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.

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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:

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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!

Cusco to La Paz by land

Updated: 29 May 2019

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 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  Direct service. Migration in Desaguadero
Tour Peru Semi-lie flat 22:00 15:00 (+1 day) $29.00  Direct service. Migration in Desaguadero
Nuevo Continente Internacional Lie flat 22:30 14:00 (+1 day) $26.28  Direct service. Migration in Desaguadero
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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 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

 

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

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

Company Seat class Time of departure Time of arrival (estimated) Price in US$ Extra info
Trans Titicaca Normal bus 6:00 11:00 $8.76 Migration in Kasani
Trans Titicaca Normal bus 7:30 12:30 $8.76 Migration in Kasani
Trans Titicaca Normal bus 13:30 18:30 $11.68 Migration in Kasani
Transzela Inca suite 7:00 10:00 $11 Migration in Kasani
Huayruro Tours Semi-lie flat/lie flat 7:00 12:00 $7.30 Migration in Kasani
Tour Peru Normal bus 7:00 12:00 $9 Migration 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

Company Seat class Time of departure Time of arrival (estimated) Price in US$ Extra info
Tour Peru Semi-lie flat 6:45 15:00 $15 Migration in Desaguadero
Trans Titicaca Normal bus 7:00 15:00 $14.60 Migration in Desaguadero

 

Direct buses from Copacabana to La Paz

Company Seat class Time of departure Time of arrival (estimated) Price in US$ Extra info
Diana Tour Normal bus 13:30 17:30 $4.30 Does not include crossing fee in Tiquina (2Bs)
Trans Titicaca Normal bus 13:30 17:30 $5.11 Does not include crossing fee in Tiquina (2Bs)
Vicuna Travel Normal bus 13:30 17:30 $4.38 Does not include the boat cost in Tiquina (2Bs)
Turisbus Tourist bus 13:30 18:00 $19.00 Pick-up from hotel.

Includes crossing fee in Tiquina (2Bs)

Trans Titicaca Normal bus 18:30 22:30 $5.84 Does 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.

The Essentials Items to Pack when Traveling to Bolivia

Sajama National Park
Sajama National Park – Photo by Armin Silber

Here is a complete guide on the essential things to bring to Bolivia, whether you are traveling to La Paz or Santa Cruz; in the altiplano or the jungle.

Warm clothes/Layers

Bringing layers is a must when traveling to Bolivia. Even during the summer months temperatures can be surprisingly chilly because of the rainy weather. Keep in mind that summer is the rainy season and winter the dry season. And in winter, temperatures go really low at night while it is deceptively warm during the day. Whatever the season, temperatures can change drastically throughout the day.

Some parts of the country are warmer but if you are traveling by bus, especially night buses, it can get very cold despite having a heating system. Most buses (semi lie-flat and lie-flat) have it but be aware that sometimes drivers might not put it on or it may not work. Temperatures get very low so be prepared!

The opposite is also true in the warmer parts of the country where it can get really hot. So if you are traveling to Santa Cruz from La Paz in bus, prepare layers as the weather will go from cold to hot during the journey.

Waterproof clothing

As mentioned above, the summer months (between November and March) are the rainy seasons, rains may make traveling difficult, if not impossible, and it can rain at any time, in any part of the country. You can carry an umbrella in the city, but if hiking, better to have waterproof clothing at any time, and layers. The rain can be unpredictable and be accompanied by a sudden change in temperature.

Altitude sickness medication

If landing in La Paz from sea level, or any place of lower altitude, it is essential to take some time to acclimatize. Especially considering that journeys to La Paz are often long and tiring, and accompanied with jet lag. It usually takes 2 or 3 days to acclimatize and longer if one plans to travel to a higher altitude and to hike.

The only way to help prevent altitude sickness is by taking Acetazolamide (Diamox) which is prescribed by your doctor and should be taken a few days before arriving. Altitude sickness varies depending on the individual and you may not need anything. Most of the time, that’s the case. But in case your time is limited or you have experienced altitude sickness before, do ask your doctor about it.

Vaccination card

You’ll need the Yellow Fever vaccination if you are traveling to Bolivia. You may not be asked to show it when entering the country but it may be asked at a later time, especially when trying to travel to other countries who request the yellow fever vaccination. Bolivia is listed as Yellow Fever high risk country, and without the certification, other countries may not let you in.

