Roadblocks in Bolivia
Replies: 8 - Last Post: Mar 6, 2013 3:18 AM Last Post By: panchogarcia10
Mar 4, 2013 6:06 PM
Roadblocks in BoliviaHi folks
Can anyone tell me if the roadblocks that occur frequently in Bolivia affect the salt flats tours from SPdA to Uyuni?
Also, we originally planned on flying from Uyuni to La Paz to avoid the overnight bus and possible roadblocks but now want to include a mine tour in Potosi. Can anyone tell me how often roadblocks occur and if there is one, how long it usually lasts for? Do the strikers give much forewarning of a roadblock or do they just happen with absolutely no notice? (Sorry if these seem dumb questions but I'm trying to get a grasp of how big a delay we should expect/be prepared for, time-wise).
I know to allow for a couple of days extra for travel in Bolivia but I guess I'm just trying to figure how much longer I should allow for a Potosi trip and from Potosi to La Paz? I'd hate to get stuck in Potosi with no way of getting to La Paz especially as it's only me who wants to do the 4 hour mine tour (husband can't as he gets bad asthma with dust!)
Any help would be great.
Mar 4, 2013 7:47 PM
1It's pretty hard to predict. The disputes that start these sorts of roadblocks tend to flare up and dissipate fairly quickly.
I haven't been on the SPdA to Uyuni road but I imagine it's very remote therefore no point in blocking it. La Paz to Oruro is probably the most commonly blocked road, though bloqueos can happen anywhere.
Try not to stress too much, just leave a few days flexibility and you will probably be fine.
Mar 4, 2013 8:11 PM
Mar 4, 2013 8:15 PM
31 is right, strikes can pop up at anytime. When I was in La Paz we planned to leave on a Tuesday. There was a transit strike that started and lasted all Monday long, but Tuesday the buses were running business as usual.
Mar 4, 2013 9:14 PM
4Thanks banjodan. I think we'll plan on going to Potosi from Uyuni for a day or so but if we hear of a strike/roadblock then we'll fly directly to La Paz. There - sorted! :)
Mar 5, 2013 4:48 AM
5impossible to predict how long or when these things will happen. Most do only last a day or two though, some last a few days longer, some last weeks. A couple of years ago there was one in Potosi that went on for 5 or 6 weeks and they even blocked flights in and out - there was some 25 tourist or so stuck there the whole time and embassies even got involved in trying to get them out - that is definitely not what you would call common though and you would be unlucky to get stuck in one longer than a couple of days.
In the last 4 or months or so the tours from San Pedro to Uyuni HAVE been effected by protests in the area although right now , since a few weeks ago, they have been running ok. That said even when there where protests the agencies were going an alternative route which meant you would do a tour and get to Uyuni anyway even if you didnt see everything you normally see and also had to pay an extra fee on top.
Journey from Uyuni to Potosi is around 6 hours or so and you cn catch a bus about 7pm from Uyuni and your tour should arrive sometimes between 4 and 6pm in Uyuni. It would be a good idea to ask you operator if they can get you a bus ticket in advance for the journey to make sure you get on it if you want to do this. Mine tours are in the mornings and afternoons leaving around 8-9am and 1.30-2.30pmand cost around 80 to 120bs plus you are expected to purchase gifts of coca leaves, cigarettes etc for the miners. You can also travel overnight to la paz and the journey is about 7 or 8 hours - there are good cama buses available for this route. If you have time though it is worth spending a day or so in Potosi and if you are there it is only a 3 or 4 hour journey to Sucre. Also after 3 day salt flats tour, then striaght on a bus to Potosi you would probably want a night in a hotel anyway rather than travelling straight away.
As mentioned above - dont stress too much, there is nothing you can do about it anyway - just deal with whatever happens at the time.
Mar 5, 2013 6:07 AM
6Hey there! I’m form Brazil, I’ve travelled all Bolivia with my own car and road blocks are definitely an issue. You need to be well informed, because there are a lot of road blocks for a lot of different reasons, some of them can persist even for 48hs or more. My advice is: if it’s an organized excursion or if you bought a bus ticket, those people will know about the road blocks, so you don’t need to worry. BUT if you feel more secure, this website saved me a few times: http://www.abc.gob.bo/ It’s the government official road administrator organ, and has all the newest information about the blocks in all roads. It’s in Spanish, though. If you do not speak Spanish ask for some hotel staff to help you. Do not leave to make a route trough any bolivia's road without check it. If there's a block, it will be there!
Mar 5, 2013 1:53 PM
7tunabagel and panchogarcia - thank you so much for your advice. I really appreciate it.
tuna - that's exactly what we were thinking of doing - travelling to Potosi after our SF tour and then going on to La Paz (although we did wonder about Sucre too as we could fly out from there to La Paz). Man - six weeks strike? I'll keep my fingers crossed that that doesn't happen! As nice as Potosi probably is, I think six weeks would be a nightmare. What a waste of a holiday!
pancho - thanks heaps for the website - I'm trying to learn Spanish so I've bookmarked the page and I'll keep referring to it to test my Spanish and glean valuable info.
Mar 6, 2013 3:18 AM
8You're welcome! In the website, you may find the current road situations by clicking in "transitabilidad". Good luck in Bolivia, it's a wonderful country.
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