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The Tragic Tale of Potosí »« Our Three-Day Hike Around Sucre, Part II

From Sucre to Potosí by Train

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By bus, a trip from Sucre to Potosí takes just a few hours, and it’s even faster by taxi. But if you’re more interested in scenery than speed, check out the ultra slow bus-train, which winds its wobbly way around mountains, lakes and valleys, offering spectacular views every inch of the way.

Carril Sucre Potosi

The trip takes almost seven hours, but it’s seven hours of the most beautiful landscapes imaginable, particularly if you’re able to snag the front seat next to the driver. Amazingly, this train isn’t a touristic draw. We were the only foreigners on board, and among a minority who wasn’t carrying a bag full of potatoes or chickens.

Tickets were about $3.50 apiece, already worth the price after the first fifteen minutes. Vertigo-sufferers may want to take a pass on the trip. The train never feels especially steady, and I felt my stomach lurch while looking over some bridges. But if you’re a fan of mountain scenery and not on a tight schedule, this trip is definitely something to consider. It’s also a slow, healthy way to ascend to Potosí’s 4000+ meter altitude.

Plus, the length of time gave me plenty of time to read up on the city. By the time we arrived in Potosí, we were aching to start exploring what must be among the world’s most interesting cities…

-I Am Rich Potosi: The Mountain That Eats Men

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June 5, 2011 at 8:23 pm
  • June 6, 2011 at 3:02 amThe Travel Chica

    The train looks fun. Think I’ll have to do this when I make it to Bolivia.

  • June 10, 2011 at 10:13 pmcor leenheer

    Hi Jurgen and Michael!It is a small world…I met you in Ireland and now I got your blog from my mailgroup Websites (in the Netherlands)My question: Do you take chuckey always with you?I have offen dificulties to take my frenchie,Valentine, with me. I’m the mum from Martijn Leenheer.I think you know his dogs Rosa and Ayana. When I met you,I had 2 frenchies,a black and a brown one. Well I hope you’ve a nice time there , lovies Cor

  • June 14, 2011 at 10:16 pmSergio Marcio

    It’s unbelievable, I live here and I dind’t know about this train! I will certainly get some info about it. Nice post!

  • June 24, 2011 at 4:49 amJim Baker

    Is the track gauge Meter or 3 Feet?

    Jim Baker, Whittier, CA USA

  • September 8, 2012 at 8:17 pmJessica Moore

    Hello, I was just wondering if you knew if the train operated in the opposite direction? Is it possible to take if from Potosi to Sucre? I’m trying to get to Sucre and having some difficulty figuring out how to do it. 

    • September 9, 2012 at 2:29 pmMike Powell

      I do think they run both ways — back down the mountain would be a lovely way to see the countryside, too. They only go every other day, so you’d have to plan correctly; visit the train station in advance and confirm the schedule. Alternatively, you should be able to find buses which do the stretch fairly frequently — and which would be much quicker, though less picturesque.

  • June 2, 2014 at 5:01 pmPeter Kropf

    Hi there, I am in Sucre now and came across this while logged for options to go to Potosi. Could you by chance provide me with some details as far as from where I catch the train-bus? Also, where can I buy thickets?Thanks, Peter

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