Plane tickets/proof of onward travel

When traveling to Bolivia you will have to show either a return ticket or a proof of onward travel. This may be asked if you need a visa to enter the country but it may also be asked by the migration officer when entering the country (some airlines may not let you board if you don’t have it). If you are unsure of your travel plans, you can always book online a bus ticket to Peru or Chile from La Paz, which can be amended or cancelled at a later time, depending on your plans.

Salar de Uyuni
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Sunglasses

This is absolutely essential especially if going to the Salar de Uyuni. Not wearing sunglasses on the salt flat might permanently damage the eye and it is better to bring your own.

Flashlight

In case the power goes off but it’s also helpful at night, while doing the Uyuni 3-day tour, the second night doesn’t usually have electricity during the night. Also in night buses it can be useful to have a source of light if you drop something in the bus.

Wet wipes

Not just in Bolivia, but these are always useful when traveling long journeys and for freshening up after overnight buses.

Toilet paper

A good advice is to always carry toilet paper with you. Public toilets charge between 1 or 2 bolivianos and will provide you with a small amount of toilet paper but it’s good to have more on you, just in case. Don’t forget to put it in the bin, not the toilet.

Books

The scenery is beautiful wherever you are traveling in Bolivia but long-distance buses can be very long, especially during the daytime so don’t hesitate to bring a book or your kindle, or to have podcasts ready. Bus journeys in journey can take up to 20 hours.

 

The best ways to travel in Bolivia

Sajama National Park, Bolivia

By Bus

The most popular and easy way of traveling in Bolivia is by bus. Because of the country’s size and road conditions it can take over 7 hours to do less than 400 kilometers. Tickets can be purchased the very same day directly at the bus terminal but for travelers coming from abroad and trying to plan ahead their journey, it is now possible to book in advance online bus tickets with Tickets Bolivia.

Traveling in Bolivia is generally safe but can be quite unreliable, especially during the rainy season and public holidays. Some buses are not necessarily well-maintained, causing discomfort, breakdowns and delays and there are reports of drunk drivers. For this reason it is essential to travel with the safest and most reliable bus companies.

Also when booking a bus, travelers will have a choice of seats: Bus normal, Bus Semi-Cama or Bus Cama (sometimes referred to as Bus Leito). Normal buses don’t usually have toilets on boards and don’t really offer much leg space. Semi-Cama buses usually recline up to 140°, have 4 rows of seats, heating but not necessarily toilets. Cama buses should recline up to 170°, have 3 rows of seats, toilets on board, heating and AC.

It’s also important to know that roadblocks, marches, protests and special days can affect your journey. Roadblocks can last a few hours but sometimes it can last up to a few days. In these cases there is not much the bus driver can do, and one must just be patient if no other alternative is provided.

TIPS

  • Always bring layers. The best bus companies usually have blankets for passengers, but temperatures in the Bolivian altiplano can be very cold, especially in July-August, and, if the heating doesn’t work, it can go as low as -15°C at night.
  • Bring snacks and water: Long distance buses always stop at least once, and some companies let vendors jump in the bus to sell snacks but it’s better to come prepared in case of any unexpected delay.
  • Where to seat: The back of the bus is the bumpiest and some roads are not paved. If you are prone to travel-sickness, better to avoid it and stay in the front of middle of the bus.
  • Plugs and WiFi: Even if advertised, it’s extremely unlikely that buses have WiFi, as most of the countryside doesn’t have phone service and very few buses in Bolivia are equipped with USB or plugs.

IMPORTANT: Bus terminals in Bolivia will ask passengers to pay for a small terminal tax called usually: Uso de Terminal. It usually costs Bs 2-2,50 and needs to purchased before boarding the bus. That fee is not included in your bus ticket.

For the best and most reliable bus companies, book your bus online here with Tickets Bolivia.

Train in Bolivia, Ollagüe-Uyuni, Bolivia

By Train

If you plan to travel to Bolivia, one of the safest and most comfortable options is to do it by train. It’s also an efficient way to connect to one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations: the Salar de Uyuni.

Traveling by train offers many advantages. It’s a comfortable and environment-friendly, and it can help avoid road blockades and other issues that may arise with bus travel. There are two train companies in Bolivia which offer train service: Ferroviaria Andina in the west of the country and Ferroviaria Oriental who covers routes from Santa Cruz to Puerto Quijarro and Yacuiba.

