Updated January 2020
The trip from Uyuni to Cusco by bus 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.
The fastest option from Uyuni to Cusco
There aren’t direct buses between Uyuni and Cusco. The fastest way to get there would be flying with one 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. If you are looking for a more affordable alternative, the best way is to take a bus from Cusco to La Paz (direct or via Lake Titicaca) and then another bus from La Paz to Uyuni.
Since buses from Uyuni to La Paz arrive around 6am and buses from La Paz to Cusco leave in the afternoon at about 16:30, it it possible to do this journey without spending the night in La Paz. You can visit La Paz during that time. Also, you can leave bags at the La Paz bus terminal or at the counter of the bus company. However, it means taking two night buses in a row which is tiring.
Stop in La Paz
Uyuni to La Paz by bus
The distance between Uyuni and La Paz is 731 km. La Paz is located at 3,600 meters above sea level. You can travel from Uyuni to La Paz either by direct bus, or by a combination of train and bus. Check our post on Uyuni to La Paz by bus. All buses headed for La Paz leave Uyuni at night, from the bus stop located on Calle Cabrera, on the corner of Avenida Arce. The trip takes about 9 hours. Once you arrive in La Paz, the buses arrive at the main bus terminal, located on Uruguay Street on the corner of Avenida Peru.
|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)||$27.74|
Uyuni to La Paz by bus and train
To go by train and bus, first, you have to take the train from Uyuni to Oruro and then continue by bus to La Paz. The train companies offering this service are: Expreso del Sur, which leaves on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and Wara Wara del Sur, which leaves on Mondays and Thursdays. The trains offer Salon class and Executive class services, where Executive class is more expensive and has more comfortable seats, and amenities such as blankets and snack on board. All passengers have access to the dining car on the train.
The train leaves Uyuni from the station located arrives at the train station on Ferroviaria Av. on the corner of Arce Av. They arrive in Oruro at the train station located on Velasco Galvarro St.
From there you can take a taxi to the bus station in Oruro in order to take a bus to La Paz. Then, buses leave every half an hour and the trip takes around four hours.
La Paz to Cusco by bus
For the second leg of your trip from Uyuni to Cusco by bus you will have to take a night bus. The journey from La Paz to Cusco takes about 12 hours, covering a distance of 640 km. In order to travel from La Paz to Cusco by bus you have two alternatives: you can go through the Bolivia-Peru border in Desaguadero, or you can go though Copacabana, crossing the border in Kasani. Desaguadero is a more direct route, while Copacabana is the more scenic route, taking your to the shores of Lake Titicaca.
|Bus company||Seat class||Time of departure||Time of arrival||Price in US$||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|
Tips to travel from Uyuni to Cusco by bus
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.