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.
Uyuni Salt Flat, Bolivia
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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