A complete guide to train travel in Bolivia

There are two train companies in Bolivia. Ferroviaria Andina and Ferroviaria Oriental. They only operate on a few routes in the country but provide a convenient alternative to buses on these routes. Villazon to Uyuni and Oruro to Uyuni by train are particularly popular routes In Bolivia. On the eastern part of the country, Ferroviaria Oriental covers Santa Cruz – Puerto Quijarro (border with Brazil) and Santa Cruz – Yacuiba (border with Argentina).

Find here all the train terminals in Bolivia and Peru.


Ferroviaria Andina

Ferroviaria Andina railroads in Bolivia

Villazon to Uyuni by train

The city of Villazon is located on the border of Bolivia and Argentina. It is a commercial town, very busy with economic activity.

There are two types of trains

  • Wara Wara del Sur
  • Expreso del Sur

Please note that the Expreso del Sur train only has a Ferrobus class available at the moment. The business class is no longer available.

You can take the train from Villazon to Uyuni, there are four departures per week and the journey takes between 8 and 10 hours.

TrainDays and time of departureArrival timePrice (in bolivianos)
Expreso del Sur – FerrobusWednesday and Saturday – 15:3023:5072 (normal)
Wara Wara del SurMonday and Thursday – 15:3001:15 (+1)38 (popular)
56 (normal)
118 (executive)
Train schedule Villazon – Uyuni

Villazon to Tupiza by train

If you have time you can break your journey from Villazon to Uyuni by stopping in Tupiza. The train stops in Atocha and Tupiza but Tupiza is charming small town known for its warm climate, beautiful landscapes with spectacular rock formations such as the cañón del Inca. The train takes about 3 hours covering a distance of 91 km.

To travel from Villazon to Tupiza by train you must go to the train station located on Avenida Antofagasta. The Tupiza train station is located on Avenida Serrano and Calle Avaroa.

If you don’t want to take the train from Villazon to Tupiza, you can take a bus or a colectivo. Colectivos (shared taxis) leave every 30 minutes from the old bus terminal in Villazon.

Tupiza to Uyuni by train

The trips from Tupiza to Uyuni by train take around 6 hours crossing a distance of 207 km.

And back: Uyuni to Villazon by train  

The train station in Uyuni is located there:

For your return trip, schedules and prices from Uyuni are the following:

TrainDays and time of departureArrival timePrice (in bolivianos)
Expreso del Sur – FerrobusTuesday and Friday – 21:4006:05 (+1)72 (normal)
Wara Wara del SurMonday and Thursday – 02:5012:05 (+1)38 (popular)
56 (normal)
118 (executive)
Train schedule – Uyuni – Villazon

Ferroviaria Oriental

Ferroviaria Oriental railroad in Bolivia

Santa Cruz to Puerto Quijarro by train

The train between Santa Cruz and Puerto Quijarro is sometimes called the ‘Death Train’. You can read here more about that particular route and origin of the name.

TrainDays and time of departure Arrival TimePrice (in bolivianos
Expreso Oriental – Super PullmanMonday, Wesdnesday, Friday – 13:2006:00 (+1)100
Ferrobus – Lie-flatTuesday, Thursday, Sunday – 18:0007:00 (+1)235
Schedule and prices from Santa Cruz to Puerto Quijarro

The train from Santa Cruz to Puerto Quijarro stops in San Jose de Chiquitos, Robore, Rivero Torrez and arrives in Puerto Quijerro at around 6:00 in the morning. The trip lasts between 13 and 16 hours depending on the train.

San Jose de Chiquitos

San Jose de Chiquitos, most commonly referred to as simply San Jose, is famous for being part of the Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos. The Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos are part of six of these former missions which were all designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990. The International Festival of American Renaissance and Baroque Music takes place once every two years in over 20 Jesuit Mission towns of the Amazon jungle regions around Santa Cruz de la Sierra.

