Telephone Code: 02
Altitude: 2,956 m (9,698 ft)
Likened to a Wild West frontier town, Tupiza owes this comparison to its spectacular southern setting and the legendary American outlaws Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, who (may or may not have) met their end not far from town . Remote, with wind-swept streets, local attractions and numerous easily accessible outdoor activities, Tupiza is a great place to while away a few days.
Founded in 1574 by Captain Don Lu√≠s Fuentes y Vega, the town got its name from the Chango indigenous word ‚ÄúTopejsa,‚ÄĚ meaning red earth. Located between the Salar de Uyuni and Argentina's Humahuaca canyon, the town is surrounded by cragged rocks that turn blood-red in the day's dying light.
Once a thriving mining settlement, Tupiza's tin and silver industry has long since dropped off. Tourism, which has boomed in recent years, is now the Tupiza's economic engine. Hotels, restaurants and tour agencies are improving in quality in response to the influx of travelers, who are drawn to the town in large part because of its proximity to Bolivia's famous salt flats. The town of Uyuni, to the north, has typically been the starting point for trips to this natural wonder, however Tupiza's easy charm, languid pace, improving amenities, as well as the countless trekking opportunities in its environs have made it an increasingly more popular start to the Southwest Circuit, than desolate Uyuni.
On the banks of the Rio Tupiza, you'll find the former country villa of Victor Carlos Aramayo, one of the most powerful mining barons of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A statue of Aramayo stands in the town's main plaza, where there are also many porticos. On a hill to the west of town, there is a large statue, El Corazon, an excellent lookout point for views of sunsets and the chameleonic countryside.
Tour agencies in Tupiza offer many excursions, including trips to the San Vicente, where Butch and Sundance allegedly were gunned down by Bolivian lawmen, and the aforementioned Salar de Uyuni. In addition you can hike, horseback ride, bike, or travel by jeep into the badlands, where you can explore gorges, dried riverbeds, and desert canyons full of cacti and startling rock formations.
Other places nearby Tupiza: Oruro, Reserva Nacional de Flora y Fauna Tariquia, San Vicente, Bermejo, Salar de Uyuni and Southwestern Lakes, Uyuni, Villaz√≥n, Tarija and Reserva Biologica Cordillera de Sama.