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How to get from Iquique, Chile, to La Paz, Bolivia, by bus 🚌

Cheap, comfortable and amazing views! Read more about border crossing 🛃.

Of course, you can fly from Iquique to La Paz, but this can be expensive when you are on a budget 💰. You should consider taking the bus, as this is really cheap compared to flying. Unfortunately, the Bolivia Hop bus will not serve you on this route. But read this blog and you will know where to go!

Where to buy bus tickets to get from Iquique, Chile, to Bolivia, by bus

To get your international bus tickets in Iquique, to get to Bolivia, go to the intersection at Esmeralda / Juan Martínez. If you put your navigation on ‘Esmeralda 1000, Iquique’, you’ll be fine.🗺

In this blog I focus on getting from Iquique, Chile, to La Paz, Bolivia, by bus. But the Bolivian ticket stores where they sell the bus tickets to Bolivia also sell tickets for other destinations in Bolivia such as Oruro.

How to buy bus tickets to get from Iquique, Chile, to Bolivia 🎟

There will be little box offices with screaming woman 😊 Be prepared for the noise. They are not actively trying to sell you, so if you block out the noise you can look at the times and prices they have.

It is great is you speak some Spanish, as these ladies don’t. If you don’t speak Spanish, just be sure to know what you want and write it down 📜. The date and destination are most important. You will get a ticket with the details to doublecheck.

The international bus tickets to Bolivia are not sold at the Turbus station or rodoviário Iquique (bus station Iquique), only around this intersection.

Our bus company Bus Fer, price of our bus tickets and departure times from Iquique, Chile, to Bolivia

We bought our bus tickets at Pullmann Bus Fer, one day in advance. This bus leaves – like the other busses – at rodoviário Iquique (the bus terminal of Iquique). The Pullman Bus Fer bus from Iquique to La Paz arrives at the rodoviário Iquique at 2pm and leaves around 2:25pm (officially 2:30 but they are very on time). The tickets are 6000 Chilean peso per person. That’s around 9 USD or 8 euros. So definitely cheap, we didn’t bargain.

Preparations to take for the bus from Chile to Bolivia

The most important things. First, off course, you have your passport 🛂 with you as it is an international border crossing.

Secondly, make sure to take enough food and water (no real stops for food!). You can buy some (extra) water at the bus station in Iquique, also some cookies and stuff, but better to take more proper food yourself before heading to the bus station. 🥪 Thirdly, make sure to dress warm and take some blanket or coat and scarf. Nights in the bus are cold! Also, very important, make sure you book a hotel with a 24-hour reception. 🕛 Take toilet paper and wet wipes.

Check-in procedure with Bus Fer while taking bus from Iquique, Chile, to La Paz, Bolivia

Make sure to be at the rodoviário Iquique (bus terminal) half an hour before official departure an you will be fine. Just wait till you see the bus with ‘Bus Fer’ arrive at around 2pm.

It ís a bus station, so be aware of your surroundings, but we didn’t have any trouble. Just sat at a seat, looking at the busses, waiting for our bus to arrive 😊.

When the bus is there, you can leave your luggage in the big compartment, you get a little ticket for your luggage. Make sure to mention that you go all the way to La Paz.

Our bus departed very on time: 2.25pm when everyone was on the bus. And off you go!

Layout and comfort of the bus from Pullman Bus Fer

The bus was very good, not luxurious but just all you need. We had quite comfortable seats. They are called semi-cama, your seat can go back about 120 degrees and you have some kind of shelf to put your feet on. There are 2 rows of 2 seats. Also, there is a toilet in the bus. Bring your own toilet paper and wet wipes to clean yourself and your hands (there was no water in the tap to wash your hands).

Views from the bus

What an amazing landscape that you will cross! It’s just breath-taking beautiful. It consists out of a lot of mountains, quite dry, but that means: a lot of cactuses (or cacti? 😉). I think I have also seen alpaca’s but I’m not sure. And you see little hidden green villages in the valleys. So beautiful. 🌵

Altitude sickness

I did suffer from some altitude sickness. Mostly when we were at the border crossing. Not sure you will get this too, but just make sure you stay as calm as possible. Drink enough water, sit down if you can sit down, eat something and maybe take some medication / painkiller to ease it. You can also suffer this the first day(s) when you are in La Paz, take it slow.

