Bolivia- Quijarro to Santa Cruz on the “Death Train”

Posted: July 7, 2011 in Bolivia

The infamous “Death Train” that takes people to or from Quijarro has become a legend on the traveler’s circuit in Bolivia. No one is sure where the “Death Train” got its name, but there are several commonly held  beliefs. Some say that it is because the ride is so long and bumpy a traveler wants to kill themselves. Another theory is that the mosquitoes are so bad during the rainy season, you’ll get “eaten alive” throughout the entire long trip, or contract malaria and die later. Yet another theory is that people riding on top of the train (not uncommon) fall asleep and fall to their deaths (quite uncommon). Although the two most credible options would be either because many workers died while building this railroad or the  “Death Train” got its name from the time when the train used to transport bodies after a Yellow Fever epidemic.

There are actually three trains that travel on this route

The official “Death Train” which is a cheapet most rickety option, limited toilet facillities and has no food so it is important to bring your own food and water… It takes around 21 hours!!

The second the “Oriental Express“ (seriously!!) which is the option I went for. It is better than the “Death Train,” much quicker and has more comfortable serving basic food in a dining car.

The third oprion the “FerroBus“ is the traveler’s best bet though it is the most expensive of the trains. The FerroBus is the most comfortable of the options. There is one sleeper car and one car with reclining seats. Both are air-conditioned and both serve lunch and a small breakfast.


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