Today these huge rusted out machines stand useless—many of them painted with graffiti, many lacking details, but still attracting a number of curious visitors. Some hundred years ago things were different – these machines were operating steam trains that transported minerals for export from La Paz to the Pacific ports of Chile. But times have changed, the industry declined, and the no longer necessary trains were abandoned forever. That is how the Bolivian "Cemeterio de Trenes" emerged.
This bizarre site is located just next to the world's largest salt flat Salar de Uyuni which is accessible during the dry season between May and October when the roads are drivable.
Photographers appreciate the Cemeterio de Trenes as a visually captivating place. Another great thing is that this is a very tangible landmark—at your own risk, you can climb atop the train cars or go inside them and take pictures in one of the abandoned compartments. If you don't manage to get to the Train Cemetery during early or late hours (before 8 am or after 5 pm), you are likely to be there alongside other tourists and you will have to wait to take the perfect picture.
When is the best time to visit the Train Cemetery in Bolivia?
The ideal period to visit the Train Cemetery in Bolivia is during the dry season - between May and October. The dry season enables good road conditions that lead to the site, unlike the rainy season when floods may block the access routes. Therefore, visitors should plan their trip accordingly, to enable a smooth experience without the rainy-season travel setbacks. Show more
Where is the Train Cemetery located in Bolivia?
In the southwestern Bolivian town of Uyuni, the Train Cemetery rests beside the largest salt flat in the world - Salar de Uyuni. It is approximately a 10-15 minute stroll from the town's center, thus conveniently located for tourists who can access it easily while touring the area. Show more
What is the history behind the Train Cemetery in Bolivia?
The Train Cemetery that lies in Bolivia is a potent reminder of the once-bustling mining and railroading industries. A century past, steam trains moved minerals for export between La Paz and Chilean Pacific ports. As mining slowly declined, the trains were abandoned, and some brought to Uyuni laying there abandoned in a rusted and decaying form. Show more
How can visitors access the Train Cemetery during the rainy season?
During the rainy season, floods may pose severe difficulties when accessing the Train Cemetery. Lest visitors wish to risk being stranded, they can hire a 4x4 jeep or a guided tour to gain access. The roads may prove hazardous, muddy, and some sections of the site may be off-limits for safety purposes, so visitors can plan their trip accordingly to ensure a hassle-free experience touring the Train Cemetery. Show more
What safety measures should visitors take when exploring the abandoned trains?
Exploration of the abandoned trains assumes a degree of care, and visitors must make safety paramount while touring through the Train Cemetery. Rusty metal surfaces can be hazardous, sharp, and some train parts unstable, so expect caution is necessary when exploring. Visitors should sturdy shoes and mind their footing when stepping on the rusty train tracks; climbing on top of the train cars is also risky. Lastly, visitors should carry snacks, water, and sunscreen since there are no amenities on-site. Show more