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Getting To Bolivia
Rio Beni / Bolamer
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Air:

Lloyd Aereo Boliviano has regular weekly flights to La Paz from Buenos Aires, Salta and Cordoba in Argentina, plus flights from Rio de Janerio, Sao Paulo and Manaus, Brazil. Many of these flights stop in Santa Cruz. It flies also from Arica, Iquique and Santiago, Chile. It also flies to many destinations within the country. A LABPass allows you four flights between the main cities of La Paz, Cochabamba, Sucre, Santa Cruz, Tariaja, and Trinidad. There are many other international Airlines serving Bolivia.

Within the country, you can fly AeroSur which reportedly has better service but higher prices in the rainforest. The main air terminal is in La Paz, El Alto airport. It is called "The High One" because it is 13259 ft (4018m) above sea level. You can a bus or taxi the 10 km into the center of La Paz.

Land:

Many travelers find it easier and cheaper to fly to Chile or Peru and then take a bus to Bolivia, preferring a bad road to the uncertainties of flying.

Bus:

Flotas, the long distance buses are generally newer, in better condition, and travel the main roads. Reserve a ticket in advance, and plan to travel by night. Some major routes offer daylight trips. Smaller busses are buses and travel the secondary routes. The smallest busses are micros, and do the local routes.

If you want to travel very cheaply, you can catch a ride on a camión, or truck, but be prepared for a long, slow trip. Some camións have scheduled departures and will accept reservations, but you can wait for one at the police checkpoints called trancas outside of town.

TIP: Dress warmly! The high altitudes makes for a cooler climate and the temperature drops way down at night.

Train:

There are four types of train travel, and each will test your endurance and patience. The national railroad, ENFE, maintains two separate, geographic lines. The Red Occidental serves the western cities of Oruro, La Paz, Cochabamba, Sucre, Potosi and others. The Red Oriental serves the eastern cities of Santa Cruz, Quijarro and Yacuiba.

The best train is the ferrobus, not always available, but is fast, usually reliable and comfortable. You can buy tickets up to a week in advance. Next, the express train, known as tren expreso, tren bala or tren especial. These have first and second class seats, a dining car and boxcars, bodegas, which carry passengers. Some trains carry air conditioned coaches with meal service. The third option is the tren rapido, which isn't rapid at all as it stops at every station. The fourth train is the tren mixto, which carries passengers and cargo. Because it is so cheap, if irregular, many of the poorest travelers use this to transport themselves, their luggage and their animals. For these trains, you take your chance buying tickets before departure, if you can find out when that is. Ask the stationmaster, jefe de estación, rather than rely on the departure board.

Water:

Tour boats will take you to the islands in Lake Titicaca, and river boats handle transport in the rainforest of the Amazon Basin. Most of the river boats were not built for passenger service, but the river provides the best way to see the abundant wildlife.

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