How to get to Uyuni from La Paz
For those who wonder how to get to the village of Uyuni to start the Salt Flats trips check the information below.
La Paz - Uyuni 569 km
La Paz - Oruro 229 km (paved road)
Oruro - Uyuni 340 km (unpaved road)
There are several ways to travel from La Paz to Uyuni:
1) By airplane. The military airline TAM (www.tam.bo) is flying to Uyuni from La Paz (via Sucre) every Monday, Friday and Saturday. Return flights from Uyuni to La Paz (again via Sucre) are also on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays. Buying a TAM ticket online is not possible (for now). A disadvantage of flying with TAM is that the flight from La Paz to Uyuni goes via Sucre and with bad weather conditions in Sucre the flight gets suspended. The preferred airline is Amazonas (www.amaszonas.com). They have DAILY flights to Uyuni.
2) Tourist night bus. There are several night busses going from La Paz to Uyuni and vice versa. Busses leave every night of the week. There are no busses during the day. The drive takes approx. 10 hours but can take longer in the wet season (December to April). You will be travelling over unpaved roads 2/3 of the time. The bus leaves La Paz at 21.00 and arrives in Uyuni around 07.00. The company we work with (Todo Turismo) has a service that includes a hot meal, English speaking assistance and extra oxygen in case you suffer from altitude sickness.
3) Private transport in a 4WD. The advantage of this option is that you travel during the day so you can enjoy the views, take pics and stop whenever you like (within reason). This option is not that cheap as we have our driver leaving Uyuni 1 day before your transfer to pick you up. He will spend the night in La Paz and then drive you to Uyuni the next day. So where it is a 10 hour drive for you, it's a 20 hour drive (+ an overnight stay) for the car and driver.
4) Public transport La Paz - Oruro followed by train from Oruro to Uyuni. You can travel from La Paz to Oruro by public bus (approx 4 hours) and then take the train from Oruro to Uyuni. You do have to take a taxi from the bus station to the train station in Oruro. The train is clean and leaves on time. Notice that the train doesn´t go every day and that you don't arrive in Uyuni at the most convenient hour. Every Tuesday and Friday the train is leaving Oruro at 15.30, arriving in Uyuni at 22.20. Every Sunday and Wednesday the train is leaving Oruro at 19.00, arriving in Uyuni at 02.20. Trains from Uyuni to Oruro leave on Wednesday and Saturday night at 00.05 (so officially it's Thursday and Sunday already) arriving in Oruro at 07.00 and on Monday and Thursday night at 01.45 (so officially it's Tuesday and Friday already), arriving in Oruro at 09.10. Check the complete train time table. You can buy train tickets online now on http://www.fca.com.bo/.
5) Private transport La Paz - Oruro (approx 4 hours) followed by train from Oruro to Uyuni. The difference with the previous option is that you travel from La Paz to Uyuni with private transport instead of a public bus which is more comfortable. You will also be dropped off directly at the train station in Oruro. For the train schedule see the previous option or check the complete train time table. You can buy train tickets online now on http://www.fca.com.bo/.
How to get to Uyuni from Sucre or Potosi
Sucre - Uyuni 377 km (9 hours of driving)
Sucre - Potosi 169 km (paved road) (3 hours of driving)
Potosi - Uyuni 208 km (a paved road now) (4 hours of driving)
Busses leave Sucre at 07.00 and at 08.30 in the morning. They stop in Potosi and then go on to Uyuni where they arrive in the late afternoon. There is also a bus leaving Sucre at 12.30, arriving in Potosi at 15.30. Then leaving Potosi again at 19.00 and arriving in Uyuni around 02.00.
The company Todo Turismo has plans to run a night bus between Sucre and Uyuni.
There is also the option to fly from Sucre to Uyuni on Mondays and Fridays with the military airline TAM (see info above on how to get to Uyuni from La Paz).
Then from Uyuni you can take a bus back to Potosi and/or Sucre. There is a bus leaving Uyuni at 19.00, arriving 4-5 hours later in Potosi. This bus does not go all the way to Sucre. In the morning around 10.00 the bus is leaving from Uyuni to Sucre, arriving in Sucre around 19.00.
Of course we can also arrange private transport from Sucre/Potosi to Uyuni or vice versa. This option is more expensive, but far more comfortable.
How to get to Uyuni from Santa Cruz or Cochabamba
Since May 2012, the airline Amaszonas flies from Santa Cruz to Uyuni via La Paz. Please check their website (www.amaszonas.com) for the itinerary.
Or take a bus or a flight to La Paz and from there on see information above.
Or take a bus or a flight to Sucre and from there on see information above.
Or take a bus or a flight to Cochabamba. From there you can take a bus to Oruro and from there the train or bus to Uyuni.
Since April 2013 there are daily flights from Santa Cruz to Potosi with the airline Aerocon (www.aerocon.bo). From Potosi it’s approx.. 3,5 to 4 hours of driving to Uyuni. The road from Potosi to Uyuni is paved all the way 2012.
How to get to Uyuni from San Pedro de Atacama (and Calama)
With a 3 day tour Uyuni - Uyuni there is the possibility not to drive back to Uyuni on the 3rd day but to cross the Chilean border and to drive on to San Pedro. For a reference program see our tours ending in San Pedro de Atacama
And from San Pedro you can do a 3 day tour to Uyuni, see our San Pedro de Atacama-Uyuni tours
We can also arrange a transfer from San Pedro to Calama airport and vice versa.
- The information above is subject to change (updated sept 2011). Follow us on Twitter for the latest news.
- Don't expect much comfort of a public bus. Often busses are completely full where people even sit in the isles with their luggage. Such is not the case with the tourist bus between La Paz and uyuni.
- We normally only book the transfers in train, bus and car from/to Uyuni for people that book a Uyuni tour with us.
Check our page with general information about Salar de Uyuni