The most popular train route is from Oruro to Villazon, which goes via Uyuni:

1 Expreso del Sur Oruro – Uyuni

Uyuni – Villazon

Tues/Fri 14:30 Hrs

Tues/Fri 21:40 Hrs

2 Villazon – Uyuni

Uyuni – Oruro

Wed/Sat 15:30 Hrs

Wed/Sat 23:50 Hrs

3 Wara Wara del Sur Oruro – Uyuni

Uyuni – Villazon

Wed/Sun 19:00 Hrs

Mon/Thu 2:50 Hrs

4 Villazon – Uyuni

Uyuni – Oruro

Mon/Thu 15:30 Hr

Tue/Fri 1:45 Hrs

  • For the most up-to-date information on routes and schedule of Ferroviaria Andina visit http://www.fca.com.bo/
  • For the most up-to-date information on routes and schedule of Ferroviaria Oriental visit  http://www.fo.com.bo

TIPS

  • Make sure to be at the train station at least 30 minutes before departure.
  • Train tickets are in high demand all year long, but especially in the months of July-August and December-February. Book in advance in order to guarantee your trip!
  • Buy your tickets online right here: https://www.ticketsbolivia.com/
  • The Uyuni-Villazon section of the railway is currently under repair but a bimodal service (Bus+Train) will be made available from 15 December 2018 to 30 January 2019. The full service will reopen later in 2019.

By Plane

The fastest way to travel in Bolivia is by plane. There are three Bolivian airlines that cover most cities in the territory:

Others

It is possible to rent a car to travel; prices for one-day rental start at USD 50-100.

You can also take local minibuses for trips under 4 hours but be aware that they don’t follow a schedule and leave when they are full. These minibuses don’t usually leave from the main bus terminal and have alternate departure points throughout the city. They make regular stops to pick and drop passengers along the way.

Traveling from Cusco to Uyuni

One of the most frequent questions we get this time of the year is how do I travel from Cusco to Uyuni? Being two of the most popular tourist destinations in the region that are located relatively close to each another, it is amazing that there is no bus or train that offers a direct trip. But not all is lost. You can travel from Cusco to Uyuni by land affordably and comfortably. This is how:

 

machu-picchu
Machu Picchu

How do I get from Cusco to Uyuni?

The first step to get from Cusco to Uyuni by bus is reaching La Paz. There are many options for making this trip by bus. Sadly, there are no trains that covers this route. Tickets Bolivia works with Trans Salvador, Tour Peru and NC Internacional, dependable and quality bus companies. These are their schedules and reference prices (prices may vary according to the season):

Company Bus class Route Time of departure and arrival Prices in US Dollars
Trans Salvador Cama, tres filas Stops in Puno, migration in Desaguadero 22:00/13:00 33.58 US$
Trans Salvador Cama, 4 filas Stops in Puno, migration in Desaguadero 22:00/13:00 29.20 US$
Tour Peru Semi cama Stops in Puno, migration in Desaguadero 22:00/15:00 27.74 US$
NC Internacional Cama Stops in Puno, migration in Desaguadero 22:30/14:30 36.50 US$

The buses depart from the Cusco Bus Termial, located at the following address:

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

la-paz-teleferico

From La Paz to Uyuni by bus:

There are many bus companies that offer direct services to travel from La Paz to Uyuni. Tickets Bolivia works with Panasur, Cruz del Norte and Trans Omar. Their schedules are as follows:

Trans Omar has a semi lie -flat bus (seats recline 160 degrees) that leaves from La Paz to Uyuni every day at 20:00, arriving in Uyuni at 06:00 the next day. The service does not include meals, but the bus stops along the road so passengers can buy food and drink. Trans Omar also has a lie-flat bus (seats recline to 170 degrees) departing at the same time every day and arriving in Uyuni at 7:00 the next day.

Cruz del Norte has a Lie-Flat Bus. It departs 20.30 and arrives 06.30 the next day. The bus stops in Oruro.

Panasur has a bus from La Paz to Uyuni (lie-flat) that departs at 20:00 and arrives in Uyuni at 6:00 the next day. All buses depart from the bus terminal of La Paz, located at the following address: https://ticketsbolivia.com.bo/googlemaps/terminal_la_paz.php

The buses arrive in Uyuni at the following address: https://ticketsbolivia.com.bo/googlemaps/terminal_uyuni.php

uyuni

From Oruro to Uyuni by Train:

What is it about trains? 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 train traveling through the Bolivian altiplano, in an of itself an unforgettable experience. 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 hours and you arrive in Oruro at the Bus terminal located at the following address: https://ticketsbolivia.com.bo/googlemaps/terminal_oruro.php

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.

