I have some other questions. Does anyone know or have experience in taking the train from Corumba (via Puerto Quijarro) to Santa Cruz (Bolivia)?
Does the train operate on daily basis?
Is it easy to buy a train ticket?
Any tips on Brazil/Bolivia border crossing in that area?
What are the alternative ways to go from Corumba to Santa Cruz?
Any information would be much appreciated.
I don't know when you plan to do this, but the route from Santa Cruz to Brazil is rather difficult during the rainy season. There is a road to Corumbá, and I believe that various bus companies operate a daily service, but the surface condition is very poor, and big delays are the rule rather than the exception.
Unfortunately, taking the train doesn't really improve your chances. The service is unreliable, with trains getting cancelled without prior notice. I don't know about the brazilian officials, but if they're any bit as burocratic as their bolivian counterparts, getting a ticket will also be quite a hassle. That said, the train ride itself is of course an unforgettable experience.
If you read portuguese, have a look at this; it contains interesting information, only I cannot find how recent it is...
[ Edit: Edited at Jul 12, 2006 12:40 AM by bentivogli ]
I am going to be there early August. Hopefully there is not much rain then.
Thanks for the info and the web link (unfortunately, I don't read portuguese). I am wondering how people usually get to Santa Cruz from Corumba during this season? by train or by bus? I know and heard of the "death train" (between Santa Cruz and Corumba) from the web, but did not find much detailed info about it (ticketing, schedule, etc.). Are there flights from/near Corumba to Santa Cruz that I may consider as an alternative?
There's so little information on crossing over to Quijarro from Corumba wanted to add my experience and information.
Here's the run down. My lonely planet book said as a U.S. Citizen I would get the visa at the Bolivian consulate in Corumba. That is not true, they do not issue visas there and the address in the book is wrong. It's right around the corner from the Nacional Hotel on Rua Antonio Maria Coelho. They said I would get it at the border.
No ways to exchange money that I could find in Corumba, you can get Bolivars at the border.
The taxi from the Nacional hotel to the border was expensive. I'd recommend walking a few blocks to get one from the square. He charged me R$50 and think it should have been half that. He said the border was 12km. It's about 6 km and takes 10 minutes.
On the Brazil side to be stamped out it took about 35 minutes waiting in a line of about 20 people.
You walk across a bridge and on the Bolivian side there were about 20-25 people in line at about 10:30AM. The line barely moved for 40-45 minutes and then it speeded up. When I got to the counter as an American they require a lot of documentation to get a visa. Other Europeans, Japanese did not have this issue. For US citizens you need:
-passport and a copy of passport to give them
-copy for them of your Yellow Fever vaccination-think that's across the board for everyone
-print out of Bolivian hotel reservation
-print out of flight itinerary
-a copy of your credit card. I pushed back and they relented and had me fill out some questions; occupation, annual salary, emergency contact information and email
-2 passport photos
-U.S. $160 -the bills need to be brand new crisp bills and only US dollrs, no other currency. They will not accept money with creases, ink spots, markings of any kind, or tears. The woman at the exchange place across the street told me that a man the day before from the U.S. paid US $50 and they thought I got ripped off. But the border people insisted on $160 amount. That's for a 90 day visa good for 10 years. I tried to explain I would only need a one time 30 day but they said no.
When I went to make a couple copies of documents across the street when I returned less than 10 min later the one person who could issue me a visa left for lunch. I was told to wait 1 hour but they were gone over 90 minutes.
They let me get a taxi to the train station in the meantime as I was worried about tickets selling out. I arrived during the noon hour and the office was closed until 3, but the taxi driver told me they were sold out. My book had said tickets sell fast so maybe it was true. He took me to the bus station and I got a ticket for a bus leaving at 19:30 for Santa Cruz for B$100. A lot of bus companies sell tickets for that time. It takes 9-10 hours. The bus was large and comfortable. My bus got into Santa Cruz at 4:40am. I recommend it. It's cheaper than the train and faster. Not sure why the train is pushed as the only option in the books.
A taxi from the border to the bus station should only be B$5. The first taxi driver waiting at the border ripped me off big time, quoted a price and then during the ride said he meant Brazilian Reals and doubled the fare in Bolivars. a taxi I got later in the day less than 3 blocks from the border charged me B$5 to the bus station. Confirm currency with driver first. And then to the train station is only a little further so should be no more than B$10 at most.
In total it took me 4 hours to get the visa but part of that was me trying to work out the money. They rejected most of my bills and when I went out to get cash from a ATM all the banks were closed and machines down due to a system issue with the internet so I ran into some bad luck. Though as an American try to get there early and have all your documents and it will hopefully be better.
[ Edit: Edited on 09-Jun-2015, at 08:47 by LAlameda ]