Tag Archives: bus
08. Feb, 2010

Rio de Janeiro by Bus

Rio de Janeiro by Bus

Arriving at immigration at 11am, the immigration office was closed until 2pm. The next bus to leave was 3pm to Campo Grande, but I doubt I would make that bus. The line for immigration, once open, was hours long.

Finally, 2pm came and immigration opened. Five hours after arriving in Corumbá, I was processed and legally in Brazil. What I was finding out, was that Brazil was full of bureaucracy, and was a country that was going to be very expensive also. A bus ride to Camp Grande was 70 reales. 270 reales to Rio de Janeiro. If you get and exchange rate of 1.9 reales to a dollar, you are doing very very good! So you do the math!

I have just travel half way across the continent, from Lima to Brazil for about $50USD. Now it cost me 3 times that to travel across a small part of Brazil. Not even half the distance I had already covered. Food was also very expensive. Doing simple comparison, it seemed like Brazil was about 7 times more expensive than Bolivia.

The weather was a nice 37C. A wonderful change from being atop Huayna Potosi at -15C. But was it worth it for the astronomically price increase? I guess only time will tell.

Another 6 hours went by after arriving in Corumba, and we were boarding our bus to Campo Grande. I’ll give Brazil one thing; their buses are very nice! First class! And better than I have ever seen in any of the America’s, including the USA. Maybe that was why the price was so high. Anyways, we boarded the bus at 5pm, and were to arrive in Campo Grande a little after midnight.

Eventually we arrived in Campo Grande at 1am. The bus terminal here was first class also! The nicest and cleanest I have ever seen. It reminded me of the JFK terminal in NYC when it was new.

I couldn’t sleep all night, so I stayed up all night and people watched while charging my laptop and listening to my iPod Shuffle.

Around 8am the ticket counters started to open, and it was time to get an idea of the price and how long it would take to get to where. Pricing in Brazil was about 7 fold what it has been so far. I’ll be going broke really fast. One bus ticket to Rio was 230 reales and it was another 24 hours ride. With no choice, I got the ticket and set about waiting a few more hours till the bus was ready to leave at noon.

The trip was uneventful, but first class, and we made many stops along the way for food. No street food here. We always stopped at buffets and convent stores within Brazil. Soon, I hope, I’ll be in Rio de Janeiro.

05. Feb, 2010

Traveling Across Bolivia by Bus

Traveling Across Bolivia by Bus

After saying our goodbyes to Vanessa and Jesse, we headed towards the bus terminal. Of course, it started raining along the way. Or maybe I should say pouring! And lucky us, it even started to hail too! What this means, is that streets are totally flooded and traffic comes to a complete standstill at certain points. The city bus we were on, was never going to make it in time for us to catch our other bus to Santa Cruz. So we hopped out of our bus, flagged down a taxi and got to the bus terminal with about 2 minutes to spare. Drenched and soaking wet, we rain into the bus terminal hoping to catch our bus on time. Turns out, the bus had been delayed another hour because of the rain. So we still had plenty of time to kill.

Once on our to Santa Cruz bus, the ride was basically uneventful. Paying an extra 10 Bolivianos to get a semi-cama bus was well worth it. Approximately 18 hours and 130 B’s later, we arrived in Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz has a very large and nice terminal. You can take the bus or the train into Brazil from here. Everyone wants to help. Or maybe I should say, everyone wants your business. This may be intimidating, or it may be good, depending on how you look at it. Since competition abounds, prices get competitive. We found the prices ranging from 130 B’s to 80 B’s to get from Santa Cruz to the border town of Quijarro. We opted for the 80 B bus which left at 5:30pm. We had 7 hours to kill. So we checkout our bags in and decided to explore the town.

Santa Cruz really has nothing to offer. Right across from the bus terminal is what looked like a very nice hotel. A beautiful reception room, a pool, restaurant area, and more. We asked, and the price was 35 B’s per night, or $5USD. Gotta love Bolivia and it’s prices. This was obviously upper end, because you can get hostels in La Paz for 10 B. Continuing our journey, we walked a couple miles and found a Grocery Store with all the modern conveniences of home. I knew we had another long night ahead of us, so I bought some water, peanuts, yogurt, and a donut. Half was for lunch, the other half I would save for my overnight bus trip.

