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):

Cusco to La Paz Bus schedule and prices

Bus companySeat classTime of departureTime of arrival (estimated)Price in US$Extra info
Trans SalvadorLie-flat 3 rows22:0013:00 (+1 day)$24.09Migration in Desaguadero
Tour PeruSemi-lie flat22:0015:00 (+1 day)$29.00Migration in Desaguadero
NCILie flat22:3014:00 (+1 day)$26.28Migration 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.

Where is the bus station in Cusco?

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:

CompanyBus classRouteTime of departure and arrivalPrices in US Dollars
Trans OmarSemi lie-flat/Lie-flat 3 rowsDirect service20:00/6:00 (+1 day($14.60/21.90
PanasurLie-flatDirect service20:00/6:00 (+1 day)$14.60/21.90
Cruz del NorteSemi lie-flat/Lie-flatDirect service20:30/6:30 (+1 day)$14.60/21.90
Trans TiticacaLie flatDirect service22:00/7:00 (+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

Where is the bus terminal in Uyuni?

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:

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!

2 thoughts

  1. Hi,

    thanks for the detailed information.
    I am planning to go to Uyuni from Cuzco in December. As I don’t have a definite date is it ok to book bus tickets on the spot? Do you believe i will have problems finding a seat etc. or i have to prebook ?

    thanks

    1. Hi! Well, December is really high season. It really makes sense from December to mid-February to book ahead of time, especially for such touristy destinations such as Uyuni and Cusco, and if you are on some kind of schedule. Even if you do book ahead of time and then your plans change, we are in the position to change dates and even routes of your tickets, as long as the request comes with at least two workdays anticipation. So you can be safe and still maintain some flexibility. Cheers!

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