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

Updated 21/11/18

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

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Uyuni Salt Flat, Bolivia

From Peru

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

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

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

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View of La Paz, Bolivia

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

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

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

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

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Laguna Colorada, Uyuni. (Daniel Kordan)

From Chile

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

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

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

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

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

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

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From Argentina

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

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

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

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

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

From Antofagasta to La Paz by land; all you need to know

Antofagasta is a port city, the second largest city in Chile. With a thriving mining industry and an important shopping culture, this city offers tourists modern infrastructure and striking seashore vistas. Trips between Antofagasta and La Paz are often made by people on business, but also by tourists exploring the north of Chile, on their way to Santiago de Atacama and Uyuni,in Bolivia. Read on to find out all you need to know in order to make this trip by land.

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Antofagasta, Chile

Antofagasta is located at 884 KM from the Bolivian city of Oruro, and the trip to La Paz by bus takes around 24 hours, including a few hours in Oruro, where you will change buses and bus companies. The buses leave from the Bus Terminal of Antofagasta, located on Paraguay Av. #846. The bus trip takes travelers across the desert of north Chile and the Bolivian Altiplano, guarded by the Andes Mountain Range, where temperatures can reach below zero in winter.  The buses that make this trip are semicama, which means the seats recline to 140 degrees. Please see the tables below to check out the different options regarding bus companies and schedules.

Antofagasta to La Paz:

Antofagasta a La Paz

La Paz to Antofagasta:

la paz a antofagasta

The buses arrive in Oruro at the Bus Terminal, located on Gregorio Reynolds Street. In La Paz, the buses arrive at the Bus Terminal of La Paz, located between Peru and Uruguay Av. See the map below:

terminal de buses de La Paz

La Paz is the most important city of the Andes, a thriving metropolis that has been gaining a reputation among tourists for its outrageous landscapes and buzzing activity. One of its main attractions is the Cable Car ride, or Teleferico, which in La Paz is a form of public transportation that takes you floating across the city from end to end. If you want the convenience of buying tickets online, go to www.ticketsbolivia.com

La Paz teleferico
Cable cars in La Paz, Bolivia

We hope you have a nice trip!

 

Top 4 reasons to travel Bolivia by bus

As air travel is expensive for most bolivians, and trains do not reach most destinations, bus travel is essential for the transportation of passengers and products in this country. In fact, bus travel is the most common form of public transportation in Bolivia and in South America, both for short-distance and long-distance travel.

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Bolivian Altiplano www.panoramio.com

South America is a region of contrasts, and road conditions, too, vary between countries and regions, and even within a country. In Bolivia there are roads that are paved and in good condition, and others that, due to the landscapes they cross, are subject to landslides or flooding, and are more difficult to maintain, especially during rain season (december-february).  

Just as road conditions vary, so does the quality of bus services, depending on the destination to which you are traveling. The more popular destinations tend to have better buses; more remote or less “touristy” destinations may not have very good quality buses to take you there.

All things considered, traveling by bus is one of the most affordable ways to get around Bolivia, and it offers the view of landscapes and cultural experience that you would otherwise miss. So here are Tickets Bolivia`s top 4 reasons for traveling through Bolivia by bus

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  1. The environment:

Did you know that buses have the smallest carbon footprint of all transportation services? Its true. Cars, trains and planes are all more costly to the environment than buses. One bus can replace 3 cars and spends 60% less energy per passenger mile than trains. In recent years, Bolivia has experienced amodernization of its transportation services, so the buses offered by transportation companies are more and more energy-efficient and environmentaly friendly.

2. Cost-effective.

Traveling by bus is the cheapest way to get around South America in general, but this is even more so in Bolivia, where bus tickets are way cheaper than in countries like Argentina, Chile and Peru. Although bus companies raise their prices during high season, and prices can even sometimes change from one day to another according to demmand, the prices of tickets are consistently cheaper than in neighboring countries. For example, bus tickets from Uyuni (one of the hottest tourist destinations in Bolivia) to Potosi can cost around 5 dollars in a good-quality bus. So, traveling bolivia by bus helps you save chash you can spend on something else.

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The Old road to Los Yungas, La Paz, Bolivia

3. Scenic.

Pretty simple: If you travel by bus you will see landscapes you would miss if you traveled by plane. The incredible mountains of purple and green and pink stone on the way from La Paz to Uyuni, the Bolivian Altiplano flatlands with faraway snowcapped mountains, the valleys of Sucre, the tropical jungle you cross on the way from Cochabamba to Santa Cruz, the tropical mountain forests of the Los Yungas regions. Traveling by bus is the only way to take in many of these sights.

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Aguas Calientes, Roboré. Santa Cruz, Bolivia

4. Accessibility.

So you want to get off the beaten path? Are you interested in going places that most tourist haven´t even heard of? Then going there by bus may very well be your only choice. Air travel in Bolivia is pretty limited, and trains only reach very few destinations. But if there is a road, there is a bus. So plan your bus travels and go where (not many) have gone before!

Top 4 reasons to book bus and train tickets online

Tourists of the world are quickly turning towards booking everything online, from plane tickets, to hotels, to tours. In Latin America, the options for booking bus and train tickets online are not yet widely available, but buying online has many advantages, even when it is not the most common alternative. Why buy online? Here are our three top reasons.
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  1. Time.

No matter why you travel, or for how long, most travelers visiting South America are not only on a budget, they’re on a schedule. You have precious days at each destination, and every moment counts. Booking online helps you plan your trip for more time-efficiency. You don’t want to spend the little time you have in a city going to the Bus Terminal the day before you plan to travel, finding out if there are tickets available, buying the tickets (if they are available) and then going there again the next day to take your bus. When you buy online, you are guaranteed a seat on the bus, and you arrive exactly 30 minutes before, check your luggage and are set to go. No extra time. Plus, you can book your tickets online at your convenience, off business hours. Studies show most people have more time to shop and do research online off business hours, late at night, early in the morning. When you book online you access a 24 hour service.

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2. Cost.

Yes, it´s true. When you buy online you pay a fee. But if you’re planning to travel in high season months (July-August, November-January) and you book online, you avoid the price hikes that are common to all bus and train companies and can reach up to 50% or more. So buying online can end up saving you money, even after the fee, which is around 20% of the cost of the ticket. Plus, you get to pick your seats before anyone else. For example, when you buy through Tickets Bolivia, you have the option of writing us an email with your seat preferences, and these will be made known to the bus or train company in order to be able to accommodate you.

      3. Flexibility.

So you are an adventurer. You want to keep the planning to a minimum so you can arrange your itinerary as you go along. No problem. Buying online through a company like Tickets Bolivia allows you all the advantages of booking online, with the flexibility you need. Once your ticket is booked, you can change the date of your trip, the time of departure and even the route, though we do ask you to ask for these changes with at least 48 hours so we can accommodate you.

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     4. Safety.

When you travel, you worry about safety. Buying online is safe in many ways. First, when you do it through a company like Tickets Bolivia, that works with recognized payment companies such as PayPal, you are ensured the safety of your transaction. You also avoid handling large sums of cash at the bus terminals, which everyone knows are places where one should always be careful. Finally, when you buy online there is a company that has your data and is aware of your travel plans. If there should be an incident such as road blockades, or if there is a problem with the bus company, Tickets Bolivia will get in touch with you to explain the situation and work with you to find a solution. We got your back.

Go! www.ticketsbolivia.com