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Villazon and Argentinian Border, Bolivia - From One World To Another

Bolivia experiences and stories by a backpacker - April 2008 November 2011   » View Photoset (15 Photos)

My first time in Bolivia in 2008, I had spent roughly 7hrs on a bus from Salta in Argentina up to the border town of La Quiaca and crossed to the Bolivian border town of Villazon from there. The bus had left Salta at 10pm and it was now around 5am, it was freezing! 'Bienvenidos A La Republica De Bolivia - Villazon - Altitude 3497 (meters above sea level)', the sign said. This was my first real experience of the altitude in South America, not that it bothered me, but more that it gets really cold at night up here. Luckily there was some friendly Bolivian people with woolen hats and gloves for sale. My initial feelings about Bolivia were, 'Wow, something has changed, this is different, this is nothing like Argentina!'. There was no European influence, the people were different and now I really knew I was in South America. In Villazon while it was still dark I changed some money into Bolivianos, had some food and walked up the road to wait for a bus heading for Tupiza. The bus travelled the mountainous terrain as the sun came up, it took about 2 hours and I saw a big Jesus statue along the way. I came to Villazon again in 2011, this time from Tupiza and I was heading south. The bus arrived at around 5:30am. I had a better look around Villazon this time as the sun was coming up. There is a monument to Wenceslao Argandona in recognition to the noble work done on behalf of all the retiree and annuitant miners of Bolivia. Another monument to Cornelio Saavedra (1759-1829), an Argentinian military officer and to the Mayor Gilberto Cortez Millares. Grand columns stand in Plazoleta Simon Bolivar with Bolivar upon horseback with sword held high in the air. The central park has many gold statues of indigenous people and pots. In the street there is statue of Felix Gainza Wilde, he is/was the local priest and founder of a co-operative of credit in Villazon. Nearby is the government building Gobierno Municipal next to the church. A monument stands to a special man, Eliodoro Villazon (1848-1939), he is an ex-president and obviously the man they named the town of Villazon after. Walking down the main street towards the border is Plazoleta de la Tradicion in honour of the past and there is an old wooden cart on display. After passport procedures I crossed to La Quiaca and travelled 4hrs 30mins to Jujuy - Argentina.

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Distances & times (if available) from Villazon & Argentinian Border (Bolivia) to:
 A : La Quiaca & Bolivian Border - Argentina 3 kms 3 kms straight distance | 20mins 20mins by car (6 kms) | 24mins 24mins by bus (6 kms) (6 kms)
 B : Tupiza - Bolivia 72 kms 72 kms straight distance | 1hr 37mins 1hr 37mins by car (95 kms) | 1hr 56mins 1hr 56mins by bus (95 kms) (95 kms)
 C : La Quiaca to Jujuy - Argentina 127 kms 127 kms straight distance | 2hrs 8mins 2hrs 8mins by car (161 kms) | 2hrs 33mins 2hrs 33mins by bus (161 kms) (161 kms)
 D : Tarija - Bolivia 105 kms 105 kms straight distance | 4hrs 8mins 4hrs 8mins by car (193 kms) | 4hrs 57mins 4hrs 57mins by bus (193 kms) (193 kms)
 E : Tupiza via Atocha to Uyuni - Bolivia 142 kms 142 kms straight distance | 4hrs 18mins 4hrs 18mins by car (196 kms) | 5hrs 9mins 5hrs 9mins by bus (196 kms) (196 kms)
 F : Jujuy - Argentina 237 kms 237 kms straight distance | 3hrs 45mins 3hrs 45mins by car (286 kms) | 4hrs 30mins 4hrs 30mins by bus (286 kms) (286 kms)
 G : Uyuni & the Salar de Uyuni (Salt Flats) - Bolivia 220 kms 220 kms straight distance | 6hrs 39mins 6hrs 39mins by car (298 kms) | 7hrs 58mins 7hrs 58mins by bus (298 kms) (298 kms)
 H : Salta to Paso de Jama (Chile Border) - Argentina 252 kms 252 kms straight distance | 5hrs 45mins 5hrs 45mins by car (307 kms) | 6hrs 54mins 6hrs 54mins by bus (307 kms) (307 kms)
 I : Paso de Jama to San Pedro to Calama - Chile 195 kms 195 kms straight distance | 5hrs 9mins 5hrs 9mins by car (337 kms) | 6hrs 10mins 6hrs 10mins by bus (337 kms) (337 kms)
 J : Potosi - Bolivia 279 kms 279 kms straight distance | 5hrs 18mins 5hrs 18mins by car (347 kms) | 6hrs 21mins 6hrs 21mins by bus (347 kms) (347 kms)
 K : Bermejo & Aguas Blancas Border - Bolivia 148 kms 148 kms straight distance | 6hrs 55mins 6hrs 55mins by car (384 kms) | 8hrs 18mins 8hrs 18mins by bus (384 kms) (384 kms)
 L : Salta - Argentina 301 kms 301 kms straight distance | 5hrs 26mins 5hrs 26mins by car (420 kms) | 6hrs 31mins 6hrs 31mins by bus (420 kms) (420 kms)
 M : Uyuni to Potosi - Bolivia 234 kms 234 kms straight distance | 6hrs 31mins 6hrs 31mins by car (425 kms) | 7hrs 49mins 7hrs 49mins by bus (425 kms) (425 kms)
 N : San Pedro de Atacama - Chile 282 kms 282 kms straight distance | 6hrs 53mins 6hrs 53mins by car (496 kms) | 8hrs 15mins 8hrs 15mins by bus (496 kms) (496 kms)
 O : Sucre - Bolivia 341 kms 341 kms straight distance | 8hrs 1min 8hrs 1min by car (502 kms) | 9hrs 37mins 9hrs 37mins by bus (502 kms) (502 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.
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