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Oruro, Bolivia - The Annual Carnival Is Held In February / March

Bolivia travel blog by Mark Berman - October 2011   » View Photoset (35 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for 10yrs!
From La Paz it took 3hrs 30mins to travel to Oruro by bus. Oruro is known as a cold and windy place but wasn't while I was there. I was interested
Bolivia Photo - Woman sells pineapple and mango juice in the markets in Oruro.
Woman sells pineapple and mango juice in the markets in Oruro.
in having a quick look around and finding out about the train to Uyuni. There are quite a few budget hotels and hostels around the city center. I planned to stay just 1 night.

Train to Uyuni

The first thing I did was take a walk to the train station, I was very lucky, it was a Monday, the train to Uyuni, the Expreso del Sur goes on only Tuesdays and Fridays and leaves in the mid afternoon. The other train called the Wara Wara goes on Wednesdays and Sundays but at night, so you see nothing along the way. I bought a ticket for the Expreso del Sur for the next day leaving at 3:30pm, the ticket was standard class and cost 56 Bolivianos ($8USD). The trains from Oruro go all the way south to Villazon via Uyuni, Atocha and Tupiza, here is a photograph of the complete timetable of trains from and to Oruro.

What's Around Town?

Apart from getting a train ticket I just walked around the city a bit gathering some of the sights. There is a monument called Dia de la Morenada with a statue of Jose Flores, a master of traditional Bolivian dancing. The day of Morenada is a tradition held in all of Bolivia each year on the 7th of September. I visited the markets which are between the center of town and the train station, along the way I noticed people on the sidewalk playing a card game with colored picture cards, I am not sure what the game is called but it seems that people challenge for money. The markets are just your normal Bolivian markets with fruit and flowers, snacks, coca, produce, products and cloths for sale.
Bolivia Photo - Expreso del Sur train from Oruro to Uyuni.
Expreso del Sur train from Oruro to Uyuni.
Not far from the train station are a line of music shops selling guitars, pipes and percussion instruments. There is also a witches market here in Oruro very similar to the one in La Paz with all kinds of potions and remedies. On the way back to the center I had a rest in a little plaza called Plazuela Genaro Frontanilla Vistas and nearby I found Plaza Uyuni which has a big clock tower at one end. Oruro has a bunch of museums (at least 5),
Bolivia Photo - Oruro market street scene.
Oruro market street scene.
a zoo, mirador lookout, a cathedral, palace of culture, university and other plazas and parks.

Carnival and Train Out

Oruros main attraction however is the annual carnival, usually held in February or March. The train from Oruro to Uyuni takes 7hrs, about half of it in daylight. I was on the right side of the salon car, we past some wetland areas where there were 1000's of birds including flamingos, it's 20mins out of Oruro, have your camera ready but it's quite bumpy and photography is challenging, but fun. We past through a few remote settlements and amongst mountainous regions before it got dark and after a few more hours arrived in Uyuni at 10:30pm.


View all photos in the Oruro Photoset

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Distances & times (if available) from Oruro (Bolivia) to:

Map location: Oruro, Bolivia. Take the train to Uyuni on Tuesdays and Fridays, it's a nice journey and better than the bus!
 A : Cochabamba - Bolivia 116 kms 116 kms straight distance | 3hrs 47mins 3hrs 47mins by car (211 kms) | 4hrs 32mins 4hrs 32mins by bus (211 kms) (211 kms)
 B : La Paz - Bolivia 192 kms 192 kms straight distance | 2hrs 44mins 2hrs 44mins by car (218 kms) | 3hrs 16mins 3hrs 16mins by bus (218 kms) (218 kms)
 C : La Paz to Copacabana - Bolivia 236 kms 236 kms straight distance | 4hrs 6mins 4hrs 6mins by car (267 kms) | 4hrs 55mins 4hrs 55mins by bus (267 kms) (267 kms)
 D : La Paz to Desaguadero - Bolivia 253 kms 253 kms straight distance | 4hrs 26mins 4hrs 26mins by car (304 kms) | 5hrs 19mins 5hrs 19mins by bus (304 kms) (304 kms)
 E : Potosi - Bolivia 229 kms 229 kms straight distance | 4hrs 39mins 4hrs 39mins by car (319 kms) | 5hrs 34mins 5hrs 34mins by bus (319 kms) (319 kms)
 F : Uyuni & the Salar de Uyuni (Salt Flats) - Bolivia 279 kms 279 kms straight distance | 4hrs 24mins 4hrs 24mins by car (328 kms) | 5hrs 16mins 5hrs 16mins by bus (328 kms) (328 kms)
 G : Puno to Bolivian Border - Peru 281 kms 281 kms straight distance | 5hrs 14mins 5hrs 14mins by car (357 kms) | 6hrs 16mins 6hrs 16mins by bus (357 kms) (357 kms)
 H : Copacabana - Bolivia 288 kms 288 kms straight distance | 6hrs 13mins 6hrs 13mins by car (361 kms) | 7hrs 27mins 7hrs 27mins by bus (361 kms) (361 kms)
 I : Uyuni to Potosi - Bolivia 252 kms 252 kms straight distance | 6hrs 9mins 6hrs 9mins by car (415 kms) | 7hrs 22mins 7hrs 22mins by bus (415 kms) (415 kms)
 J : Tupiza via Atocha to Uyuni - Bolivia 344 kms 344 kms straight distance | 6hrs 45mins 6hrs 45mins by car (429 kms) | 8hrs 6mins 8hrs 6mins by bus (429 kms) (429 kms)
 K : Iquique to Arica to Peru Border - Chile 344 kms 344 kms straight distance | 5hrs 33mins 5hrs 33mins by car (459 kms) | 6hrs 39mins 6hrs 39mins by bus (459 kms) (459 kms)
 L : Sucre - Bolivia 225 kms 225 kms straight distance | 7hrs 42mins 7hrs 42mins by car (484 kms) | 9hrs 14mins 9hrs 14mins by bus (484 kms) (484 kms)
 M : Arica - Chile 342 kms 342 kms straight distance | 7hrs 28mins 7hrs 28mins by car (525 kms) | 8hrs 57mins 8hrs 57mins by bus (525 kms) (525 kms)
 N : Chile Border to Tacna - Peru 345 kms 345 kms straight distance | 7hrs 44mins 7hrs 44mins by car (534 kms) | 9hrs 16mins 9hrs 16mins by bus (534 kms) (534 kms)
 O : Tacna - Peru 334 kms 334 kms straight distance | 9hrs 41mins 9hrs 41mins by car (634 kms) | 11hrs 37mins 11hrs 37mins by bus (634 kms) (634 kms)
Driving times are accurate but approximate and are listed in the order of driving distance! Drive times are always affected by weather conditions, the terrain, time of day, altitude, dinner and bathroom stops, animals on the road, protests, a fast or slow bus driver, police checkpoints, border and river crossings, dropping off and picking up passengers etc. These drive times are obtained from Google Maps and are meant as a guide. Note however, times quoted in the main text of this page are exactly as the author experienced it.

My Hostel & Hotel Reviews for Oruro, Bolivia:

Alojamiento Bolivar, Oruro, Bolivia - Large Photo
Alojamiento Bolivar, Oruro, Bolivia (Oct 2011 - 1 night) - Simple little room, good for a night or 2, shared bathroom, tv, average bed, located in the central streets of Oruro. There are many places to stay in central Oruro, this was one of the cheaper options. Perfect for a budget traveller.


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Oruro, Bolivia - The Annual Carnival Is Held In February / March. Take the train to Uyuni on Tuesdays and Fridays, it's a nice journey and better than the bus!

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