Local Buses, La Paz
The crowded little vans cover the whole city. Each have numbers and a list of destinations. The destinations are not in order, so A to B often becomes A to Z, then T, thorugh R before getting to B then A.
Ask in the hotel which number goes to where.
You pay between 1 and 3.5 Bol per journey. This is max of about 25p
The buses that go around the city and much bigger than mini buses and the fare is just 1bs. but if you go to the south you may pay a little more. 1.50bs.
maybe is a good option to take this because there are more space for the legs, but you must know very welll your destination. and don`t try to take this one to get to el alto if you go alone...just around the city or to the south side of the city.
The most common way to move in la paz is taking a mini bus...we call like that because they are smaller than normal buses. these kind of buses my take 14 passengers. and the fare is 1.50 bs. as you see is very cheap but the big inconvenient should be that if you are taller i mean, 1.80m or more you may be really, really incofortable.
and of course, you must know very well where are you going to get off....after the trip.
When leaving La Paz onwards to Peru and Cusco, do NOT buy the whole trip to Cusco, you are better of getting a ticket from the central bus station in LP (there are heaps of services operating the route) LP to Copacabana for an overnight stay in Copa, for then again to buy a ticket fromthe local taxibuses to the border and then again buy a ticket to Puno on the Titicaca lake-shores, and then buy the last ticket to Cusco, this will save you around 30 us,and is not a hassel at all.
There are some places that don`t have public transportation. so definitely you have to hire the service of a travel agency to get to those places. for example if you want to get to chacaltaya you have to hire a private transport. ask to any travel agency that offer that tour.
There are basically 2 kinds of buses here:
- Micros are the big buses
- Trufis are those minibuses
The main difference is the size and the price, as both do regular routes stoping at request. To stop one, just hail them. To go down, tell the driver to stop.
If the city is itself a chaos, local buses make it even more hazardous. There are no bus stops (except those in the big bus stations, where most of the minibuses begin), so people go up and down on-the-fly.
There are 2 ways to know the route:
- Read the signs in the fron window
- Listen to the men hanging out of the doors shouting the destinations.
The first time is hard, as you don't know where those places shouted are. So if they say"Universidad", you wonder if the square you are going to is on the way or not. 2 solutions:
- You study carefully a map of the city (and obviously lose the bus).
- You ask the shouter at the bus (in that case U better know some basic spanish)
For a safer trip, just take a taxi, they are dirty cheap!!
The main bus station in La Paz is home to many different bus companies that offer destinations throughout Bolivia and South America. It is quite a scene as they are all hollering there destinations to entice you over to there stall.
The city itself is easily explored on foot, just watch yourself crossing the streets. The bus from Copacabana to La Paz was about four hours and cost roughly three or four dollars. You go right through the altiplano and get great views of Lake Titicaca.
There are several bus stations or official stops depending on your destination. If you are going to Sorata or Lake Titikaka, head to el Cementerio area. If you are headed farther afield, head to the main bus station. Bus fares are cheap at under $1 USD per hour usually.
As tourists, get a tour guided bus, at least you're employing someone. I tell you, walking around La Paz is EXHAUSTING. The city is very hilly and ascending is quite challenging to your heart and lungs. I took one of those bus rides and I was taken around the different suburbs around La Paz including the wealthy area which has the highest golf course in the world surrounded by a lunar landscape.
Many people came from Perú by bus. There are many agencies that will sell you tickets to La Paz trough Copacabana. While you stay at Copacabana (usually 2 hours) you can visit the chatedral and have a trouch for lunch or you can plan to stay a nigth and visit the Sun Island (Isla del Sol)
By plane there are many offers by AA, Lloyd Aereo Boliviano, Continental Airlines (Peruvian).
If you came from other cities in Bolivia you can take a 'Bus Cama' wich is very confortable. The tickets are sold at the main terminal in each city. From Cochabamba the ticket is Bs. 40 to 50. And from Santa Cruz Bs. 70 to Bs. 100.
La Paz is a very crowed city. The transportation in
is very cheap. Some examples are: the radio taxi costs in the central area Bs. 6 to 8 ($us. 1 aprox). and to other zones Bs. 12 to 15 ($us. 2 aprox). A regular taxi costs Bs. 3 per person but they will search for more people.
The trufis and micros are cheaper, but smaller. And if they are full you have to be careful.
From the airport the best way is to take a 'minibus' for Bs. 4 to San Fransico or 'El Prado' (avoid to drop off in 'Perez Velazco' it's allways full of people. Then you can take a taxi to anywhere.
If you walk late a radio taxi would be the best way. Ask to your desk front for one. They will charge you Bs. 6 to 8 up to four people.
If you want to go to the south zones (obrajes, calacoto, Los Pinos, San Miguel, Cota-Cota) where are the most residential houses you can take a TRUFI. There are many of them to each zone. It cost Bs. 3. and Bs. 3.50 at nigth. They star from Plaza Alonso de Mendoza, Plaza Murillo and pass trough San Fransisco, El Prado, and Av. 6 de Agosto.
If you arrive by bus and arrive at the main terminal it's better to walk a block and take a taxi. The taxis at the terminal will try to get more.
To the Chacaltaya : by bus.
At about 5000m the bus had to stop and we had to go to the top on foot. No way he could drive any further. I was already wondering that he made it that far, considering the road (or what is suppose to be a road). And the driver even managed to turn his bus under these condition (and I really can't imagine how he did that without ending in the ravine)
City to Airport Buses (US$1) are waiting for you at the airport, they are so much cheaper then a taxi (US$8-10) into town. When I say bus I mean a mini van.
The only problem being that you need to know a little spanish to let the ticket guy known where you want to jump off, If your Hosteling, just ask for Plaza San Fransico Pour 4 vor.
It's a great way to get into town, as the ticket guy leans out the window yelling out the route and destination of the bus at everyone and your for ever pulling over and droping people off and picking up more and more people. A fantastic introduction to the locals.
just 10 minutes walking from and to the center.
Be careful if you carry backpack, then take a taxi for 1 dollar maximum