desaguadero.

Most buses to La Paz arrive at the main bus terminal on Uruguay Avenue. Tourist buses sometimes drop passengers at their hotels. This is the case for companies such as Turisbus and Bolivia Hop.

Direct buses from Puno to La Paz

CompanySeat classTime of departureTime of arrival (estimated)Price in US$Extra info
Tour PeruSemi-lie flat6:4515:00$15Migration in Desaguadero
Trans TiticacaNormal bus7:0015:00$14.60Migration in Desaguadero

Direct buses from Copacabana to La Paz

CompanySeat classTime of departureTime of arrival (estimated)Price in US$Extra info
Diana TourNormal bus13:3017:30$4.30Does not include crossing fee in Tiquina (2Bs)
Trans TiticacaNormal bus13:3017:30$5.11Does not include crossing fee in Tiquina (2Bs)
Vicuna TravelNormal bus13:3017:30$4.38Does not include the boat cost in Tiquina (2Bs)
TurisbusTourist bus13:3018:00$19.00Pick-up from hotel.

Includes crossing fee in Tiquina (2Bs)

Trans TiticacaNormal bus18:3022:30$5.84Does not include crossing fee in Tiquina (2Bs)

Please take into consideration that some buses make several short stops along the way, picking up passengers and sometimes women from local communities who make a living by selling food and beverages on the buses. Since these stops are not in the official itinerary, they may be upsetting for tourists.

Another option to travel from Cusco to La Paz and take the time to explore Puno and/or Copacabana would be to travel with Bolivia Hop which offers passes to hop-on and hop-off in both cities and comes with some optional tours. You can book online any of the buses presented above as well as the Bolivia Hop Cusco to La Paz pass.

Please also note that the bus schedules are subject to change by the bus companies and that these are not an exhaustive list, we’ve selected the most reliable an safest bus companies for your convenience. More options exist at the bus terminals with more informal bus companies that cannot be booked online.

Book your bus and train tickets online at www.ticketsbolivia.com.