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kate7ann Oct 7th, 2007 05:25 PM

Budget Transportation ??:Cuzco to La Paz to Arica
My husband and I are flying into Cuzco mid-December and would like to make our way to La Paz via a Lake Titicaca. Then we would like to visit Arica, Chile before catching a bus to Santiago.

Can you help us with transportation options? We are on a budget and really need some help.

Iīve read about a bus to Puma, Peru from Lima then taking it to La Paz. Also I have read about buses and trains in Bolivia. We donīt have much time to spend in each place -- we are on a super schedule, so we canīt get too crazy.

Anything you can offer would help!

- Katie

hills27 Oct 7th, 2007 06:16 PM

How tight is your schedule and how cheap is your budget? Unfortunately, cheap transportation and tight schedule are usually mutually exclusive terms in South America.

kate7ann Oct 10th, 2007 03:17 PM

Well, we have about 2 weeks. I am confident that we can do it. We get super anxious about travel.

Do you have any suggestions on a bus or train....?

PS: oops! on the "puma" I meant "puno" :)

Jeff_Costa_Rica Oct 10th, 2007 03:53 PM

That's a lot of territory to cover in two weeks. Is this itinerary set in stone? Are you flying to Cusco and back from Santiago on a fixed date that you have to be there?

Peru Rail runs three days a week from Cusco to Puno. You'll find the sechedule at:

kate7ann Oct 11th, 2007 04:44 PM

We fly out of Santiago on Dec 25th. Thanks for the perurail tip. Do we take a bus from Puno to La Paz? Are they pretty safe?

We also need to find a way from La Paz to Arica, Chile. Any suggestions?

gard Oct 11th, 2007 09:30 PM


I took the bus from Cuzco to La Paz last year (and the other way around :d ). I have posted some information in my trip report with pictures and links: . Hope that you can find some useful info there.

Gard - trip reports and pictures

kate7ann Oct 12th, 2007 05:15 AM

Gard, it sounds like you had an interesting time during your travels. We wonīt be fortunate to have a local guide.

Our biggest worry is the trip from La Paz to Arica, Chile. Has anyone ever made this trek?

Thanks again....Katie

j Oct 26th, 2007 05:19 AM

Katie - I'm planning a similar trip in the oppostie direction. Please let me know if you found out anything about transportation between La Paz, Titcaca and Arica. Thanks...and enjoy your trip!

paulstach Oct 28th, 2007 11:19 AM

La Paz - Arica
There is a bus company named ChileBus which has daily departures from La Paz to Arica. The buses leave from the main bus station in La Paz and the trip takes around 7 to 8 hours depending on how fast immigration and customs officials work at both borders.
Usually you should be in Arica around 3 pm.
I am not quite sure but I believe the fare is around U$ 10.00 per person.
Best regards,

paulstach Oct 28th, 2007 11:25 AM

@ J:
There is no way to go to Arica via Lake Titicaca. But if you go the opposite direction as Katie then it should be Arica - La Paz. From La Paz you got two options to travel to Puno - Cusco:
One is to take a bus from La Paz to Copacabana (east side of the lake) and cross into Peru from there or you take a bus via Desaguadero (west side of the lake) and go on to Puno.
From Puno there is no problem at all to take a bus, a train or even a train run by the Orient Express (U$ 110.00 one way) to Cusco.
The distance between La Paz - Cusco via Desaguadero are exactly 680 km.
La Paz - Desaguadero 120 km
Deasaguadero - Puno 156 km
Puno - Juliaca 44 km
Juliaca - Cusco 360 km

Best regards,
Paul Stach

tompack Jan 28th, 2008 10:39 AM

There are plenty of budget travel options from Cusco to La Paz, but they are usually slow and often uncomfortable.

- I was advised to take a first class bus (approx. $12) from Cusco to Puno rather than the train, because it's more comfortable.
- From Puno I took a "combi" (I think that was the term) for a couple of hours to Yunguyo (less than $2) which, as a 6'2 230 lb American male, was quite uncomfortable. But cheap! I walked the 2 miles to the Bolivian border because a taxi wanted to charge me 5 soles.
- From the Bolivian border to Copacabana, you can walk (7 kms or so) or take a $2 bus.
- From Copacabana to La Paz it's like $5, and you get to watch the bus with all your luggage cross Lake Titicaca in a glorified canoe.

So, what is that, $25 or so?

From La Paz to Arica -- see the above post. The bus from Arica to Santiago is brutal (more than two days) and it is worth paying for "cama" service rather than "semi-cama."

tompack Jan 28th, 2008 10:43 AM

Whoops -- just realized this is from months ago. :P

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