Tupiza Travel Guide

Tupiza seems a few beats slower than in other Bolivian towns, making this a great place to relax for a few days.

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All the info to prepare your trip to Tupiza. How to get in, maps, activities to do,...
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Tupiza is a small town in the Potosí Department of Bolivia, close to the border with Argentina. Tupiza seems a few beats slower than in other Bolivian towns, making this a great place to relax for a few days. From Tupiza, you can organize a 5 days excursion to the Salar of Uyuni.

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By train

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.

By bus

Bus schedules tend to change regularly. There are daily buses to Villazón. Buses direct to La Paz leave daily in the afternoon, stopping at Potosí and Oruro on the way.

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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, mountainbike or by jeep. Most tour agents have simple maps (not to scale) if you want to set out on your own. You can buy a map to scale at the post office, near the Plaza.

Some places of interest are:
  • El Cañon
  • El Angosto
  • Entre Rios
  • Cerro Elefante
  • Mirador Christo
  • Puerta del Diablo
  • Valle de los Machos
  • Cerro la Cruz
Some of the tour agencies (by no means complete):
  • Valle Hermoso (Avenida Pedro Arraya nº478), offers excellent 4 days Salar de Uyuni jeep tours and horseback riding trips.
  • Tupiza Tours, (at Hotel Mitru), offers horseriding trips and 4-day Salar de Uyuni tours.
  • La Torre Tours (Regimento Chivas 220), offers amongst others tours to Salar de Uyuni.
  • El Grano de Oro, Avenida Pedro Arraya 492 Tupiza. offers different tours including a 4 day jeep tour to Salar de Uyuni. Experienced drivers, excellent food and the only tour operator from Tupiza which drove through the flooded saltflat which was a big plus (April 2012). Negative point is that they use very old jeeps which have some discomforts as not able to open (all) the windows and bad isolation so some dust will enter the jeep.
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There are great horseback riding tours of the surrounding landscape, which looks a lot like the American southwest of western movies. The tour agencies have a syndicate: 70Bs per hour, or 85Bs for a 1 person trip (prices July 2014). It’s relatively easy to join a group for a short trip of 3 or maybe 5 hours though. Ask for leather leggings.

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.

There are also many tour-operaters doing the 4 day-trip to the salt-desert of Uyuni. Think twice before booking any of these tours. You start at 3000masl, climbing 1000m the first day and another 1000m the second day. Recommended is a maximum of 300m day. Altitude sickness may end fatal. Much better to start from Uyuni (already 3700). Stay there some days to acclimate. If you feel dizzy, can hardly breath or got headache in Uyuni, don’t go!

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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.

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• Pastipizza, moderate, bad service.
• Ristorante Italiana, Florida 272, for Italian food.
• Il Bambino, Florida y Santa Cruz, the 10 Bs. setlunches are incredible popular with the locals.
• Cafe El Dobende, Calle Florida No. 29, Tupiza. A cozy coffeeshop with fantastic coffee (4-7Bs.) and salteno empanadas (3Bs.). Specifically, the cafe con leche and the cappucino are delicious. The owner is very welcoming, and they have a variety of spanish books on their shelf. This business no longer exists 02/04014 2-10Bs.
• Escargo, Calle Avaroa y Serrano, Tupiza. almuerzo. Daily (copious) set menu of 4 courses. 20Bs.
• Market, upper level. Local food at local prices from 7Bs (negociable).

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On weekends there could be some local fiesta, ask around or the Diver… Gente, Florida (A block off the square). Lights of all colors are flashing, the DJ mostly trusts his DVDs. A bottle of booze 100 Bs.

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  • Hotel Mitru, Av Regimento Chicas 187, 02-694-3001, is probably the best spot in town. Rooms vary from budget (Bs.70) to luxury (US$25 and up). 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 amongst 60 guests, so it’s invariably always in use.
  • Valle Hermoso, Avenida Pedro Arraya nº478, run two HI hostels (and a travel agency). Cheap, clean and well maintained doubles and dorms.
  • Tupiza Hostal, Calle Florida No.10, ☎ 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. 40Bs. per night.
  • La Torre Hotel, Av. Chichas 220, ☎ 591-2-6942633. checkin: 09:00 a.m.; checkout: 11:30 a.m.. This is very nice hotel, staff is very friendly.
  • Hostal Bien Te Fue, Suipacha 3. Opposite the bus terminal. Clean rooms and bathrooms, a bit cold at night. Informal restaurant downstairs. Dorm bed 35B or 45B with breakfast of coffee and crepes (prices July 2014). 35 Bs. per night (our favorite).
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Get out

There are several tour agents offering the four day trip to the Salar de Uyuni finishing in Uyuni. Make sure you are well acclimatized if you’re doing the trip this way, since you’ll go from about 3000 to 4200 m, climbing 1200 meters in just a few hours.

Furthermore there usually are daily busses to:
  • Villazon (1-2 hours, 15 Bs.)
  • Potosi (6-7 hours, 40-50 Bs.)
  • Uyuni (5-6 hours, 50 Bs.)
  • La Paz (Bolivia) (80Bs)
  • And more destinations. Ask around at the bus station for those. Not all busses leave daily because there aren’t enough people to fill the bus.
  • There are trains to both Villazon and Uyuni every other day. Last but not least, you can take a (shared) taxi to Villazon (3 hours, Bs. 25) or Uyuni (5-6 hours).

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Tupiza is a small town in the Potosí Department of Bolivia, close to the border with Argentina. Tupiza seems a few beats slower than in other Bolivian towns, making this a great place to relax for a few days. From Tupiza, you can organize a 5 days excursion to the Salar of Uyuni.

Travel and tourism in Tupiza. How to get in, maps, activities to do, where to eat and sleep. Download the Free Tupiza Travel Guide.

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Michel Piccaya


As a freelance travel photographer, Michel Piccaya has been on the road worldwide for more than 20 years, exploring the most incredible itineraries. He’s currently based in Brussels however never stays at home for a long time !

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