It was hot, finally! A nice change from being cold, and at altitude for so long. The walk back to the bus terminal found me pretty wet with sweat. But I wasn’t complaining. Once in the bus terminal, I still had another hour till the bus was to depart. Sitting on a bench, with 500 other people around me, eating peanuts, INTERPOL police picked me out and decided to check my documentation. Why I was targeted, I have no idea. But lucky for me, it was an uneventful 15 minutes of interrogation. Soon, I was out of the INTERPOL office and boarding the bus to Quijarro.

This bus was a little different. Right away we knew why it was only 80 B. It was closer to a chicken bus than a real bus. If you know what an OMSA is, it was a little like that. The seat I picked out was specifically for watching the TV. Except that there was no TV there. Instead, there was a speaker tied above my head with strips of an inner tube from an old tire. Oh well, the price was right.

The night was long and rough. The road was muddy, full of water in some places, not paved, and bumpy as can be. Time after time we would stop, or even back up, to allow other oncoming vehicles to pass. And when the road was good, we stopped again and again. This time by drug enforcement agency. Most the time they just wanted to see the documentation of the bus driver and check the baggage. But once, we all were required to exit the bus. They checked everyone’s bags, then checked everyone’s documentation as well. Talking to one of the drug enforcement agents, they explained that along all the roads that exit the country they set up these spot check road blocks. They are looking for coca, marijuana, or other ingredients used to make cocaine. Thirty minutes later, we were on our way again.

Finally we arrived in Quijarro. From that bus depot there, it’s another 5 B taxi right to the border. The border of Bolivia and Brazil is where you get your passport stamped for exiting Bolivia. You still must continue on into the town of Corumba, Brazil to go through passport control and eventually get checked into the country of Brazil. After Quijarro, we walked across the border and waited for the local bus to Corumba. It was a 30 minute ride to Corumba and the immigration office. One bus takes you to a main terminal. And from there, you need to catch another bus to the immigration office and main bus depot.

It was a long 2 days full of sleepless nights, bumpy roads, and sleeping in bus terminals. But finally, we made it to Brazil. Another 2 days or so, and we would finally be in Rio de Janeiro.

28. Jan, 2010

Next Stop Bolivia

Next Stop Bolivia

Che GuevaraAfter a week in Peru, it was time to continue our adventure. Next stop, Bolivia! Early in the morning, we walk down to the bus station in search of transportation from Puno to La Paz, Bolivia. There are only two buses that depart every day. One leaves at 7:30am and the other at 2:30pm. That’s simple, I was sleeping at 7:30am so 2:30pm it is.

Not so fast Skippy! This is South America and nothing is really as it seems. Service into La Paz has been suspended because of social unrest, and it has become to dangerous to drive across the border! The exact words given to us by the bus company was “muy peligroso”.

Plan “B”. Catch a bus to Copacabana (which is right across the Bolivian border) and worry about getting to La Paz from there.

2 o’clock rolls around and we check out of our hostel and head towards the bus terminal. No really excited about walking again will our backpacks, we catch a ride on a local taxi.

The taxi’s here are cool. A cross between a rickshaw and a pimped out tricycle! Two people can sit in the front, and the driver sits in the back and peddles. It’s like a backwards pedicab. Anyways, we finally get to the bus station and are on our way towards Copacabana. Besides being hit up for a HUGE retaliation visa at the border, everything went fine.

Once across the border we made our way to Copacabana and found a bus going to La Paz. Twenty Boliviano’s, and three hours later we were in La Paz! The bus driver didn’t feel like going all the way to the bus terminal, and instead, dropped us off in some criminally infested ghetto. Along with a couple of Argentinian’s we meet, we flagged down a cab and got out of there.

Finally, over 10 hours later, we were in La Paz and made our way to Vanessa and Jessie’s place. Our new couch surfing best friends!