Expreso del Sur Bolivia
Bolivia has a fascinating railway history with two independent railway networks: The Andean network, which connected the mining sites in the Andes with the Pacific Ocean and the Oriental Network, which connects the Bolivian lowlands with Brazil.
The narrow-gauge railway crossing the Bolivian Altiplano between Oruro and Villazon is part of the Andean railway network. Four weekly trains in each direction are running the 600km between Oruro and Villazon.
You can choose between two passenger trains: The slow “Wara Wara Express” makes the journey in about 16 hours and the faster “Expreso del Sur” in about 13 hours. The trains are an important means of transport for the local population living along the railroad. Both passenger-trains do (unfortunately) a large part of the very scenic route overnight.
Passenger Train Amenities between Oruro and Villazon
The trains provide comfortable reclining seats in Executive and Salon Class. None of the two passenger trains offers sleeper accommodation. Both trains have dinning-car. The meals served in the dining car are eatable but straightforward. The dining-car also serves Beer, Softdrinks, Tea, and Coffee, and it can be an exciting place to have a chat with locals train passengers. None of the trains has Air Condition, but the Train is heated, and you can open the windows.
The Scenic Train Journey of the Expreso del Sur and Wara Wara Express
The route is known for its beautiful scenery. Especially to mention is the part from Villazon to Tupiza at the beginning of the journey Villazon – Oruro (South-North). After Villazon, the Train descends into a narrow valley following than the Tupiza River to the city of the same name. The descent to the Tupiza River is very scenic when the trains have to do many curves during the descent. Then, when the Train follows the Tupiza river, the Train passes impressive rock formations.
Timetable Expreso del Sur
Oruro and Villazon are two Bolivian cities that are about 600 kilometers away from each other. The “Expreso del Sur” leaves from Oruro at 14:30 on Tuesday and Friday and from Villazon at 15.30. I recommend traveling with the Expreso del Sur to Uyuni, where you arrive in time that you can spend the whole night at your hotel. The Train has two travel classes, Executive, Salon.
Timetable Wara Wara Express
The Wara Wara Express leaves from Oruro at 19:00 on Wednesday and Sunday and from Villazon at 15:30 on Monday and Thursday. The local population often uses the Wara Wara Express to travel to their remote villages situated along the railroad. The Train travels a large portion of the journey at night; nevertheless, the trip Villazon – Tupiza is very scenic. The “Wara Wara Express” has three travel classes, Executive, Salon, and Popular.
Want to experience a ride on the “Expreso del Sur” or “Wara Wara Express” by yourself? You can do so by joining our Great Andean Train Adventures Tour, where we travel onboard the “Expreso del Sur” from Oruro to Uyuni or on the Journey from Buenos Aires to Lima where we use the “Wara Wara Express” from Villazon to Uyuni.