With all this info there is no reason to miss Uyuni if you are traveling to Cuzco and making the most of your trip. If you want to buy tickets online just click here: www.ticketsbolivia.com.bo

Have a nice trip!

Calama to Uyuni, there and back

Calama is a city on the shores of Loa river, in the region of Antofagasta, Chile. At an altitude of 2,260 m above sea level, the city has several tourist attractions. Calama is one of the driest cities in the world with average annual precipitation of just 5 mm (0.20 in). The Loa River is Chile’s longest, and flows through the city.  Tourists who want to visit the Uyuni Salt Flat from Chile usually come from Calama due to the short distance that separates these cities and the frequency of departures between the cities.

Calama to Uyuni by bus
Road to Calama

Uyuni, on the other hand, is Bolivia´s main tourist destination. It is the largest salt desert in the world and boasts an out of this world landscape that defies the senses. Visitors are not only awed by the salt flat itself, an endless desert of salt that was featured in the last Star Wars film as the planet Crait, but it also has surrounding attractions such as the red and green lagoons and the train cemetery.

If you want to travel from Calama to Uyuni or viceversa, read on.

Uyuni Salt Flats during the rainy season
Uyuni Salt Flat during the rainy season

From Calama to Uyuni

In order to travel from Calama to Uyuni, you have to go to the Bus Terminal of Calama, located on Granaderos Av., #3051. Before boarding the bus, you must pay a small fee called Uso de Terminal for the terminal´s maintenance. The distance between Calama and Uyuni is 425 km and the trip takes 11 hours. The bus company Cruz del Norte has semi lie-flat buses that leave every day at 5:30 am and arrive in Uyuni at 15:00.

The buses cross the border through Pisiga-Colchane, where passengers can clear customs and migration. You arrive in Uyuni at the bus terminal located on Arce Av.

If you want to book your tickets now, or to just explore the costs and payment options, just follow this link: calama to uyuni

calama, chile
Calama, Chile

From Uyuni to Calama

For the return trip, from Uyuni to Calama, we have normal and semi lie-flat buses that leave from the Bus Terminal in Uyuni, located on Arce Av. The bus company Expreso 11 de Julio has buses that leave at 04:00 am and arrive in Calama at 15:00  in the afternoon. Their seats are normal, meaning they recline to 120 degrees.

The bus company Cruz del Norte leaves at 5:30 from the same bus terminal and arrives in Calama at 16:00 in the afternoon. Their buses are semi lie-flat, with seats that recline to 140 degrees.

Salar-con-agua-Dic-05-252_redim
Uyuni, Bolivia

To book your tickets online for this route, and to see costs and other details, you can just click on this link: uyuni to calama

From Uyuni to Cusco by land

Whether you travel by land or by plane, the trip from Uyuni to Cusco must be divided in at least two segments, or three, depending on your plans and preferences. You will need to travel from Uyuni to La Paz, either directly or with a stop in Oruro, and from there you can take a direct bus or flight to Cusco. Keep on reading to find out all you need to know.

View of La Paz from mirado Killi Killi
La Paz, Bolivia

The fastest option

There aren’t direct flights between Uyuni and Cusco but the fastest way to get there would still be flying with one stop and change of plane in La Paz. Amaszonas, a Bolivian airline, has direct flights from Cusco to La Paz and then from La Paz to Uyuni. This journey would take the whole day and costs about 200-260 us$ depending on the time of year but it is the fastest way.

Stop in La Paz

Uyuni to La Paz

The distance between Uyuni and La Paz is 731 km. La Paz is located at 3,600 meters above sea level and a necessary . You can travel from Uyuni to La Paz either by direct bus, or by a combination of train and bus. All buses headed for La Paz leave Uyuni at night, from the bus stop located on Cabrera Street, on the corner of Arce Av. The trip takes around 9 hours. In La Paz, the buses arrive at the main bus terminal, located on Uruguay Street on the corner of Peru Av.

