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San Vicente

A bumpy three to four hour ride from Tupiza, to be frank, dusty San Vicente is nothing more than a small, isolated settlement. The scenery is as rough as the road, and at such a high altitude (4,500 m) the winds are cold and wild. San Vicente is only inhabited by 700 people, mostly military and mine security, and today, it is home to the re-opend Pan American Silver Mine.


Still, people visit.


It’s not for the natural beauty (there isn’t much), or easy access (off-the-beaten track for sure), but rather because of the story of two infamous outlaws, Robert LeRoy Parker and Harry Alonzo Lonabaugh--better known as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid--that San Vicente is even worth a mention.


Diehard fans and curious backpackers visit this little ghost town to see the unmarked graves and small adobe house where the two bandits ended their epic journey of thievery and escape. While San Vicente is used to fans coming to explore a bit of history, it’s only real tourism effort is a weather-beaten sign that reads “Here death’s Butch Kasidy Sundance the Kid”. Regardless of its minor Hollywood fame, San Vicente remains a desolate collect of clay houses and tin-roofed mining shacks, and even the most enthusiastic of Butch Cassidy followers may be disappointed.


Going via tour is the best option, as the ride is long and it could be tempting (though unemotional) to make the trip back the next day. If you’re set on sleeping there, however, you have two options. Come prepared for camping in high-altitude cold and winds, or hope the best at El Rancho Hotel (like that it’s open...). El Rachero and its attached restaurant are the town’s only options.


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

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...
10 Jun 2009

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