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One of Bolivia’s nine provincial capitals, Oruro is as authentic as Bolivian towns get. Its population is 90% indigenous; they are business owners, hardworking miners, students, street vendors and families. It was here that current president, Evo Morales, attended colegio, or high school, and where the legendary tin-miner, Simón Patiño, earned his claim as one of the world’s wealthiest men. Some say that Oruro is a present-day display of faded glory, but that is to discredit is cultural strides, numerous museums, the famous Carnaval celebrations and much more.


It’s true that Oruro was once a thriving mining town, so rich in natural minerals that at one point it was considered the world’s most productive tin source. However, in the early 1950s the abundance of tin exportation and inequality in wealth distribution brought about a public outcry for the nationalization of the mines. The labor uprisings that came and ultimate creation of the Corporación Minera de Bolivia did not last more than 30 years, as the Oruro mining district essentially shut down in the 1980s due to disappointing government inefficiency.


Present-day Oruro may not boast much tin-production, but its pre-Lent celebration of Carnaval makes it a destination for nationals and internationals alike (if only for one weekend a year...). Elaborate costumes and decadent celebrations are such a juxtaposition to the normal every day life of orueños, who host a food and goods market down the center of their main avenue and whose normal tourism is no more than backpackers looking for the starting point of Bolivia’s train line. Aside from the train, Oruro is host to a bustling bus station, the spot where Bolivia’s flag was first raised, a cultural music and dance heritage and a vibrant adolescent community that seem to run the nightlife.


Other places nearby Oruro: Tupiza, Uyuni, Salar de Uyuni and Southwestern Lakes, Reserva Nacional de Flora y Fauna Tariquia, Villazón, Tarija, Reserva Biologica Cordillera de Sama, San Vicente and Bermejo.

By Margaret Rode
A self-professed city girl, sassy staff writer Margaret Rode hails from Chicago where she received Bachelor degrees in English Literature and Spanish...
22 Jun 2009

Top Hotels in Oruro

Hotel Eden

For the past couple of years, optimistic guidebooks have included Hotel Eden in their Oruro accommodations options with the hope of it being open "at the time of publication"... and V!VA is no ...
Oruro, Bolivia

International Park Hotel

The International Park Hotel is the most convenient place for your stay in Oruro--if you don't plan on stepping foot outside of the bus terminal. With its entrance on the second floor of the dull ...
Oruro, Bolivia

Grand Hotel Sucre

While the much anticipated Hotel Eden remains incomplete and unopen, the long established Gran Hotel Sucre remains the best place to stay in town. The rooms in this large hotel (125 beds) all have ...
Oruro, Bolivia

Hotel Samay Wasi

Oruro’s Hostelling International-affiliated hotel is close to the train station, though it's not exactly the typical backpacker scene. The price is higher than the budget-traveler (and typical ...
Oruro, Bolivia

Residencial Bonaventura

Straight out the bus terminal doors and across Calle 21 de Enero, Residencial Bonaventura is one of many basic accommodations to consider if just passing through Oruro via bus. While there is no ...
Oruro, Bolivia

Residencial San Miguel

Ideally located on a quiet street half way between the city center and train station, Residencial San Miguel is one of Oruro’s better budget options. San Miguel’s dated, sparsely-furnished single ...
Oruro, Bolivia

Residencial Real

Within easy reach of both the train station and the city's restaurants and attractions, Residencial Real is a cheap and interesting place to stay. The rooms are arranged around a glass roofed loft ...
Oruro, Bolivia

Check Out the Restaurants of Oruro

Vida Sana

Vida Sana is an extremely welcoming, somewhat haphazardly run, small restaurant right in the bustling heart of Oruru. Although the staff may forget to mention until serving your friends that the dish ...
Oruro, Bolivia

Bravo's Pizza

132166One thing is for sure, you'll have no problem finding Bravo's Pizza; once you get within half a block the huge red lettering of their sign (at night it glows!) will guide you towards this pizzeria. ...
Oruro, Bolivia

El Huerto

This veggie restaurant in Oruro serves up massive almuerzos for an ridiculously cheap price ($1.50 / 10 Bs.). Set meals include soup and small salad, an entree, dessert, and a drink--enough to stuff ...
Oruro, Bolivia

Tip Top Ice Cream

To cool down on a sunny Oruro afternoon for just a dollar or two, swing by Tip Top Ice Cream. There’s a full menu of juices, but the real reason to go is the tantalizing homemade ice cream that ...
Oruro, Bolivia

Confeteria Center

On the northeast corner of Plaza 10 de Febrero, the Confeteria Center is marked with a Huari sign and large glass windows. This cafe has a short menu of sandwiches and meat plates (like churrasco and ...
Oruro, Bolivia
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