Actually there are two trains that go from Oruro To Uyuni...so far i know that the train companies are: EXPRESO DEL SUR AND WARA WARA. the first is a little bit expensive but much more confortable. and the go to Uyuni every tuesday and friday. they departs from the train station in oruro at 15:30 and arrives in uyuni at 22:30. if you one further info about the train schedule click down...i put the site where it`s written some more info.
The couches are confortable they have 2 the executive and salon. the first is more expensive indeed. but salon is ok as well. i had the chance to travel from oruro to villazon (the border to argentina) on salon and it was not bad.
I`m looking fro the web side so i will be able to write down as well.
I started out this trip from San Pedro de Atacama in Chile. Similar trips can be organized from Bolivia of course, with Uyuni and Tupiza being the most famous start-off points. The advantage of starting from San Pedro is that you get to do the circuit in reverse - which means saving the best (the Salar) for last. The disadvantage is that there is a steeper altitude gain in a short time, sometimes leading to altitude sickness problems. If doing this trip from San Pedro, allow at least 2-3 days to acclimatize in San Pedro. Taking the high altitude tours in San Pedro before going into Bolivia also helps a lot to acclimatize. Another disadvantage of starting the tour from San Pedro de Atacama is that it is more expensive than purchasing the trip from Bolivia.
I organized my trip via Cordillera Traveller as it had the best overall reviews, though it was the most expensive option - we had no problems at all with them and we were very satisfied. The tour cost us 175USD for 4 days and 3 nights, starting from San Pedro and ending in San Pedro in Chile. They also have an office in Uyuni, Bolivia.
There are many tour operators out there, and all have good and bad reviews, with none of them getting consistent good ones, so it will always be a matter of luck
Travel by yourself to do this circuit is probably not done in this area - definitely not if you are going from San Pedro in Chile. You cannot take a car across the border and the buses will not be touring the circuit. Also the driving conditions are treacherous and you can easily get lost as there are no clear roads and it is difficult to navigate on the salt flat. So the only option is joining a tour. A sturdy 4WD in relatively good condition is essential - but many tour operators forego the "good condition" part resulting in virtually guaranteed breakdowns of some sort or another.
I have taken the bus from La Paz to Oruro and the train from Oruro to Uyuni twice (2003 and 2006). The first time Fremen Tours made the arrangements and the second time was by Zig-Zag Eco Tours and Treks (there are references to both in my General tips on Bolivia). The bus to Oruro takes 3 hours and the train from there 7 hours. I heard that the bus ride from Oruro to Uyuni is 4 hours longer. The train was not fancy but it was comfortable. It had restrooms and even a movie on the TV. You may also purchase snacks. The cost of the train was included in my tour package each time, so I don't know exactly what it was; however, Lonely Planet says that the express train is US$5-10 depending on whether you get salon or executive. Be sure to note that the express trains only run a couple of days a week (Lonely Planet 2004 says Expreso del Sur on Monday and Friday, and the Wara Wara del Sur on Wednesday and Sunday).
I did the trip from Uyuni to San Pedro de Atacamaby jeep using Andrea Tours and they were fine. Their offices are located in the plaza in Uyuni. They need to fill the jeep with 6 people to make a tour which in our case happened during the day we were in Uyuni.
I didn't make any pre-booking.
Once we arrived at the Bolivia - Chile border we transferred from the Jeep to a tourist bus. Our jeep driver gave us the tickets for that bus which took us to San Pedro de Atacama. Part way through that part of the trip we had to stop and get our bags out for inspection by customs. They checked everyone's bags manually as they didn't have an xray machine.
From La Paz to Uyuni you have a few options. If you had the time there are interesting places you could visit on your way to Uyuni. I went to Sucre and Potosi for example. We took local buses between all these places and booked them through travel agents in each of the towns we were in.
There are some direct bus services available from La Paz to Uyuni and there is also the popular train option from Oruro to Uyuni (get to Oruro from La Paz by bus).
There are 3 main places from where you can get to Uyuni:
Oruro - from Oruro there is a train that goes to Uyuni. There are also buses going from Oruro to Uyuni.
Potosi - from Potosi there is a bus that goes to Uyuni through beautiful sceneries. Since Potosi is definitely a city worthwhile visiting, this is my favorite option.
Villazon - from Villazon (near the border with Argentina) there is a train that goes to Uyuni. There are also buses that go from Villazon to Uyuni.
El Salar es completamente plano y por él se desplazan los todo terreno completamente libres sin limitaciones ni caminos
Da un cierto repelús pues la sal se asemeja a la nieve y da la sensación de que se va a derrapar , pero según el conductor se agarra perfectamente
(No se lo que pasará cuando llueva y se ponga pastosa la sal)
The Salar is completely flat and the 4x4 are moving on it free without roads limitations
You feel a bit nervous as the salt looks like the snow and you think that you will skid , but according to the driver it grabs to the salt perfectly
(I do not know what is happening when it rains and the salt becomes sticky)
El "viaje" empieza cuando sales de Potosí con rumbo a Uyuni , hay que cojer un autobús que tarda más de siete horas en llegar y todo el trayecto es por carretera de tierra
El bus tampoco es una maravilla , calor , mucha gente , algunos mascando coca todo el viaje ( que se lo pregunten a Nieves )pero los paisajes y sitios por los que se pasan son impresionantes , secos , duros e inmensos
The "Travel" starts when you leave Potosí to go to Uyuni , you must take a bus that takes more than seven hours and all the way you go in a dirty road
The bus is not marvellous , heat , many people , some of them chewing coca all the way (You may ask to Nieves ) but the landscapes and the places you pass are impressive , dry , hard and immense
Both in Uyuni and in San Pedro de Atacama numerous agencies offer the trip. The reasonable prices include also all meals and the accommodation. But it is advisable to take also some extra drinks with you.
The cars are 4X4 off-road vehicles and carry usually 6 passengers.
Both starting points of the tour, Uyuni and San Pedro de Atacama are reached by bus. Uyuni has connections with La Paz, Oruro and Potosi (most of the buses are going during the night) while San Pedro is reached from Chile via Calama and from Salta and Jujuy in Argentina.
Be careful when choosing Tour Groups. Actually they are pretty much all the same. they all have similar cars and stay at bare minimum hostels. The only separation comes down to the food. I booked with Licanbur but they packaged me into Olivio to get max people in car (common among Uyuni tour groups). Olivio sucked in food. For our tour driver was cook which wasn´supposed to happen. we had 2 cans of tuna for 7 people our 1st meal. 3rd day i had the worst spaghetti in my life. Meanwhile, some other tour companies had a seperate cook that made food fresh. I heard ANDREA tours was good, they had a cook, brought out a table with chairs while we had to eat out the back of the trunk and their tour was $5 cheaper!!!!
All the travel agencies that offer the tour of Uyuni use this kind of four wheel cars. they are really strong to support such dirt roads that they go through. as you can see in the pic they are carrying the luggages and some gas for the meals and they can take 6 passengers.
I took the overnight bus to Uyuni. I was not a very pleasant bus ride, the bus is not one of the comfortable sort and does get cold, so pack something. We arrived very early in the cold morning at Uyuni. I have no reports on how the train ride is.
The best mean to travel into the desert, definitely... Try the bycicle if you feel like adventurous !
Le meilleur moyen de voyager dans le desert, definitivement.... Essayez avec le velo si vous vous sentez l'ame d'un guerrier !