Villazón and La Quiaca

Villazón is the Bolivian half of the town, La Quiaca is the other half in Argentina.

Get in

By train

The train station in Villazón is about 30 minutes walking from the border uphill (only slight gradient but in heat and rare atmosphere can be a struggle) or 4 argintinian pesos by taxi from the border (frontier). You can take a train to Tupiza, Uyuni and further on. Trains leave 4 times per week. The train to Oruro takes 16 hours and in Ejectivo class (best) costs 233 bolivas per person. There is a 1 hour less difference between La Quiaca and Vilazon which you should be carfull of when going to the station and the departure time of the train for Oruro.

The more comfortable and faster EXPRESO DEL SUR leave Wednesday and Saturday The more basic WARA WARA DEL SUR Monday and Thursday.

Tupiza: 4 hours - ? bs Villazon: 9 hours - 50-80 bs. Oruro: 16 hours - 85-100 bs. Uyuni: 7 hours (65/152 bs.) / 9 hours (50/100 bs.) (Bus connection Oruro - La Paz: 3 hours - 15 bs) prices vary according to departure day and class.

Train tickets for Salon class have to be bought the day before the train leaves (but they are kind of flexible about this rule) and for Ejecutivo they may be bought the same day. Trains leave 15:30 in the afternoon.

By bus

The busterminal in Villazon is 10 Minutes from the Border. There are bus connections to Tupiza, Tarija, Potosí and directly to La Paz.

La Paz: 24 hours - 80 to 100 bs

The busterminal in La Quiaca is about 15 minutes walking from the border if you are fit and acclimatised to the altitude, if you have issues with heat, altitude or baggage get a taxi which should only cost 5 pesos. The taxis are old and look pretty poor to western standards but seem to get there without hassels.There are connection to Jujuy, Salta and as far as Buenos Aires.

Buenos Aires ("Retiro"): 25 hours - 135 pesos Jujuy: 5 hours - ?pesos Salta: 7 hours - 25 pesos Tucuman: 10 hours - 150 pesos

Bus companies with good reputation include Flecha and Balut. Avoid Panamericano as they charge a hidden gringo tax, sell overpriced service to Salta that changes bus lines in Jujuy, and the bathrooms on their buses do not work.

Get around

Villazón is separated to La Quiaca by and international bridge with Bolivian immigration on one side and the Argentinian on the other. The border procedures are fairly easy for most western tourist. Salta to La Quiaca. Flechabus takes 6.5 Departs 7.15am bus terminal arives 1.30pm 50 pesos per person. The trip is pleasant with great scenery. The buses are clean with toilet on board. Care is taken to protect your luggage. Safe way to travel.


As La Quiaca is basically a border crossing town it is not a tourist town. It has a safe feeling. It seems to be progressing as there is a lot of building reconstruction around the centre of town. It would appear to be a town that is thriving on exports to Boliviar. At the border crossing there is an army of Bolivian people taking heavy loads of goods across the border. It is possibly easier to have the army of couriers take the goods by foot than to get the goods through customs by truck.


This border crossing can take painfully long to cross - 6 to 8 hours, and there is no shelter where you queue - remembering at high altitude the weather conditions are harsh and can change rapidly, so it is advisable to get in as early as you can in the morning!! (Sometimes foreigners get shuffled through but don´t count on it.)


There are hearty and cheap menus available upstairs at the municipal market, from about 8bs. Around the bus terminal, there is an abundance of reasonably priced eateries. For better food you have to head to La Quiaca. Watch out for restaurants refusing to give prices, they charge a lot more if you don´t agree a price beforehand. La Coyote near the bus station down towards the centre is very basic looking but the prices were good, We had a bottle of red with a nice steak , a good sized beef schnitzel and two plates of chips (pappa frittas) for 48 pesos (about $16 AUD)


There is an abundance of cheap hostels between the bus terminal and the railway station, so accommodation will not be a problem.

Hotel de Toursmo"'. 140 Argentinian pesos per night (October 2009) is reasonable. The standard is as good as it gets in town, close to shops as the town of La Quiaca is not too big.

Hostal Plaza is a decent, reasonably clean hotel with hot water. It's on the main square, and costs about 150 bolivianos per night for a twin. 135 for a double.


Note that there is NO access to wifi in Villazon. There is one Internet cafe that advertises it (on Calle Independencia, a couple of blocks up from the main square), but they claimed it wasn't working when we tried to use it. There are, however, several Internet cafes that charge about 3 BOB an hour. You just can't use your own computer.

There are two ATMs that take foreign cards in Villazon, both on Calle Independencia - one on the Northwest Corner of the square - Banco Union (beware: it charges 5% on withdrawals) and one that is quite hidden, about 5 meters further up (I don't know if this one charges extra).

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