The border crossing from Chile to Bolivia

Well, where to begin, this border crossing is one to remember. We, the only tourists in the bus, didn’t exactly know what to do. It’s always advisable to make some bus friends or at least make sure to recognise your bus buddies. In the case of this bus trip, we befriended a Bolivian father and son, that went to Chile to buy a guitar – the guitar that they carried was a good starting point for a small conversation 😊.

The indigenous that don’t do the proper border crossing

When you come closer to the border, a lot of indigenous people in the bus are standing up, packing their bags and cloths, really packed themselves like donkeys, and all wanted to get out of the bus first. We were like – what’s happening – do we have to be quick too??… Because, we didn’t know. But we decided just to watch them and wait. Almost 3/4th of the people in the bus got out, and, as it appeared, didn’t do the proper border crossing, but all went by foot, remember, fully packed, via a big detour – guess they have walked for hours – around the official border crossing. Eventually we picked them up somewhere at the road after we did the proper border crossing.

The other people, including you and me as a tourist, and our guitar friends

Just, stay at the bus. You don’t have to anything special. Well, a lot of waiting is involved – two hours or so. The bus will queue after the other busses that are waiting. When the bus is in the bus queue, you can walk a bit around the bus to stretch your legs, or just stay at the bus. You don’t have to do anything yet.

The custody counters
When you are about the third bus in the row the driver or his assistant will come to call everyone that is in the bus. Now it is the bus’s turn to take the people through custody. You then walk with the remaining ‘legal border crossing people’ that have stayed in and around the bus, guided by the driver’s assistant to a new queue of people. You have to take your luggage with you – but the assistant will tell you this. This queue of people will lead to two counters, first the Chilean border crossing and next to this the Bolivian border crossing (just in the same building, few meters apart). When you entered Chili you got a receipt, make sure to hand this in with your passport.

The luggage checking and back to the bus 🛅
Bolivian’s might want to check your luggage, but not to a big extent. I just had to open my smaller backpack for 2 seconds and it was all right. After this, you leave the custody building and walk just back to the bus, put your luggage back on the bus and take your seat again. Off you go again.

This whole border crossing took about 3,5 hours

About two hours of waiting in the bus queue and about one and a half waiting in the people queue. But, well, then: you are in Bolivia! Including new stamps – off course!

Arrival time in La Paz, Bolivia

We didn’t expect it, but you know now: we arrived in La Paz, Bolivia, at around 3 am🕒🌙 – so yes, three in the – dark and cold – morning. It was cold. And we were tired because you can only have like 1 or 2 hours of some sleep in the bus.

Arrival bus terminal in La Paz, Bolivia

The bus will arrive at Terminal De Buses Lapaz at Av. Peru. I really do advise you to book a hotel or hostel in advance with 24-hour reception, because all you want is a bed right now. There are taxis at the bus station but off course you can also walk. We did walk, I did not feel unsafe. But when you are alone, I think you better can take a cab 🚕.

Our hotel in La Paz, Bolivia: York Vintage

We slept at the York Vintage hotel and I can really recommend this one. Walk-able distance from the bus station, cheap, in the middle of the city centre, including breakfast and 24-hour reception.

Would I take this bus again?

Yes, I would! It is só much cheaper than flying, the bus is comfortable, and now I know what to expect. And the views from the bus are stunning!

Any questions about taking the bus from Iquique, Chili, to La Paz, Bolivia?

Please shoot! Always to help! Post a comment ⬇ or send me an e-mail ✉ 🤗


  1. Anonymous says:

    WooooW .. Thank you so much for the useful information 🙂

  2. Jordan says:

    Hey guys, can’t seem to find any other information about this bus on the web. Do you know if it still currently runs?


    • Adrianne - DUTCHIE AROUND THE WORLD says:

      Hey Jordan,
      I’m not 100% sure if the same bus company still runs there (same as we took), but for sure the selling point for tickets is still there and there are different bus companies available to take you to Bolivia! If you have any more recent info please reply here so together we can help each other as a travel community 🙂
      And also… there just isn’t much information about these kind of busses on the internet, it’s just all offline 🙂 But just go there, prepare for the noise and buy your tickets. Have a good time, enjoy, I love Bolivia.

  3. Cheri says:

    Thank you- this is one of the few resources (in English) I’ve been able to find online and it was super helpful!

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