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South America > Bolivia > Altiplano (Bolivia) > Potosí (department) > Tupiza

Tupiza

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Tupiza is a small town in the Potosí Department of Bolivia.

Understand[edit]

The town is close to the border with Argentina and also gateway for the Salar de Uyuni tours, and therefore has its fair share of tourists staying over night or passing through.

Get in[edit]

By train[edit]

Tupiza has connections to Villazón on the Argentinian border and north to Uyuni and Oruro. Ask at the train station for the latest departure times.

As of July 2019 the Villazón-Tupiza section of the line is out of service, but word is it will be back in August.

By bus[edit]

Bus schedules tend to change regularly, but Tupiza is well connected and has daily buses from/to all major and surrounding cities.

  • Villazón – Between 04:30-21:00, hourly (or when full) vans/servis/rapiditos run between the two cities, Bs. 20. There is also a 20 people minibus leaving Tupiza at 10:00, Bs. 15. 1-1.5 hr.
  • Uyuni – Buses leave for Tupiza leave at 06:00 and 20:00. Bs. 40-60, 5-6 hr. They stop in Atocha after just 1.5 hr, and often wait for 1 hr before continuing, even if they say "direct". Take the chance to see the nearby mine and stroll around a little. There is a market west of the rail tracks already in the morning as well. From there to Tupiza it is another 2 hr. As of July 2019 this last stretch is over very rough roads and dry riverbeds, but highway construction is underway. Rapiditos also run this route, Bs. 30 to Atocha and Bs. 60 to Uyuni, but you may have to change buses and wait in Atocha.
  • Potosí - Multiple buses, at least three every day (5-6 hr), both during day and night. Expresso Tupiza (sometimes written as ExP) seems to be a reliable option for around Bs. 40.
  • There are also at least 6 direct buses to La Paz (Bs. 80) and at least 3 to Cochabamba daily, mostly in the afternoon/evening, stopping at Potosí (6-7 hours, Bs. 40-50) and Oruro on the way.
  • Furthermore, at least three daily buses from/to Tarija.

Get around[edit]

Map of Tupiza

Tupiza is a small town and the center is very walkable.

Weirdly enough, Tupiza features many tuk-tuks (aka rickshaws), which are certainly cheaper than taxis and can be used to reach the surrounding attractions like El Angosto and Entre Rios.

Outside of the town there exist many hiking and walking opportunities, as explained below. For reliable trails in this region, consult OpenStreetMap, which is used by many mobile Apps like OsmAnd (complex with many add-ons) and MAPS.ME (easy but limited).

See[edit]

The beautiful surrounding of Tupiza is full of quebradas, cañones and valles. It's excellent for exploring by foot, but it's also possible to go on horseback, mountain-bike or by jeep.

  • 1 El Cañon.
  • 2 Cañon del Inca.
  • 3 Valle de los Machos.
  • 4 Puerta del Diablo.
  • 5 Cerro Elefante.
  • 6 El Angosto (El Tunel) (Catch one of the tuk-tuks (Bs. 30-50) or any minibus (Bs. 5) to El Angosto or Entre Rios.).
  • 7 Entre Rios.
  • Mirador Cristo
  • Cerro la Cruz

Do[edit]

  • Canyon Trail. A great day trail that covers El Cañon, Cañon del Inca, Puerta del Diablo, Valle de los Machos and the Geoglificos runs from the northwest of the town around west and back into the town from the south. Check out OpenStreetMap for the exact trail.
  • Horseback riding. There are great tours of the surrounding landscape, which looks a lot like the American southwest of western movies. The tour agencies have a syndicate: 30 Bs per hour. Ask for leather leggings. Bs. 150 for 3 hr.
  • If you'd like to be a little more independent or economical, hiking or biking along the same trails as the horses is also an option. See above for navigation details.

Buy[edit]

  • Tupiza has a biweekly local market stretching down from just outside the train station. Mainly consists of electronics, cheap clothes, and random knick-knacks. There are also many food kiosks and vendors past the main strip. Interesting drink and jello vendors, as well as vitamin quinoa juice.
  • 1 Sunday market (in the northwest of the town). Evening. While you wonder what is happening on Sunday in the town, all the people head for this market in the northwestern corner of town. Great and inexpensive food and all other things you can think of.

