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Exploring Bolivia by train

Bolivia is a very interesting land-locked country in South America. With various landscapes from deserts and mountains to rainforest it a mecca for backpackers. 

Suprisingly – it still have existing railway network – you have to try it!

The trains all have meter gauge and bolivians are proud .


Crossing into Bolivia by train

In 70s adventure traveler and writer Paul Theureux was travelling from Boston to Patagonia – he entered Bolivia by train from Peru (to be 100% correct – with ferry via lake Titicaca) and exitied country with international train to Argentina. All Bolivia international links are defunct now, but country passenger railway network is still working.

Eastern network

The western network goes north-south from lake Tititaca. The main corridor is from Oruro to the border in Argentina in Villazon. In the old times train passed the border and continued on Argentina side.

Western network

The western network contains two lines originating in Santa Cruz. Both lines reach country borders.

With Brazil at Puerto Quijarro (Corumba on Brazil side)

And with Argentina at Yacuiba,


There is branch line from Rio Mulato to Potosi and Sucre. There is no scheduled passenger trains on this line. For many years “ferrobus” (Mercedes on the steel wheels) run on the route betwee Sucre and Potosi, however there was some landslides  in 2020 and the train is probably suspended.


Long time ago it was possible to reach Cocachamba (4th largest city in Bolivia) by train  – the branch line was connected with eastern network in Oruro. However the tracks are impassable for decades. In the city of Cochacamba itself the rail corridor was converted to the modern tram network (using normal guage – for the first time in Bolivia).