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 20:30/6:00 (+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) $27.74
27913035_10156017941187086_2011040220163829429_o
Uyuni Salt Flat

To go by train and bus, you have to 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, which leaves on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and Wara Wara del Sur, which leaves on Mondays and Thursdays. The trains offer Salon class and Executive class services, where Executive class is more expensive and has more comfortable seats, and amenities such as blankets and snack on board. All passengers have access to the dining car on the train.

The train leaves Uyuni from the station located arrives at the train station on Ferroviaria Av. on the corner of Arce Av. They arrive in Oruro at the train station located on Velasco Galvarro St. From there you can take a taxi to the bus station in Oruro in order to take a bus to La Paz. Buses leave every half an hour and the trip takes around four hours.

machu-picchu
Machu Picchu, Peru

La Paz to Cusco

The journey takes about 12 hours, covering a distance of 640 km. In order to travel from La Paz to Cusco by bus you have two alternatives: you can go through the Bolivia-Peru border in Desaguadero, or you can go though Copacabana, crossing the border in Kasani. Desaguadero is a more direct route, while Copacabana is the more scenic route, taking your to the shores of Lake Titicaca.

puno_lapaz_jul10-771
Lake Titicaca, Bolivia

Direct buses from La Paz to Cusco  

Bus company Seat class Time of departure  Time of arrival  Price in US$ Extra info
Nuevo Continente Internacional Lie flat 7:30 21:30 $21.90 Direct service. Migration in Desaguadero
Trans Titicaca Normal bus 16:00 6:00 (+1 day) $27.94 Direct service. Migration in Desaguadero
Trans Salvador Lie flat 3 rows 16:30 5:00 (+1 day) $24.09 Direct service. Migration in Desaguadero
Tour Peru Lie flat 16:30 5:30 (+1 day) $27.74 Direct service. Migration in Desaguadero

Trip with multiple stops

Tips

You should know that in Bolivia, lie-flat buses have seats that recline to 160-170 degrees, not 180. Semi lie-flat buses recline to between 150 and 160 degrees, depending on the bus. This is important to keep in mind in order to keep your expectations realistic. The services on board don’t usually include foods or drinks on board, so you should make sure you take something to drink, blankets and more food on board, just to make sure your trip will be comfortable.

We hope you found all the information useful, don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. Have a nice trip!

Tips for traveling from Villazon to Uyuni

Updated: 1 August 2019

Please note that the route in train between Villazon and Tupiza is functioning again since 28 July 2019.

The trip from Villazon to Uyuni is one of the favorites of tourists coming from Argentina in the months of December and January, a must for those who want to reach Uyuni by bus or train. Villazon is a border town with a population of 30,000, located at 3,400 meters above sea level. It is a few miles from the Argentinian town of La Quiaca, which has a population of 18,000. The climate is warm in the day and chilly at night. Here are  5 tips for making your trip from Villazon to Uyuni perfect and decide the best way to get to Uyuni. 

Salar-con-agua-Dic-05-252_redim
Salar de Uyuni

1. Take your time crossing the border

The border crossing between La Quiaca and Villazon is open 24 hours. Nevertheless, the attention at their offices for migration paperwork (sealing of travel documents, tourist visas, etc.) are open between 7:00 am and midnight (12:00). It is important that travelers take into account this schedule in order to enter Bolivia legally. Another thing to keep in mind is that, during high season (December-January) the amount of people crossing the borders is enormous, causing lines up to 6 hours long at the migration offices. This, especially in the days close to Christmas and new Years. 

puente_villazon_la_quiaca
Border La Quiaca-Villazon

2. Train to Uyuni

estación

There are pros and cons with each option, but in general trains are the preferred form of transportation by tourists due to its comfort . In order to travel by train, the options are 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 Thrursdays at 15:30 The train makes a stop in Tupiza.

The train station in Villazon is located here:

fca- villazon

Due to floods and heavy rains, the route between Villazon and Tupiza has been under repair for over 1.5 years. For travelers who want to take the train from Tupiza, they can easily find a public bus, shared taxi from the ex-terminal in Villazon. Taxis and buses leave when they are full which is about every 30 minutes-1 hour. It is an informal way of transportation. More regular buses leave from the main bus terminal in Villazon. The route between Villazon and Tupiza lasts about 1.5 hours.

Trains depart Tupiza as follows:

  • Expreso del Sur: Wednesdays and Saturdays at 18:25. The train makes a stop in Atocha.
  • Wara Wara del Sur: Mondays and Thursdays at 19:05. The train makes a stop in Atocha.