The next festival will take place from April 24 to May 3, 2020. the festival features over 1,000 musicians from Europe and Latin America in 100 concerts.

Border with Brazil

The train will stop in Puerto Quijarro a few kilometers from the border with Brasil. The Brazilian town on the other side of the border is Corumba.

Puerto Quijarro train station to Corumba

To cross the border you will have to go to the border control post on the Bolivian side to leave the country and then cross over the border and repeat the process to enter Brazil. Make sure that you get your passport stamped on both sides.

Santa Cruz – Yacuiba by train

Yacuiba is a Bolivian town near the border with Argentina. To cross the border you will have to first go to the border control post on the Bolivian side to leave the country and then cross over the border to the Argentinian town of Salvador Mazza and repeat the process to enter Argentina.

The train takes about 16 hours and stops in Charagua, Boyuibe and Villamontes.

RouteTrainDays and time of departure Arrival time Price (in bolivianos
Santa Cruz – YacuibaMixto Thursday – 15:3008:05 (+1)47
Yacuiba – Santa CruzMixto Friday – 18:0009:55 (+1)47
Schedule and prices between Santa Cruz to Yacuiba

Take the train to Tiwanaku and Guaqui on Lake Titicaca

The central train station in La Paz has become a monument to the distant memory of train travel. This experience today feels lost for the people who live in the city. However, few people know that the Andean Railway Company (FCA) offers a tourist trip by train to the towns of Tiwanaku and Guaqui on the second Sunday of each month. Transportation is roundtrip starting in the morning from the city of El Alto and returning the same date at night. This service allows you to visit two distinctive tourist attractions of La Paz: Tiwanaku and Lake Titicaca.

To get to the starting point of the tourist train from the city of La Paz, we recommend taking a cable car to El Alto, from there you can take a radio taxi to the stop point of the train known as the Ingavi Regiment; This particular service has a cost of around 15 Bs. You can also get to the departure point of the train by taking a public transport service from the 2nd street of La Ceja in El Alto, any minibus that goes to Santiago II and the road to Oruro takes you to the Ingavi Regiment. You will notice that you are in the right place the moment you see the train parked at the center of a paved avenue. There you will see FCA service personnel who help people board the right car with your purchased tickets.

The train has three different types of wagons: Popular at 20 Bs., Saloon at 40 Bs. And Executive at 80 Bs. The main difference between the wagons are the seats; The executive car has reclining seats. All prices only include transportation service. On the same train, passengers can board the dining car for a breakfast while they arrive at their first stop.

Train to Tiwanaku

Tiwanaku is a pre-Inca archaeological city located near Lake Titicaca. This tourist center attracts a lot of attention due to the technological level reached by the ancient Tiwanacotas considering that they lived there since 1500 a.C. coming to be formed in the spiritual and political center of the Tiwanacota empire around the year 200 AD. The maximum expression of their culture is shown in their ceramic work of precise cuts and characteristics, the various ceremonies they performed in the stone pyramids they built and the characteristic large monoliths carved from huge rocks.

You arrive in Tiwanaku about two hours after the departure of the train. There you must buy an entrance that allows you to visit two museums and two archaeological sites of this pre-Inca empire. The train stops around an hour so everyone has time to visit these places. The price for this entry is 15 Bs. for people of Bolivian nationality and 100 Bs. for foreigners.

Map of Tiwanaku, Bolivia

We recommend you visit two of these four places due to the reduced time you have and taking into account the best that Tiwanaku has to offer. First, we recommend you visit the Tiwanakota museum behind the ceramic museum. There you can find the Benet monolith, named after its discoverer, as well as learn its history. You can also see other smaller monoliths. After that, we recommend a visit to the archaeological site across the street where you can see the great pyramid of Akapana, the Semi-subterranean Templete and the Temple of Kalasasaya with the famous Puerta del Sol, as well as other ceremonial spaces.

