Bolivia

GETTING AROUND

LAB click on the image to enlarge
Domestic air services are provided by LAB (the national airline Lloyd Aéreo Boliviano), TAM (military airline) Aereoste, Amazonas and Aereo Sur, but be prepared to factor delays, cancellations and general unreliability into your schedule. Bolivia's road network is not the best, mainly because of the lack of paved roads. Most long-distance buses depart in the evening and travel through the night.

If you want to see the countryside between towns, you're better off catching a truck, which is a popular mode of transport among campesinos. Trucks are half the price of buses, but half as comfortable.

taxi click on the image to enlarge
Taxis in Bolivia are cheap but not metered, so agree on a price beforehand. Cross-town rides in the large cities should not be more than a couple of dollars, with the exception of rides to and from airports. In the smaller towns a short ride should not be more than a dollar. Prices go up a bit at night, if you have lots of luggage, or if you are going uphill. Bargain with the driver for the best price.


Bolivian railways click on the image to enlarge
Bolivian railways were privatized in 1995, and since then, passenger rail services have been cut way back. Taking the train generally requires a little patience. Most stations have printed timetables, but they are not to be relied upon entirely. When buying a ticket, bring your passport. For most routes, tickets can be bought only on the day of departure, but you can usually reserve seats on the better trains through a local travel agent for a nominal commission. There are now two rail networks: one in the west and one in the east.

Wara Wara del Sur click on the image to enlarge
The Andes region of Bolivia is controlled by one major Chilean company called La Empresa Ferroviaria Andina S.A. (FCA). They have two lines: Expreso del Sur and Wara Wara del Sur. The western network runs from Oruro to Uyuni and Villazón on the Argentine border. There is another branch line which runs southwest from Uyuni to Avaroa on the border with Chile. The comfortable Expreso del Sur runs between Oruro, Tupiza and Uyuni only a couple of times a week. The cheaper Wara Wara del Sur also runs a couple of times a week between Oruro and Villazón.

The eastern network has a line from Santa Cruz to Quijarro, which crosses to the Pantanal in Corumbá, Brazil. A route south from Santa Cruz to Yacuiba on the Argentine border runs infrequently.
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