Bolivia has the most incredible - yet sometimes unusual - places to visit; one of them is the (still active) Potosi Silver Mine. Start off at the Miners’ Market, where you can get a gift for the miners: whether it is coca leaves or cigarettes, it will be greatly appreciated. Once in the mine, you will get to witness the poor conditions that these miners work under. However, the miners are proud of the mine, and are always happy to have visitors and willing to tell their interesting stories.
We will meet at the Big Deal Tours' office.
Our first stop will be to pick up the safety clothing and equipment. Later, we’ll stop at the Miners' Market, where you can buy a few presents for the miners, such as coca leaves, soda, cigarettes or dynamite.
Continuing on, we’ll next visit a refinery plant, "The Engines", the place where minerals from the mines are purified using different machinery and chemical reactions. Later, we’ll stop briefly at a location with great views of the city and of the majestic Cerro Rico.
We’ll then arrive at the highlight of the visit, the mines "Rosario Bajo" and "Candelaria Baja", both of which belong to the Cooperativa Unificada. We’ll enter the mines and visit different workplaces, with more than 100 miners operating on different activities. We also visit the image of El Tio, the god of the miners who owns all the wealth that exists within the mountain, a place deep inside the mines where the miners gather every Friday to make offerings and perform sacred rituals.
Please bear in mind that these are not tourist mines, but mines dating from the colonial era that are still in working use.
Note: There is no activity in the mines on Sundays and holidays.
|TOUR PRICE (All ages)||23.00 (USD)|
|08:10 - 08:20 / 13:10-13:20||Meeting point at Big Deal Tours' office|
|08:30 / 13:30||Depart to the mines|
|09:00 - 09:15 / 14:00 - 14:15||Pick up the safety clothing and equipment|
|09:15 / 14:15||Stop at the Miners’ Market|
|10:15 / 15:15||Visit a refinery plant, "The Engines", and a viewpoint|
|10:45 / 15:45||Visit the mines "Rosario Bajo" and "Candelaria Baja"|
|12:30 - 13:00 / 17:30 - 18:00||Return to the office|
- Spanish and English speaking guide
- Equipment (rubber boots, waterproof overpants and jacket, helmet and electric headlamp)
- Personal expenses
- Handkerchief / headscarf handy
- Gifts for miners (not obligatory)
- Comfortable and sturdy clothes
- Handkerchief / headscarf handy
- Walking shoes
- Bottle of water
- Extra cash
This tour is not possible to operate for children under 12 years old, or adults over 70 years old. Claustrophobic people and those with asthma or other medical conditions should not enter the mine.
Cancellation or changes of this tour:
CHANGES: It is FREE to change the tour date before 5:00 pm (La Paz time) the day before the tour begins.
No Shows & Cancellations of this tour - If you cancel before 5:00 pm (La Paz time) the day before the tour or earlier, a 60% administration fee (+ the card fee). After this time, there is a 100% no show or cancellation fee.
You must email email@example.com (include the name of the tour and the reservation number) to cancel this tour or to make any changes.
What should I bring to the tour?
You should bring your camera, a bottle of water, extra snacks, extra money (for tips and personal expenses), walking shoes, and have a handkerchief/ headscarf handy. Take comfortable and sturdy clothes, such as waterproof clothing, a thermal shirt, a rainproof/windproof jacket, and long pants/trousers.
What kind of weather can we find in Potosi?
Potosi has a cold and dry climate, typical of the mountains, with occasional snowfall. On average, the warmest month is November, the coolest month is July, and the wettest month is January.
Who can do this tour?
Everyone, except for children under 12 years old, or adults over 70 years old, claustrophobic people, and those with asthma or other medical conditions.
When is the best time to go?
The dry season is the best time to travel to Potosi (from May to October) due to the better road conditions, generally sunny skies, and warm day time temperatures (but really cold at night). Also, note that on Sundays and holidays there is less mining activity, which is the main attraction of the tour.
Will I have problems with altitude sickness on this tour?
Altitude sickness can catch many travellers a little bit off guard. Not everyone gets sick in high altitudes, and it is difficult to predict who is likely to be badly affected by it. For most people, it is nothing more than a headache and a dizzy sensation that diminishes over a short period of time, 1 to 2 days for most people. If you want to limit your chances of getting sick, there are a few things you can do. Firstly, do not fly directly into high altitude - proceed slowly, allowing your body time to acclimatise as you ascend gradually. However, for many that is not possible, so it’s important to drink lots of water, and to slow down! This sounds simple, but both of these things are very important. Your body is struggling because you don’t have enough oxygen, so avoiding any strenuous activity is a good idea. Chew some coca leaves - the native people of South America have been chewing coca for centuries, thanks to its ability to alleviate mild altitude sickness symptoms. Coca leaves can be bought in any supermarket, and even souvenir shops or street stalls. Take altitude sickness pills (Soroche): these are sold over the counter all over Peru and Bolivia, and are just a few dollars. If you are flying straight into altitude over 2500 metres without spending any time at an intermediate elevation, and you’re worried about getting sick, you can ask your doctor for more specific and stronger altitude sickness medication in advance. In the rare case that your symptoms are more severe than a headache and mild dizziness, you should descend in altitude and seek medical assistance.
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