Bus from Buenos Aires to Bolivia, We made it !!
Trip Start May 10, 2011
162Trip End Apr 15, 2012
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We decided to get a taxi to the bus station since we were dying so 1 hour in advance (ok its 30mins on the tube max, but its too much of a mission hungover) we got in a taxi at 12 and said our bus is at 1pm he was like yeah yeah no problem...... well it was a flaming problem not only was the car constantly backfiring like a gunshot and cutting out but the traffic was horrendous and it was taking ages, we finally pulled up to the bus station literally at 1pm the time of our bus - we ran through and there were about 3 diff buses there with our company but they were miles apart - we ran like mad to check them all only to find out the bus was late PHEW ! Its the only time a bus has been late in Argentina normally they are all spot on time.
So we had a lovely 30 hours in rubbish semi cama seats (only a smallish recline) and boy was it a long old journey - we only got served one meal and stopped at this horrendous place at 11pm to get dinner but it was foul even we wouldn't have ate out of there it was covered in bugs.
So we eventually arrive at La Quiaca which is the border point on the Argentina side, we get our bags and jump in a taxi for 5 mins to get to the border crossing where without any drama we got our exit stamp and then walked through to Villazon the Bolivia side and in 5 mins got our entry stamp... WELCOME TO BOLIVIA.
Altitude & another bus
Already we noticed the effects of altitude, we were really short of breath carrying our bags, more so than normal for us unfit sods haha. We walked to the bus station about 5 blocks and wow what a mission, we were met by loads of touts shouting at us for bus tickets - 10 mins later with ticket in hand we are on yet another bus this time to our final destination Tupiza and only and hour n half later we finally arrived.
Our hostel was recommended by a couple we had met before and it was lovely, although 5 mins out of town it was clean and finally we had a double room again woo hoo no more dorms
Coco Leaves and some drinks
The second night we met up with Sun who is from Korea in El Calafate and her friend Conner from Dublin, we were going to do the salt flat tours with them so we booked that and then settled in with some drinks and some coco leaves.
So Tupiza is at an altitude of 2,950m to give you an idea Ben Nevis is 1,344m and Everest base camp is 5,300m and the summit is 8,848m. So much of Bolivia is high in the mountains and they chew cocoa leaves to help with the sickness and headaches they also make tea with it. So we tucked into a bag to see what it was all about - they taste like earl grey tea bags, you have to suck on them for 10 mins or so then put in this other stuff which brings out the alkeline and has the numbing effect. We tried it and our mouth kinda went numb but not sure if they are that effective - none of us feel any affects of altitute except for the crazy shortness of breath - if you talk too excitedly and stop you have to take a deep breath haha. So anyway coco leaves are only legal in Bolivia and Peru
Cost of taxi to BA bus station - £8.25
Bus from Buenos Aires - La Quiaca - £80 each
Bus from Villazon - Tupiza - £2.50 each
Double room ensuite - £9.30 a night
Cost of 2 meals and a beer in Tupiza - £6.26
Bag of coco leaves - 50p