Jaza's World Trip

How to catch a plane in Bolivia

Today, Chris and I flew back from Rurrenabaque to La Paz, with the affordable and reasonably-safe Transporte Aéreo Militar (TAM), the "military airline" of Bolivia. Slightly cheaper than Amaszonas, and just as efficient. After going through the experience of catching a plane in Bolivia twice now, I feel I should write up some instructions on how it's done, for anyone else who's interested in using Bolivia's fine commercial aviation services.

  1. Buy your plane tickets the day before you want to fly, preferably in the afternoon. The only available flight is the 8:30am flight, so take that one. Go in person, and pay in cash (preferably in US dollars).
  2. Turn up at the airline's office at 7:30am the next morning, as instructed.
  3. Wait ½ an hour for the airline office to open its doors. Check in your baggage.
  4. After another ½ an hour, be informed that your flight will be delayed by about 2 hours.
  5. Find a good café nearby, and have a nice, long breakfast. No hurry.
  6. Return to the airline's office after 2 hours. Wait another ½ an hour, then catch the shuttle bus to the airport.
  7. With no further information as to why the flight is delayed, wait another 1½ hours in the airport.
  8. Finally catch the plane, after a record extremely-short delay of only 4 hours.
  9. Arrive back in La Paz, 3000m higher than the place you took off from, and almost pass out from lack of oxygen and from the sudden cold.
Filed in: RurrenabaqueFlightsJust for funLateTedious