Eat[edit]

  • Pastipizza. Moderate, bad service.
  • Ristorante Italiana, Florida 272. For Italian food
  • Il Bambino, Florida y Santa Cruz. The Bs. 10 set lunches are incredible popular with the locals.
  • Cafe El Dobende, Calle Florida No. 29. A cozy coffeeshop with fantastic coffee (4-7Bs.) and salteño empanadas (3Bs). Specifically, the cafe con leche and the cappuccino are delicious. The owner is very welcoming, and they have a variety of Spanish books on their shelf. Bs. 2-10.
  • Escargo, Calle Avaroa y Serrano. almuerzo. Daily (copious) set menu of 4 courses. Bs. 20.
  • Market, upper level. Local food at local prices. from Bs. 7 (negotiable).

Drink[edit]

On weekends there could be some local fiesta, ask around.

  • Diver...Gente, Florida (One block off the square). Lights of all colors are flashing, the DJ mostly trusts his DVDs. A bottle of booze Bs. 100.

Sleep[edit]

  • Hotel Mitru (Av Regimento Chicas 187), +591 2-694-3001. Probably the best in town. Rooms vary from budget to luxury. There is a nice swimming pool. The staff is friendly and many of the rooms need renovation. But the included breakfast is fantastic - a large buffet spread of many things. There is WiFi in the rooms, but it can be slow at times. There is also one computer available - shared among 60 guests, so it's invariably always in use. Bs. 200 for double.
  • [formerly dead link] Valle Hermoso, Avenida Pedro Arraya nº478. Two HI hostels (and a travel agency). Cheap, clean and well maintained doubles and dorms. 10% hi discount. Has WiFi but all run from a single mobile (sim card) so very very slow, email took all night to load. Bs. 100 for double (10% HI discount available).
  • Tupiza Hostal, Calle Florida No.10, +591 6945240. Close to both the bus station and train terminal, as well as the main square. Has a lovely courtyard with a fig tree, and a kitchen - though not very well equipped, this seemed to be one of the few hostels with a usable kitchen in town. Friendly staff (father and little son), and interesting gringo visitors. The door is watched 24/7 although at night the doorman is asleep, so ring persistently and/or call ahead if arriving on the 4am train. Rooms are clean, and blankets are provided. Bs. 25 per night.
  • La Torre Hotel, Av. Chichas 220, +591-2-6942633. Check-in: 09:00, check-out: 11:30. This is very nice hotel, staff is very friendly. They also offer 4 day tours but these should not be used as they simply take a commission and hand you off to any driver they can find
  • 1 Posada El Aborigen, Avenida Pedro Arraya 492, +591 72942633, . Check-out: 11. Family-run hostel / hotel just a couple blocks from the bus station. Recently renovated and spotless. Goyo, the owner, has a great music collection and some antique radios. Wi-Fi and hot shower work great. Two double rooms, a triple room, and a room with a double bed (cama matrimonial) share a bathroom. The dining room doubles as Marcelina Restobar, offering typical Bolivian fare for breakfast and hamburgers, empanadas, and other food all day. There's a large yard out back with tables and hammocks. Bs. 60 / person.

Cope[edit]

It seems common in Tupiza that the Salar de Uyuni tour is priced dependent on the number of people on the tour. However, do not fall for that trick, it is just a way to make more money off you. It is the tour company's job to find enough people, not yours. Your reference price should be the one for a 6 people tour. And from that "official price" actually you should take another 20-30% off to have the fair price. Best to tell them your price, and if they are interested, they shall contact you via WhatsApp. Do that with 6 or 7 companies (and if you got strong nerves even for leaving the next day), and certainly some will get back to you agreeing on the price. The price from San Pedro de Atacama is about US$150, but Bolivia is not Chile and should be less than that. The lowest prices from Uyuni are Bs. 600 (plus Bs. 50 for the bus until San Pedro). If you cannot get a similar price and feel you are overcharged, take the 5 hr and head to Uyuni—there are much more competing companies and number of tourists there, guaranteeing you the best price.

Connect[edit]

Most (newer) accommodations will have Wi-Fi for its guests.

Other than that there are many internet cafes which are reasonably priced but very slow at peak times.

Go next[edit]

  • Salar de Uyuni – There are several tour agents offering the 3-4 day tour finishing in Uyuni. Make sure you are well acclimatized if you're doing the trip from here, since you'll go from about 3,000 m to 4,200 m and sometimes even scratch the 5,000-m mark, climbing 1,200 m in just a few hours.
  • Tarija, Potosi or Sucre – These would be you next stops depending on your overall time and interests.
  • Villazón or Tarija – Your next destinations if you have finished Bolivia and are heading for Argentina or Paraguay.

There are also trains to both Villazon, Uyuni and Oruro every other day.


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