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Tupiza

Telephone Code: 02

Altitude: 2,956 m (9,698 ft)

Population: 38,337

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 Luís Fuentes y Vega, the town got its name from the Chango indigenous word “Topejsa,” 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.

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Other places nearby Tupiza: Reserva Biologica Cordillera de Sama, Reserva Nacional de Flora y Fauna Tariquia, San Vicente, Salar de Uyuni and Southwestern Lakes, Villazón, Uyuni, Oruro, Tarija 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...
18 Feb 2010

The Best Hiking in Tupiza

Hiking Around Tupiza

The landscape around Tupiza is red and rocky; it is a wilderness filled with elongated rock formations, cacti which have grown tall over time and wide, dry riverbeds. Just as much as the quaint and ...
Hiking
Tupiza, Bolivia

Quebrada de Palala and El Sillar

Possibly the most impressive of the rock formations around Tupiza, the Quebrada de Palala and El Sillar are also in a handy location, on the salt route that all jeep tours take from Tupiza to the ...
Hiking
Tupiza, Bolivia

El Cañón

Walking to the red rock formations of El Cañón from Tupiza’s city center is a short stroll, probably two or so hours roundtrip, longer if you wish to linger. To get there, head west on Calle ...
Hiking
Tupiza, Bolivia

Quebrada de Palmira and The Valle de Los Machos

The Quebrada de Palmira is likely the most popular of the hikes around Tupiza, as it’s the route tour agencies follow on walks and horse rides. Additionally, aside from El Cañón, it is the ...
Hiking
Tupiza, Bolivia

Tupiza´s Top Accomodations

Hostal Valle Hermoso

Valle Hermoso is an HI hostel conveniently located only a few meters from the bus and train stations. The hostal is family-run and the hospitality and service shown to guests is fantastic. It is ...
Hostel
Tupiza, Bolivia

Anexo Mitru

The baby sister of the larger, more posh Hotel Mitru, Anexo Mitru is still a solid choice. Rates at the Anexo are cheaper than at the main hotel, but guests are still treated to breakfast at ...
Hotel
Tupiza, Bolivia

Tupiza Hostel

Perhaps the cheapest hotel in town, the Tupiza Hostel is a surprisingly nice option for an overnight stay. The rooms, which come as singles, doubles, matrimonial, triples and quadruples, only ...
Hostel
Tupiza, Bolivia

Hotel Mitru

Hotel Mitru is considered Tupiza's most upscale option. It has a pool (which the hotel claims to be “solar heated,” but is still cold), and a great buffet breakfast is included in the room rate. ...
Hotel
Tupiza, Bolivia

Hostel Coronel Pedro Arraya y Tours

With more character than any other Tupiza hotel, the Hostel Coronel Pedro Arraya and Tours offers both accommodation and (go figure) tours . When you first walk in you will probably notice the giant ...
Hostel
Tupiza, Bolivia

Anexo Mitru

The baby sister of the larger, more posh Hotel Mitru, Anexo Mitru is still a solid choice. Rates at the Anexo are cheaper than at the main hotel, but guests are still treated to breakfast at ...
Hotel
Tupiza, Bolivia

Tupiza Hostel

Perhaps the cheapest hotel in town, the Tupiza Hostel is a surprisingly nice option for an overnight stay. The rooms, which come as singles, doubles, matrimonial, triples and quadruples, only ...
Hostel
Tupiza, Bolivia
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