Train to Guaqui

Lake Titicaca

The trip to Guaqui lasts an hour departing from Tiwanaku. Guaqui is a port town from where the multipurpose catamaran ship of the Bolivian Naval Force departs. This vessel has a capacity for 120 people and takes a walk on Lake Titicaca. The ride costs 40 Bs. Extra.

This municipality is becoming increasingly tourist thanks to this route by train. In Guaqui you can visit museums that show the history of Lake Titicaca and the customs of the Chiripa culture. You can also visit the main square and its church which are at 15 minute walk from the port.

The return takes about three and a half hours. Once in El Alto you can take the purple cable car back to La Paz.

Visit Tickets Bolivia to buy your tickets online today.

Santa Cruz to Puerto Quijarro on the Death Train

Updated January 2020

Sorry to disappoint you, but the train route between Santa Cruz and Puerto Quijarro, on the border with Brazil, is no more dangerous than any other train in Latin america. In fact, no one knows exactly why the “death train” was give its name but there are plenty of theories.

Some say it is because of the many people who died from the poor working conditions while laying out the train tracks. Others say it was named after a yellow-fever epidemic, after the sick where transported in this train to quarantine. Others have heard that when the train stops you can be bitten to death by mosquitoes.

Whatever the reason, only backpackers and bloggers use the name “death train”. Most Bolivians will give you a funny look if you brag about having survived the “death train”. And if you fear the mosquitoes, just wear long sleeves, right?

Church in San José de Chiquitos, between Santa Cruz and Puerto Quijarro

Because Santa Cruz is one of the most important cities in Bolivia, or because people love trains, or because it is one of the most comfortable and direct ways to travel from Bolivia to Brazil, the train from Santa Cruz to Puerto Quijarro is very popular. Another reason to take the train is that you can stop in San José de Chiquitos, a Jesuit Missions protected site. It famous for its colonial churches ornately carved in wood. This town is also home of one of the most important Barroque Music Festivals in the world.

If you are planning to visit in Chiquitos, buy your train tickets in two different segments, first from Santa Cruz to San José and then from San José to Puerto Quijarro.

Santa Cruz de la Sierra, thriving industrial city

Santa Cruz to Puerto Quijarro by train

Puerto Quijarro is a city with a population of 16,000 on the border with Brazil, and also an inland river port on the Tamengo Canal. It lies at 100 m above sea level and has a jungle vegetation, as it is nearby to the Pantanal region in Brazil. The city is 604 km from Santa Cruz. The length of the trip depends on the train you decide to take, as Expreso Oriental is a bit slower (and cheaper), while Ferrobus is faster and a tad more expensive.

With the Expreso Oriental

The Expreso Oriental train travels from Santa Cruz to the border with Brazil on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 14:50. The cost is Bs 70 per person and it takes 15 hours to arrive in Puerto Quijarro. You need to take the train from the bimodal terminal, located on Avenida Montero. When you arrive in Puerto Quijarro you can take a cab to the border which takes about 5 minutes and costs about as many bolivianos. The train has air conditioning, TV, toilets and a dinning carriage. (Meals are not included in the ticket).

Train Station, Puerto Quijarro

With the Ferrobus

The other train service is Ferrobus, which is a much smaller train (only two carriages in total). This train leaves from Santa Cruz on Tuesdays, Thursday and Saturdays at 18.00. It costs Bs 235 per person and takes 10 hours. This train leaves from the same station as the Expreso Oriental. Ferrobus doesn’t make as many stops. There is a waitress service, serving meals to your seat. The meals are included on this train, unlike in the Expreso Oriental. It also has air conditioning, TV and toilets.  

During high-season – the months between July and September and December through February – these trains are very popular. If you want to ensure you get a seat on the train, you can book online through www.ticketsbolivia.com.

