Back to Tupiza after an intensive but great tour in the Sud Lipez and Uyuni Salt Flats, I stayed for a few days there so to explore the surroundings of this nice little town, before leaving to Potosi, a mining city that is famous for its altitude, more than 4 000 m high.
Need a break
Thursday 1st May 2018
A quiet day, necessary after these 4 tiring days! I spent it editing the (too numerous) photos, had a walk in town, did yoga on my hostel’s rooftop… and it was enough for this day!
Tupiza is a nice and relax town, typical of Bolivia with its brick houses, its mercado central and small food stalls in the streets, its streets of earth and its tuk-tuk/taxi driving all around the city.
View over Tupiza
Wednesday 2nd May 2018
I left in the early morning to Cerro de la Cruz, a little summit overlooking Tupiza. The city is surrounded by mountains of wonderful red colours, which I could see well thanks to this little ascension. A simple walk, about 3h back and forth… easy and recommendable to see the city from above.
I then spent the afternoon on my computer for a change… I definitely took too many pictures over the last days ;)
Thursday 3rd May 2018
This morning, let’s go to the Centro Ecuestre Amazonas for a 3-hour ride in the south of the city, which is full of canyons and impressive rocks formations. Gabriela, the owner, picked me up at the hostel and we then went to pick up two English people with who I would share the ride. Once at the ranch, we took our equipment (cow-boy hats and chaps), took our horse and we were off!
The scenery was amazing from the beginning. With our clothes and such landscapes, we felt more in the United States than in Bolivia, a kind of strange feeling! We went to Puerta del Diablo where we had a first stop, and then Cañon del Inca, which we could explore on foot for a while. On the way back, our horses went much faster; they always do this when they know they come back home ;)
This area is also accessible on foot from the city centre but visiting it by horse makes it even better and I can really recommend this ranch. The ride is an easy one – even for beginners -, the staff is very nice, and the horses look like they are in good health.
Heading to Potosi
Back to the hostel, I got my stuff ready and left to the terminal, where I would take a bus to the city of Potosi. My bus was more than one hour late (normal in Bolivia) so I had time to watch life going on at the terminal… while listening to the sellers of each bus company yelling non-stop the names of their destinations (“Potosi-Potosiiiii”, “Villazon – Villazooooooon”…), quite tiring!
The ride to Potosi was a bit longer than what I expected but I spent it admiring the mountain landscapes and watching the stars in the sky: with no light in the bus nor on these sinuous roads, the conditions were perfect to enjoy the milky way. Such a delight!
I arrived in Potosi around 11 p.m., found my hostel and fell asleep immediately after such a long day.
The nice surprise of Potosi
Friday 4th May 2018
Potosi is a mining city located around 4 000 m high, at the feet of a mountain which mines are still being exploited nowadays. I had not been told a lot of good about it; that one day would be enough to visit it and that is was useless to stay more. But I was actually nicely surprised as soon as I started exploring it.
I left in the morning to visit Potosi with three other French people that I had met at the hostel during the breakfast (Bolivia is full of French, I didn’t expect to see so many). The historical centre is all with colonial architecture: houses with balconies in “bow-window” style, numerous churches and religious sites, colourful monuments…
We walked in the city up and down (Potosi is all about going up and down and the altitude can really be felt at every effort), had our lunch at the mercado central (I discovered the happiness of having a complete menu for 12 BOB, which is 1,45€) and we then went to visit the Casa de la Moneda, the most beautiful museum of the city.
The tour was indeed interesting – just too bad that our guide spoke so fast and looked so annoyed – be it for the architecture, the history (money was coined there) and the collections (paintings, stones, money, ancestral machines used to print money, etc.)
However I started to feel very tired during the visit and had to come back to the hostel at the end of the day. It was certainly the aftermath of the altitude, but I was not used to these sensations and woke up still feeling groggy.
I spent the evening on my computer and had the nice surprise to receive the visit of my friend Juan, who I had met in Cafayate. He had been volunteering since three weeks in a little village about 1h from Potosi and was in town on that evening. We told each other the latest news and he then offered me to join at this volunteering… it wasn’t hard to motivate me and I decided to follow him on the following day, heading to Mondragón.
To be continued…
Bus Tupiza – Potosi: 30 BOB – 3,60€, about 6-hour bus trip.
Hostal Valle Hermoso II in Tupiza : 60 BOB – 7,25€ for a 3-bed room with breakfast (very basic bread, tea, coffee, one fruit). Hostel with a nice patio and terrace on the rooftop. One drawback with the kitchen for which you have to ask to enter and which usage is limited.
Hostel Koala Den in Potosi: 60 BOB – 7,25€ for a 6-bed dorm with breakfast included (very good and generous with fruits, tea, coffee, pancakes, breads…). Colourful and nice hostel but very big so it has A LOT of people coming for breakfast in the morning and the rooms can be noisy depending on their location from the common room.
Food & Beverage
Lunch at the mercado central in Potosi: 12 BOB – 1,45€ for a good soup + a very copious plate (without meat for me)
3h-ride with Amazonas Ranch: 120 BOB – 14,50€. Nice team, docile but well-treated horses and easy ride. Cow-boy hats and chaps furnished. Landscapes are amazing, I really recommend!
Whatsapp contact of Gabriela (the owner): +591 67904682
Casa de la Moneda à Potosi : 40 BOB – 4,8€ – For a 1h30 guided tour, photos not authorized (unless paying an extra of 20 BOB). Interesting tour but too bad for the guide that was speaking way too fast!