La Paz in detail

Flights & getting there

Air

El Alto International Airport is 10km via toll road from the city center on the altiplano. At 4062m, it’s the world’s highest international airport.

Airport services include oxygen tanks in the international arrivals area, a newsstand, ATMs, internet, souvenir stores, a small 'sleepbox' hotel with bunkbeds paid by the hour, coffee shops, fast food, a bistro and a duty-free shop in the international terminal. The currency-exchange desk outside the international arrivals area gives poor rates on traveler’s checks – if possible, wait until you’re in town.

Times and schedules for flights change often. Check your airline's website or call.

Airlines

Amaszonas Daily flights to Rurrenabaque, Santa Cruz and Uyuni, as well as Iquique in northern Chile.

Avianca Major South American airline with flights to Colombia and Peru.

Boliviana de Aviación Flights to Cobija, Cochabamba, Potosí, Sucre, Santa Cruz, Trinidad, Tarija and Uyuni.

EcoJet Domestic airline with direct flights to Cobija, Cochabamba, Trinidad and Sucre.

LATAM International airline with regular flights to Lima and Santiago.

Transporte Aéreo Militar Flights to Cobija, Cochabamba, Guayamerín, Riberalta, Rurrenabaque, Santa Cruz, Sucre, Tarija, Trinidad and Yacuiba. Schedules are more erratic than other airlines and planes are older.

Departure Tax

The domestic departure tax is B$15, while the international departure tax is US$20 (payable in cash only in the airport lobby, though most international airlines include it in the ticket price).

Bus

La Paz has three bus terminals/bus areas. You can use the main bus terminal for most national and international destinations. If you are going to the Yungas or Amazon, you’ll need to go to Villa Fátima. For Sorata, Titicaca and Tiwanaku, head to the cemetery bus terminal.

Most national destinations are serviced hourly for major cities and daily for less visited spots. International departures generally leave several times a week – check ahead as schedules change. You can get to all the bus areas by micros (small buses), but radio taxis are more convenient with luggage.

Main Bus Terminal This services all domestic destinations south and east of La Paz, as well as international destinations. It is a 15-minute uphill walk north of the city center. Fares are relatively uniform among companies. The station was designed by Gustave Eiffel, and has showers, luggage storage and other facilities.

Villa Fátima Bus Terminal Services Coroico, Chulumani, Guanay and other Yungas and Amazon destinations. In general, the micros are more expensive with faster and more-direct service, while the flotas (buses) offer cheaper, longer and more comfortable trips. The terminal is about 2km uphill from Plaza Gualberto Villarroel.

Cemetery Bus Terminal Offers cheap buses to Copacabana, Tiwanaku, Titicaca and Sorata, most of which leave when full. This area is especially hairy at night, and you should watch your bags while boarding.

Tourist Services

Tourist services – either from the main bus terminal or by hotel pickup – are offered to Copacabana, Puno, Tiwanaku, Uyuni and Valle de la Luna, among other destinations. These cut down on risk and up your comfort.

Vicuña Travel Daily bus tours to Tiwanaku include pickup from your hotel at 8am and a return to the terminal by 4:30pm (B$70).

Diana Tours Round-trip guided trips to Tiwanaku or Chacaltaya and Valle de la Luna, leaving at 8:30am. Also offers transport to Copacabana, Uyuni, Puno and (occasionally) Rurrenabaque.

Bolivia Hop Seamless hop-on–hop-off tourist buses traveling between La Paz and Copacabana, and stops in Peru such as Puno and Cuzco (or alternatively Arequipa), with optional activities along the way.

Buses from La Paz

From Main Terminal

DestinationCost (B$)Time (hr)
Arequipa (Peru)14014
Arica (Chile)80-18010
Buenos Aires (Argentina)800-120048-50
Camargo70-10016
Cochabamba40-508
Copacabana303-4
Cuzco (Peru)160-18014
Iquique (Chile)100-18013-15
Juliaca1207
Lima (Peru)450-55028
Oruro30-40
Potosí50-909
Puno (Peru)70-1207-8
Santa Cruz11017-18
Sucre18012
Tarija8018
Tupiza100-17517-18
Uyuni11011-12
Villazón90-17518

From Villa Fátima

DestinationCost (B$)Time (hr)
Caranavi25-605-7
Chulumani304
Coroico20-353
Guanay1006
Rurrenabaque70-19012-16
Yolosita20-353

From Cemetery

DestinationCost (B$)Time (hr)
Copacabana20-253-4
Desaguadero152
Huarina (for Cordillera Apolobamba)152
Sorata20
Tiwanaku15

Train

Empresa Ferroviaria Andina runs occasional round-trip tourist trains from El Alto to Tiwanaku (1½-hour stop) and on to Guaqui on Lake Titicaca (2½-hour stop). The train departs El Alto on the second Sunday of each month at 8am. Check the website or call ahead. Trains for the Argentine border, via Uyuni and/or Tupiza, all leave from Oruro.