In the morning it is only Turgar company that has buses leaving for Ciudad Bolivar (Occidente used to have, but didn't have when I travelled). Turgar buses are not the best ones and can not be booked in advance (you can go to the bus station the evening before the departure to buy a ticket though). I was told the bus was leaving at 7am and so said the sign, so I went to the bus station already at 6am to be sure to get a ticket. I found a taxi on the street shortly after leaving the posada. It was 5000 Bs. I was the first person to arrive at the bus station, but more and more people came. The person selling tickets didn't arrive until 7.30. The ticket was 35 000 Bs. There are no seat numbers so I stood near the door of the bus to be one of the first to enter to get a view through the front window (the other windows are shaded) and to have one of the front seats as seats in front of you often are leant back very much. There is a fee for leaving the station of 1000 Bs and a woman come on board the bus to sell those tickets.
After a couple of hours one of the passengers asked the driver to stop by a small cafe and everyone went out to buy coffee and snacks. Not until three o'clock did we stop for lunch. I had a soup and orange juice for 10 000 Bs.
We arrived to Ciudad Bolivar at 19, so the bus ride took 11,5 hours. Before taking a taxi I went to buy something to eat as I arrived at the posada.
The taxi driver wanted to have 10 000 Bs to take me to Posada Don Carlos and when I said I had paid 8000Bs last time he answered that it was later and dark now.
I don’t like travelling by night bus as I can’t sleep on them and I don’t want to miss out the scenery and people along the way. The good buses between Ciudad Bolivar and Santa Elena go by night and it seems Turgar is the only company going during the day. With Turgar it seems you can’t book tickets ahead, so I went to the bus terminal very early in the morning to be sure to get a seat. The taxi from the posada was 10 000 Bs (a bit more expensive than when I had arrived but already in the telephone I was told the driver wanted 10 000 Bs to come to the posada to pick me up).
I bought the ticket for Santa Elena and it was 40 000 Bs (somehow it was 35 000 Bs with the same company the other way). Then I went to the booth selling the ”departure ticket”. It was 500 Bs and must be shown when leaving the terminal.
You can sit where you want in the bus and I took a window seat to be able to look out. To my disappointment the windows were all shaded dark making the colours outside unnatural for the whole journey. I also had a book which I had to hold close to the windows to be able to read (only when the sun looked through the clouds the light was good enough for reading).
The seats in Turgars buses are quite narrow and close to each other. It was fine for me until half the journey when a man got the seat in front of me leaning it back as far as possible (almost to my face) and shading the pages in the book even more.
The bus stopped for a while in Ciudad Guyana and then further along the way for lunch. Twice the bus was stopped at military checkpoints where we all had to go out and open all our bags (and show everything in the bags), but it was fine and went very easy.
To Santa Elena it took about 12 hours. In Santa Elena I took a taxi from outside the terminal to Posada Backpacker Tours and it was 5000 Bs.