Travel to Bolivia
Flying to Bolivia
American Airlines (www.aa.com) offers flights to Bolivia direct from Miami, while Air Europa (www.aireuropa.com) flies from Madrid. There are no direct flights from the UK. The most expensive time to fly is during the high season (July-August, Christmas and Easter). Fares drop during the shoulder seasons (May-June and September-October) and even more during low season (January-April and November-December).
The major airport is: El Alto International Airport (La Paz).
The cost of flights to Bolivia reflects the lack of services and remains comparatively high to other routes.
Santa Cruz Viru Viru International AirportCode
El Alto International Airport (La Paz)Code
The airport is located at Al Alto about 13km (8 miles) southwest of central La Paz.Telephone
(2) 215 7300.AddressEl Alto
Heroes Km. 7
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From London - 15 hours (including stopover); Madrid - 11 hours 30 minutes; New York - 12 hours (including stopover); Miami - 6 hours 40 minutes.
The Oneworld Visit South America Pass (www.oneworld.com) is valid within Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Chile (except Easter Island), Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. Participating airlines are American Airlines (AA), British Airways (BA), LAN (LA), Qatar Airways (QR), TAM (KK) and their affiliates. The pass must be bought outside South America in the country of residence. It allows unlimited travel to over 60 destinations. You can take as many flights as you like, but a you must book a minimum of three flights.
Tax on international departures is US$25 to be paid in Bolivianos or US Dollars at a separate kiosk after checking in.
Travelling to Bolivia by Rail
There are rail connections from Oruro, through the Altiplano via Uyuni and Tupiza to La Quiaca/Villazón on the Argentinean border. These are all operated by Ferrocaril Andino (www.fca.com.bo).
The other company, Ferroviaria Oriental (www.fo.com.bo) runs services between Santa Cruz to Quijarro (Brazilian border) and to Yacuiba (Argentinean border).
The train journey from Santa Cruz to Quijarro is often referred to as ‘the train of death’. This is not because it is dangerous but because the journey is notoriously boring.
Driving to Bolivia
You can enter Bolivia by land on buses from all five neighbouring countries – Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Peru. The easiest and most widely used route through Peru is from Puno via the Kasani border. The main crossover in Brazil is at Quijarro – from here you can travel to Santa Cruz by train.
In Chile, there are three routes: via Tambo Quemado, Calama and the Laguna Verde (where you can plan a jeep trip to the Salar de Uyuni). The Argentinean crossing is at La Quiaca to Villazón or Pocitos. The Paraguayan crossing from Asunción to Santa Cruz is a long journey (approximately 24 hours).
Luggage is usually stored above or below the coach; the better companies offer a ticket service to retrieve luggage. Keep your hand luggage safe, especially on night buses.
Getting to Bolivia by boat
Bolivia is a landlocked country. However, there are several regions – particularly Lake Titicaca and the Amazon – where water is the best form of transport. Steamers cross Lake Titicaca to the Peruvian port of Puno from Guaqui, the most important port on the lake. Situated 90km (56 miles) from La Paz, it is accessible by road but the journey is a rough one.
Although it is a member of the International Maritime Organisation, Bolivia is wholly landlocked and not served by cruises. However, it is possible to reach ports in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Peru by ship and, from there, there are rail connections to La Paz or Santa Cruz. The nearest seaport is Arica in the extreme north of Chile.
The only ferry service in Bolivia operates between San Pedro and San Pablo on Lake Titicaca.
River trips along the Bolivian Amazon are a great way to see the rainforest. There are also cargo boats on the Río Mamoré which run between Trinidad and Guayaramerin on the Brazilian frontier, and the Río Ichilo.