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3. Villazon to Uyuni by bus

Buses leave from the new bus terminal of Villazon located here.

Bus schedule from Villazon to Uyuni

Bus Company Seat class Time of departure Time of arrival Price Additional information
Auto Transporte Tupiza Semi lie-flat 08:00 15:00 US$ 7.30 Goes via Tupiza
Exp. 11 de Julio Normal 16:00 23:00 US$ 7.30 Goes via Tupiza
Auto Transporte Tupiza Semi lie-flat 16:00 23:00 US$ 7.30 Goes via Tupiza

4. Take into account the climate and altitude

Both Uyuni and Villazon are located at altitudes above 3,000 meters above sea level. This generates conditions that travelers should take into account in order to enjoy their trip without health problems. In order to assuage the effects of altitude in the body, fr example, you should not engage n heavy physical activity, drink too much liquids nor eat heavy meals, especially at night. A cup of coca-leaf tea can do much to improve the symptoms, which can include dizziness, shortness of breath and headaches.  

Also keep in mind that the climate conditions can be very similar to those in deserts: very hot in the day, and cold at night. It´s important to have warm clothes for the evenings, and light ones for the daytime. Also, due to the altitude and landscape of Uyuni, it is very important to have sunblock and sunglasses in order to avoid damage from the sun´s radiation. 

Tupiza, Bolivia
Cañón del Duende, Tupiza – Jan Beck via Wikimedia Commons

5. Don’t miss out on the surroundings!  

If you have time, make a stop in Tupiza, made famous by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. This small town doesn’t lack charm and is a particularly good spot for those who enjoy hikes in wild, but safe, environment.

From Tupiza it is also possible to do a 4-day tour of the Salt Flats, which is a less touristic route and has the added advantage to stop at the sites at different times than the other tours coming from Uyuni or San Pedro. Tours from Tupiza are slightly more expensive, due to the extra day but are a good option for those coming this way and heading to Uyuni.

Not far from Villazon and Uyuni are the colonial cities of Sucre and Potosi, very popular tourist destinations that stand out for their beautiful architecture, rich historical interest and warm inviting climate. Both cities have been declared Patrimony of Humanity by UNESCO. On the other hand, at only 10 hours from Uyuni is the city of La Paz, one of the 7 Wonder cities of the world due to its unusual topography, great night-life and cultural heritage. If you’re traveling between Villazon and Uyuni, don’t miss out on these destinations.

Five tips for traveling in Bolivia by bus

Updated on 11/01/2019

Traveling through Bolivia by bus, or flota, as it is called, is one of the best ways of getting around on a budget. Buses cover most of Bolivia’s destinations and the most popular routes have daily departures at different times. Of course, land travel in Bolivia is not without complications, but often the getting-there is as stunning and beautiful as the destination. Here are TicketsBolivia’s five tips for getting around this amazing country safely, relaxed and on a budget.

paisaje altiplano
Bolivian Altiplano www.panoramio.com

1.Be prepared

  • Wear layers

Being prepared is important in order to enjoy traveling by bus. For example, know that if you will be traveling at night, especially through the highlands (La Paz, Oruro, Potosi, Uyuni, and even to or from Cochabamba and Sucre) it can get very cold at night, and even if buses claim to have air conditioning, they sometimes don’t. Or it isn’t working. So, be sure to have blankets and/or warm clothes handy to put them on if you need them. Don’t leave your warm clothes in luggage that will be put in the storage area! Keep them on hand. Likewise, if traveling by day through low-lands it may get really hot and stuffy. Make sure you can take off some layers in order to be more comfortable.

  • Bring snacks

Also, be sure to always have water and some food when you travel. Snacks are usually not included with the bus ticket, so most buses stop at least once so passengers can go to the bathroom and buy a snack, or have lunch or dinner in small towns along the highway. But there are many circumstances that could affect the length of your trip, for example road blocks or the bus breaking down. Mostly these issues are resolved within a few hours, but it is always best to be prepared.

sucre life
http://www.sucrelife.com

2. Know what to expect

  • Random stops

You must understand that bus companies and drivers are trying to make the most profit from each trip. And that there are many people who live in villages or small towns along the highway and need to travel. So don’t be alarmed if the buses stop once in a while to pick up passengers off the road, even if there is no space on the bus. People are used to sitting on the floor, or stairways. I’ts cultural, and it responds to a social and economic reality, and it won’t change in the near future. Also, there are people who get on the bus at every opportunity in order to sell food, drink, candy, and miracle remedies. 

