Low Altitude airports in Bolivia

Feb 14th, 2014, 10:03 PM
  #1  
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Low Altitude airports in Bolivia

I am looking for the best way to acclimatize myself in Bolivia... destination La Paz. Is it any better flying into Santa Cruz and spending a week or two there, and then busing to La Paz?
DiannaS is offline  
Feb 15th, 2014, 12:03 AM
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Santa Cruz is at an altitude of only 400m and so would have any effect whatsoever on acclimatisation. It is the largest city in Bolivia but I didn't find it that interesting. Although Samaipata and the Jesuit Missions Circuit are accessible from there and worth a visit.

You would need to check the bus routes but Sucre at 2800 m is a beautiful colonial town and would be a great place to acclimatise for a few days. From there you have a choice of heading off to la Paz but plane or bus or maybe to Uyuni via potosi and Tupiza.
crellston is offline  
Feb 15th, 2014, 07:41 AM
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Great! thanks, maybe I will spend less time than planned in Santa Cruz.

I'm finding it difficult to find information on getting from Sucre to the Salt Flats. Is it nearby? Is it easier to access from La Paz?

My plan changes everyday as I learn more information. Right now I am thinking of:

1)Flying into Santa Cruz (better choice because of the cheaper flight, lower/safer altitude?)
2) Taking a bus to Sucre and spending a week or so there, possibly seeing the Salt Flats in there somewhere if accessible
3)Bus to La Paz (I will be volunteering there for a month more or less, and then be traveling to work on a farm for another 6 months, as well as a hike somewhere in there)

Does this sound like too much? Right now it seems a but confusing, this is the first adventure I've planned solo.

Or maybe someone has a better idea for my itinerary...
Basically I will be there for 9 months, September 2014-end of May 2015. I would like to acclimatise in a city for a week or two, see the Salt Flats, get to La Paz.
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Feb 15th, 2014, 08:01 AM
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Or what if I flew into La Paz, and then pretty much directly took the bus to the Salt Flats? After the 4 day tour I would go back to La Paz, skipping Sucre.

I guess one of my main concerns is acclimatising.
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Feb 15th, 2014, 08:15 AM
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I am not sure what the road is like from Santa Cruz to Sucre (but I'll bet you could fly). I know young people enjoy Sucre which is a college town with a relatively good climate (ie not as cold as Potosi). Sucre is 2800 meters, similar to the Sacred Valley in Cusco. From Sucre to the salt flats, typically you would take a bus (or private transfer) first to Potosi and then to Uyuni. Some people do it all in one stretch but I found Potosi interesting for a night. But, I was already acclimated. Potosi is over 4,000m in elevation. Coming from Sucre, it may be better to sleep in Uyuni which is 3670 meters.

I didn't visit Santa Cruz, came in to Bolivia by land from Puno, Peru via the crossing near Copacabana.
mlgb is offline  
Feb 15th, 2014, 08:24 AM
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Update: (I swear, my plans change by the hour haha)

La Paz to Sucre (spent as little time as possible in La Paz for high altitude reasons)
La Paz to Sucre (stay there 4 nights or so to get used to climate)
Sucre to Potosi to Uyuni (Do the Salt Flats tour)
Uyuni to La Paz (by this point I will treat myself to a flight
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Feb 15th, 2014, 09:03 AM
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That sounds like a plan. Just take it easy at the La Paz airport!
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Feb 15th, 2014, 03:37 PM
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Thanks for all your advice
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Feb 15th, 2014, 03:59 PM
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I just tried to do a dummy booking at Boliviana, Bolivia's national airline. One way, Sucre to La Paz is about $70. I'd sure pay that for the convenience of a half-hour flight, vs what sounds like a pretty exhausting 12 to 18 hours on the bus. This is assuming that the few days in Sucre will serve to acclimatize you.
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Feb 15th, 2014, 05:05 PM
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Thanks for checking that!

I guess now the plan is to fly to Santa Cruz, stay for a night or two, fly to Sucre for maybe 3 nights, then bus from Sucre to Potosi, to Uyuni and go on the Salt Tour. Then fly from Uyuni to La Paz.

I'd like to think I'm adventurous enough to bus it all but from what I hear it's an experience in itself there, and seeing how it's so cheap I think I will take your advice.
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Feb 15th, 2014, 11:49 PM
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If you are going via Sucre then I recommend Tupiza Tours they we absolutely superb. They take a different route form the Uyuni tours so you will hit all the major sight at a different time to those tours. We had most of the places to ourselves.
http://tupizatours.com Tupiza itself is a really nice town and worth a couple of days.

Details and photos of that trip on our blog

http://blog.travelpod.com/travel-blo...ai/6/tpod.html

Entry # 30 onwards
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Feb 16th, 2014, 07:01 AM
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Ouuuu awesome! thanks crellston!
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Feb 16th, 2014, 07:14 AM
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Hey crellston~ just read several of your blog posts...so helpful. I also went onto the Tupiza Tours website but haven't been able to find out how much this tour will cost, do you remember?
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Feb 16th, 2014, 07:53 AM
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Hi Dianna, glad you ground the blog helpful. We took the 4 day, 3 night tour on a private basis which cost 5000 bolivianos ( about $740) for the two of us. On a shared basis ( max 4) they were charging 1300 bolivianos pp. Worth noting that most operators put 5 into a jeep, some as many as 7. There is a lot of time spent in the jeep on very rough roads so the fewer the better.
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Feb 16th, 2014, 08:21 AM
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Good to know. And traveling as a single is it possible to join a group of 3 or 4 on arrival?
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Feb 16th, 2014, 09:06 AM
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Also, regarding the bus ride from Sucre to Tupiza via Potosi, did you end up traveling during dark hours? I have heard bad things about taking the night bus, and am wondering if I should stop for the night in Potosi and continue on in the morning.
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Feb 16th, 2014, 09:33 AM
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It is easy to arrange to join a group on arrival in Tupiza. Plenty of people were doing it.

There were plenty of buses leaving Sucre for Tupiza during the day. No need to go at night, in fact I am not sure there are any buses running at night. There is a lot written about night buses in BoliviA but the reality is that they use the better quality buses for the night journeys. Sadly, the driving standards don't change!!

The road between Sucre and Tupiza is newly tarmaced and was pretty smooth.
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Feb 16th, 2014, 11:04 AM
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I took the night bus from Uyuni to Potosi, it was a night-mare. But the road from Potosi to Sucre is fine. Actually, I think I've read that the road between Potosi and Uyuni has been paved since my visit. However it goes over a very high pass with frequent bad weather, which was part of the "adventure".

RE Tupiza vs Uyuni, I believe the tours from Tupiza will require more time. If you start in Tupiza and end in Uyuni, there are several airlines which fly back.

I think one of the many travel agencies in Sucre may also be able to help you join a tour, rather than trying to pick it up in Tupiza.

I was originally going to try to go to Tupiza, but couldn't get there due to the blockades.
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Feb 16th, 2014, 11:38 AM
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Maybe I will plan on staying the night in Potosi then. Rough plan as of right now (expecting delays, blockades, the end of the world etc):

Santa Cruz to Sucre flight
Stay in Sucre 2 nights (likely at the hostel you recommended in your blog, crellston)
Sucre to Potosi bus (one night to avoid night bus)
Potosi to Tupiza bus
Stay maybe two or three nights there, I'm in no hurry and sounds like a nice place
Tupiza to Salar de Uyuni tour (4 days)
Uyuni to La Paz bus
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Feb 16th, 2014, 11:39 AM
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ops * Uyuni to La Paz flight (haha...)
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