Route: Uyuni – La Paz
Company: Panasur (???)
Cost: 100 Bolivianos ($15 US)
18:00 – 06:00 (12 hours)
We bought our ticket after getting back from the tour of the Uyuni Salt Flats at around 4pm. Some people say you should buy the tickets in advance but we didn’t have any trouble. Most of the bus offices are located around the intersection of Av. Cabrera and Av. Arce. Be careful of the buses that are really, really cheap – they probably won’t have windows. Whichever one you choose, be sure to wrap up warm!
The bus from Uyuni to La Paz can either be extremely unpleasant or your best bus experience in Bolivia – apparently. I wouldn’t know about the good experience, although those willing to spend $25 US on the ‘todo turismo’ bus (which leaves at 8pm and arrives at around 6am) get food, films, wifi, and butlers massaging their feet with baby alpacas.
We took the cheap bus. What it lacked in on-board service it made up for in bone-clattering excitement. For most of the journey (from Uyuni to Oruro) the road is unpaved, but not unpaved in the sense of flat dirt; rather unpaved in the way that the moon is unpaved, or the stretch between the trenches in the First World War was paved. The constant bumping acts as a kind of shivering-machine, negating the need for you to put in the effort of shivering yourself. It also prevents you from sleeping, which means that there’s little chance of you dying from hypothermia.
We got on the bus in the evening, around 6pm, and arrived in La Paz 12 hours later. There’s a stop in Oruro. From there you can take a train to La Paz. It’s probably much more pleasant than the train we took from Villazon to Uyuni.
I can’t for the life of me remember what company we went with. It was a coach with just one floor, not-very-reclining seats, and windows that threatened to fall out. It was probably Panasur, but could have been any of the following:
Trans Belgrano – departs at 16:30
Panamericana – departs at 17:00 from their office
Panasur – departs at 18:00 from their office (Cabrera and Arce) $15 US semi-cama
Trans Omar – departs at 19:00 from their office (Cabrera and Arce)