Welcome to Puerto Quijarro

Again, from the bus terminal in Puerto Quijarro you can take a cab to the border, which opens at 7:30am. Once you clear migration on both sides of the border, you can take another cab to Corumbá, which is 10 minutes away by car, and continue your trip in Brazil.

Tips for traveling from Villazon to Uyuni by bus or train

Updated: August 2019

The trip from Villazon to Uyuni by bus or train is very popular among tourists coming from Argentina in December and January. The journey by train from Villazon to Uyuni takes about 8 hours and by bus it is about 6:30 hours.

Villazon is a border town with a population of 30,000, located at 3,400 meters above sea level. It is a few miles from the Argentinian town of La Quiaca, which has a population of 18,000. The climate is warm during the day and chilly at night. Here are some tips for planning your trip from Villazon to Uyuni by bus or train and decide the best way to get to Uyuni. 

Salar de Uyuni

1. Take your time crossing the border

The border crossing between La Quiaca and Villazon is open 24 hours. Nevertheless, the attention at their offices for migration paperwork (sealing of travel documents, tourist visas, etc.) are open between 7:00 am and midnight (12:00). It is important that travelers take into account this schedule in order to enter Bolivia legally. Another thing to keep in mind is that, during high season (December-January) the amount of people crossing the borders is enormous, causing lines up to 6 hours long at the migration offices. This, especially in the days close to Christmas and new Years. 

Border La Quiaca-Villazon

2. Train to Uyuni

There are pros and cons with each option, but in general trains are the preferred form of transportation by tourists due to its comfort . In order to travel by train, the options are 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 Thrursdays at 15:30 The train makes a stop in Tupiza.

The train station in Villazon is located here:

Due to floods and heavy rains, the route between Villazon and Tupiza has been under repair for over 1.5 years. For travelers who want to take the train from Tupiza, they can easily find a public bus, shared taxi from the ex-terminal in Villazon. Taxis and buses leave when they are full which is about every 30 minutes-1 hour. It is an informal way of transportation. More regular buses leave from the main bus terminal in Villazon. The route between Villazon and Tupiza lasts about 1.5 hours.

Trains depart Tupiza as follows:

  • Expreso del Sur: Wednesdays and Saturdays at 18:25. The train makes a stop in Atocha.
  • Wara Wara del Sur: Mondays and Thursdays at 19:05. The train makes a stop in Atocha.

3. Villazon to Uyuni by bus

Buses leave from the new bus terminal of Villazon located here.

Bus schedule from Villazon to Uyuni

Bus CompanySeat classTime of departureTime of arrivalPriceAdditional information
Auto Transporte TupizaSemi lie-flat08:0015:00US$ 7.30Goes via Tupiza
Exp. 11 de JulioNormal16:0023:00US$ 7.30Goes via Tupiza
Auto Transporte TupizaSemi lie-flat16:0023:00US$ 7.30Goes via Tupiza
Schedule and prices for buses from Villazon to Uyuni

4. Take into account the climate and altitude

Both Uyuni and Villazon are located at altitudes above 3,000 meters above sea level. This generates conditions that travelers should take into account in order to enjoy their trip without health problems. In order to assuage the effects of altitude in the body, fr example, you should not engage n heavy physical activity, drink too much liquids nor eat heavy meals, especially at night. A cup of coca-leaf tea can do much to improve the symptoms, which can include dizziness, shortness of breath and headaches.  

Also keep in mind that the climate conditions can be very similar to those in deserts: very hot in the day, and cold at night. It´s important to have warm clothes for the evenings, and light ones for the daytime. Also, due to the altitude and landscape of Uyuni, it is very important to have sunblock and sunglasses in order to avoid damage from the sun´s radiation. 

Cañón del Duende, Tupiza – Jan Beck via Wikimedia Commons

5. Don’t miss out on the surroundings!  

If you have time, make a stop in Tupiza, made famous by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. This small town doesn’t lack charm and is a particularly good spot for those who enjoy hikes in wild, but safe, environment.