  • Rainy season

Unfortunately, when traveling in Bolivia and Peru, there a different types of problems that can occur causing a delay or cancellation of your trip. The rainy season, between November and February/March can cause landslides, flooding and other complications on some routes. Accidents are rare but to avoid them companies and transit authorities will cancel departures and there is not much that can be done other than waiting for the conditions to improve or taking a different, longer route. This is why, if you are traveling in Bolivia/Peru/Chile/Argentina during the rainy season be aware that this could happen and plan sufficient time to get to your destination, especially if you have a flight to take. Please note that during the rainy seasons it is common for flights to be cancelled too, so wherever your destination, don’t book close connections.

  • Roadblocks

Bolivia and Peru have a strong culture of protests and strikes. Long strikes (24 hours and longer) are usually announced but sometimes small communities will block major roads for a certain number of hours and without warning. Sometimes there is no alternative road and no other solution than to wait for the roadblock to lift. Some other times it is possible to cross the blockade by foot and take another method of transportation but these situations vary a lot and the bus company will do what they can to help you get to your destination.

  • Be patient

It is also not unheard of that buses may wait up to an hour past their scheduled departure time for the bus to fill with passengers. This is especially the case for informal bus companies who do regional routes (La Paz-Copacabana for example). If this will upset you, ask before you buy or go to the bus terminal where formal companies operate with fixed schedules. Approximate journey times and frequencies can be consulted at the counter of the bus companies, and also in websites like that of Tickets Bolivia, but be aware that these can change according to demand. Also if departure time is more rigid, arrival times are usually more approximate and bus can arrive earlier or later than planned. Never plan a connection with less than 2 hours between the trips 

terminal de buses de La Paz
Bus terminal of La Paz

3. Know where you’re sitting

  • Types of seats

There are three types of buses in Bolivia: Lie-flat (cama), semi-lie-flat (semi cama) and normal. Buses with lie-flat seats are the most comfortable, and are usually only available for long trips, more than three hours long. The seats recline between 160 and 170 degrees, depending on the bus. We definitely recommend these for long trips. Semi-lie-flat buses have seats that recline between 120 and 130 degrees, and are great on trips that cover shorter distances. Normal buses have seats that recline no more than 110 degrees, and are okay for traveling short distances on a budget. VIP buses with personalized TVs, WiFi, USB plugs and food are not very common in Bolivia yet, unlike its neighboring countries. Only a few bus companies have these types of buses.

  • Where to seat in the bus

When selecting a seat, know the pros and cons of each. Seats in the back of the bus may be warmer, good if you-re traveling along the highlands, but the trip may be bumpy, because you’re practically sitting on the back tires. Seats in the front of the bus may yield a smoother ride, but may be colder. Also, if you select window seats, there is a chance a draft may slip through, so make sure you have warm clothes.

At the moment few bus companies have online systems that allow to select a seat at the moment of the purchase. This means that when you book a bus ticket online, you can’t select a specific seat on most routes. When buying your tickets through TicketsBolivia, you can write to us after the booking and let us know your seating preference. If possible the bus company will do everything possible to accommodate each passenger.

bus cama

4. Be safe 

All arrival and departure times shown on our website correspond to local times. Whenever your bus leaves the terminal or arrives at night, between 11:00 pm and 6:00 am, be cautious. Do not take a taxi that does not have the proper registration and identification. Here is some information on how to recognize and avoid common scams in Peru and Bolivia.

Usually, the terminals have taxi companies that work with them and are certified. Sometimes, when your bus arrives very early, like 3:00 am, you have the option of staying on the bus until a safer time to leave, like 6:00 am. If you have any doubts about the location of the bus terminal you are leaving from or arriving at, you will find the complete list of terminals and maps on this link: https://ticketsbolivia.com/travel-board.php

Bolivia is a generally safe country where the same logic and common sense applies as anywhere else in the world.

5. Enjoy!

Look out the window, listen to some music, eat some snacks you wouldn’t otherwise, take the time to finally read that book or listen to that podcast and don’t be rushed to arrive at your next destination.

Have a nice trip!