Flights & getting there
The Capitán Oriel Lea Plaza Airport is 3km east of town off Av Jaime Paz Zamora. TAM, BOA, Ecojet and Amaszonas (www.amaszonas.com) service La Paz, Santa Cruz, Sucre and Cochabamba (tickets for all these destinations range from B$220 to B$450; for La Paz and Sucre it can sometimes involve a stop in Cochabamba). TAM and Amaszonas also make the short hop to Yacuiba (B$300 to B$500) one to two days a week.
Syndicate taxis from the airport to the center cost B$20 to B$25, but if you walk 100m past the airport gate (visible from outside the terminal), you’ll pay as little as B$12 per person for a normal taxi. Otherwise, cross the main road and take a passing micro A or trufi, which run by the old bus terminal and the Mercado Central.
The new, modern and very large bus terminal is 7km south of town. There's a wine shop, charging station for electronics, luggage storage, money exchange, shops selling snacks and light eats, and an information desk with usually one English-speaking staff on hand.
Most long-haul services leave in the afternoon between 4:30pm and 8:30pm. Lince and Platinum's daily 7pm buses (B$195 to B$265) offer the most luxurious service to La Paz; expect 180-degree reclining seats, wi-fi, USB outlets, private video screens with headphones, clean bathrooms, plus snacks and water.
Services to Santa Cruz pass through Villamontes from where there are connections to Yacuiba and Asunción in Paraguay, though frustratingly the latter pass through in the early hours of the morning, meaning you’ll have to wait a long time for your onward ride.
The bus company Trans Tours Juarez C has Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday departures direct all the way to Salta in Argentina (B$320 to B$400, 10 hours, 7pm) via the Bermejo crossing; it's highly recommended for fairly luxurious buses (every cama seat has its own TV) and expediting the border-crossing process.
Micros for northern destinations like Camargo and Potosí leave from Parada del Norte. While waiting for the minivans to fill, you can grab a snack or coffee from a handful of basic stalls. Micros to Padcaya leave from the Parada del Chaco.
Trufis to San Jacinto (B$3, 10 minutes) run every 20 minutes from the corner of Ingavi and Campos (outside the Palacio de la Justicia) in Tarija.
Many of the roads in the area, most notably the ones to Potosí, Tupiza and Villamontes (work remains to be done on a scary, narrow stretch near Villamontes), have been upgraded, improving safety and shortening driving times.
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Colectivos in all shapes and sizes, though primarily Subaru station wagons and minivans, service every regional destination (for either Villamontes or Yacuiba it's B$100 and six hours) and some further afield. They are in general a little more expensive, though arguably more comfortable than buses (depending on your seat). However, they leave when full so waits vary. Colectivos to Bermejo (B$45, three hours) on the Argentinian border leave frequently.
Crossing the Border into Argentina
These days, Bermejo/Aguas Blancas is the most convenient crossing to Argentina for those coming directly from Tarija or Salta in Argentina; the border is open from 8am to 5pm. The bus company Trans Tours Juarez C (www.facebook.com/juarezcinfo) has highly recommended Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday departures (B$320 to B$400, 10 hours, 7pm) via this crossing; it helps expedite the process and you don't have to change buses.
Otherwise, it's a more complicated and inconvenient ordeal. Bermejo’s bus terminal is eight blocks southeast of the main plaza. Buses leave every couple of hours from Tarija to Bermejo (B$20, three hours) between 7:30am and 9pm, but you’ll need to get a morning service (last departure 10:30am) if you want to cross the border the same day; colectivos (B$45) are more frequent and leave when full. It's a quick B$3 chalana (ferry) ride across the river frontier to Aguas Blancas in Argentina (be sure to pick up an exit stamp before crossing). From here, buses to Orán (US$2, one hour) depart hourly from the terminal opposite the immigration office. From Orán, you can connect to Argentina’s Salta, Jujuy and Tucumán.