From Tupiza it is also possible to do a 4-day tour of the Salt Flats, which is a less touristic route and has the added advantage to stop at the sites at different times than the other tours coming from Uyuni or San Pedro. Tours from Tupiza are slightly more expensive, due to the extra day but are a good option for those coming this way and heading to Uyuni.

Not far from Villazon and Uyuni are the colonial cities of Sucre and Potosi, very popular tourist destinations that stand out for their beautiful architecture, rich historical interest and warm inviting climate. Both cities have been declared Patrimony of Humanity by UNESCO. On the other hand, at only 10 hours from Uyuni is the city of La Paz, one of the 7 Wonder cities of the world due to its unusual topography, great night-life and cultural heritage. If you’re traveling between Villazon and Uyuni, don’t miss out on these destinations.

A quick guide to travel from Oruro to Uyuni by train

Updated August 2019

If you want to go to Uyuni and enjoy the scenery on the way, the best option is to travel to Uyuni by train. All direct buses from La Paz are night buses leaving between 8pm and 10pm. The train is also a good alternative for those who want extra comfort or want to avoid the risk of roadblocks or delays due to traffic.

Here we will present all the information you need to know in order to plan your trip from Oruro to Uyuni by train.

The option to travel by train to Uyuni is with Expreso del Sur or Wara Wara del Sur

Ferroviaria Andina was born in 1997. This company is well renowned nationally and internationally because of the comfort, high-quality services, and punctuality that they represent in Bolivia.

Ferroviaria Andina offers the trip from Oruro to Uyuni with two options: Wara Wara del Sur and Expreso del Sur. These trains have different schedules and there are two classes available: Salon and  Executive.

Wara Wara Del Sur 

The name is in Aymara and means “Southern star”. During the route the travelers will observe the landscape of the Bolivian altiplano. This train has a dinner wagon where passengers can have a meal anytime they want.

Executive class 

  • Semi-lie-flat seats
  • Heating system, TV and music room
  • Blankets and pillows
  • Individual light for reading
  • Refreshments on board
  • Personal attention
  • Bathrooms

Salon Class

  • Reclining seats
  • Heating system, selected videos and music
  • Reading light
  • Bathrooms

Expreso del Sur 

This train works in Bolivia since 1999, offering the travelers quality and comfort, with personal attention and food.  This train departs from Oruro in the afternoon, letting the passenger observe the view of the landscape of the Bolivian plateau until you reach your destination.

Executive class 

  • Comfortable seats and semi-Lie-flat seating
  • Heating and air conditioning
  • Automatic air freshener
  • Blankets and pillows
  • Individual light for reading
  • Refreshments on board
  • Staff attention
  • Bathrooms

Salon Class

  • Reclining seats
  • Heating system, selected videos and music
  • Reading light
  • Bathrooms




TrainClassRouteDepartureDistance and duration
Expreso del SurExecutive and SalonOruro to UyuniTuesday/Friday
314 kilometers
7 hours
Wara Wara del SurExecutive and SalonOruro to UyuniWednesday/Sunday


314 kilometers
7 hours



  • If you are traveling from La Paz, there are regular buses between La Paz and Oruro. They leave from the main terminal every hour or so. The bus takes about 4 hours and tickets are about 30 bolivianos.
  • If you want to know more about Ferroviaria Andina S.A., check the web page: www.fca.com.bo
  • If you need to buy a ticket of train from Oruro to Uyuni in salon or executive via online do it in: www.ticketsbolivia.com
  • You can to buy a train ticket in advance with tickets Bolivia, but the FCA company assigns the seats in salon class a week before the departing day and in executive class a month before the departing day.
  • I recommend that you choose a window seat so as to appreciate the view in a better way. The right side has the best views.
  • I recommend for your trip that you wear light clothing during the day and warm clothes for the night.
  • Check this guide on what to do when you arrive in Uyuni and how to pick the best tour for you.