Sucre is within easy reach of one of the world’s most remarkable natural wonders, Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni. The Salar is the world’s largest salt flat located 3656 meters above sea level, and is the place to go to capture some of the most spectacular panoramas you’ll ever see.
Salar de Uyuni is accessed from the town of Uyuni. Here are several ways to get between Uyuni and Sucre.
Amazonas operate several services daily between Uyuni and Sucre. The flights go via Santa Cruz and La Paz, and take anywhere from 1 to 4 hours depending on the length of the stopover. Flights cost anywhere between Bs 1300-1900 ($190 – $275) one way depending on your time of travel.
The military airline TAM reportedly take passengers directly between Uyuni and Sucre (and vice versa) every Monday, Friday and Saturday. However, at the time of writing no flights between the two cities are showing up on the TAM website. They also don’t accept online bookings, so it may be best to call them directly on 901-10-5510 or visit one of there offices (their Sucre office is located at Calle Nicolas Ortiz #110). TAM fly into and out of Santa Cruz’s Trompillo airport.
All the main bus companies from Uyuni to Sucre depart around 8am or 4pm from the intersection of Avenida Arce and Cabrera.
The most popular bus companies seem to be Turismo 11 de Julio and Trans Emperador, but the best bet is just to turn up a bit early (or the day before) and pick the one you like the look of best. That will also give you time to buy your tickets and get on the bus of your choice (as some buses can become full close to departure). Alternatively, to guarantee a seat, you can book your tickets in advance using Tickets Bolivia (see below).
The journey to Sucre takes about 10 hours and is much more comfortable than it used to be now that the road between Uyuni and Sucre has been fully sealed. Most bus companies terminate at Potosi’s main bus station (just outside of town), requiring you to take another bus from Potosi to Sucre, with the exception of 6 de Octubre who run direct departing daily at 10pm. The journey between Uyuni and Potosi is around 6 hours and between Potosi and Sucre it is another 4 hours.
Buses to Uyuni can be caught from Sucre’s main bus station located east of the city center on Avenida Ostria Gutiérrez. A short taxi ride to and from the city center will cost around 4 bolivianos per person.
The only bus company offering a direct service between Sucre and Uyuni (via Potosi) is 6 De Octubre leaving from Sucre’s bus terminal at 9.30 am (make sure to double check this at the bus station as times are subject to change). All other bus companies require you to change in Potosi where you can purchase your onward ticket to Uyuni.
Buses from Sucre to Potosi leave every one to two hours from 6am until 7pm and the journey is around 3 hours. Buses from Potosi to Uyuni leave roughly every half hour between 7am and 12pm then at 4:30pm, 5:30pm and 7:30pm. The journey is around 6 hours.
As taxis in Bolivia are cheap, another option is to have a taxi take you all the way from Sucre to Potosi, or vice versa. The trip will take around 2-3 hours. Shared taxis (called trufis) leave from the bus station and cost about 45bs ($7) per person. A taxi off the street will cost more, at about 60bs per person ($9). If you’re staying in a hostel or hotel, you may also be able to get the owner to organize one for you. We did this and it cost 50bs per person ($7). You can then make the journey between Potosi and Uyuni via bus.
Price and Booking
The journey between Uyuni and Sucre should cost around 83 Bs ($12) and there is a 2 Bs “uso de terminal” departure tax to be paid at the bus stations. While tickets can be purchased at each of the bus stations on the day, when possible, try to book your bus tickets in advance from Tickets Bolivia as seats do sell out due to the popularity of the route:
As noted, the entire route between Uyuni and Sucre is now sealed. If you have your own transport, you should be able to make the 377km journey in around 7 hours.
If you haven’t already, be sure to book your accommodation in Sucre as soon as possible to avoid missing out. For accommodation in Uyuni we highly recommend staying at Piedra Blanca Backpackers Hostel.
For information on booking a Salar de Uyuni tour please see A Guide To Discovering Bolivia’s Awe-Inspiring Salt Flats.