Potosi Travel Guide
Why? No visit to Bolivia is complete without a holiday in
Potosi, the sky-high city (the world's highest) where silver mines
and churches are the main attractions. A visit to one of the
co-operative silver mines is a must, and a bitter-sweet experience,
as one discovers that production methods have not changed much
since the Spanish colonial times. The city is a museum of Spanish
colonial architecture and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
When? When you pack for a holiday in Potosi, whatever time of year, make sure you have plenty of warm clothing as the altitude of this city ensures it is cold all year round, and bouts of icy rain are common.
Who for? Adventurous travellers who are intent on tracing the history of Spanish colonialism in South America will find satisfaction in a holiday in Potosi, and in tracing the rise and fall of this once wealthy city.
More Info: Health and safety are vital considerations for anyone travelling to Bolivia, so it is useful to consult the Basics section of our comprehensive Potosi travel guide before planning a holiday in Potosi. The guide also details attractions in the city, and gives details of events and attractions.
Potosi © Judith Duk
UNESCO declared this a World Heritage Site because of its rich history and Spanish architecture. Potosi is known as the Imperial City and is situated at the foot of Cerro Rico (Rich Mountain) famed for its mineral wealth. The Spanish created one of the most important and populous cities on the continent, after the discovery of the silver-rich mountain in 1545. Situated at an altitude of more than 13,123ft (4,000m), it is also the highest city in the world although not quite the thriving metropolis that it once was, though there is still a Spanish saying: valer un Potosi (to be worth a Potosi), meaning to be worth a fortune.
The architecture is its main attraction with a distinct Spanish influence evident in the houses and beautiful churches. There are an astounding 80 colonial churches in the city filled with art and artefacts from their history, notably the Convent of San Francisco and the Convent of Santa Teresa.
A visit to the city would be amiss without a trip to the mines of Cerro Rico where miners, working in appalling conditions, chip away at the rock walls in the hope of riches to come.
Become our Potosi Travel Expert
We are looking for contributors for our Potosi travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Potosi or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.
Tour operator G.A.P Adventures has for the past 14 years specialised in unique, small group, grassroots adventure travel experiences in the world's most wild places, going off the beaten track into the heart of the destination to meet the locals who call it home. G.A.P. Adventures offers several expeditions to the Bolivian Amazon and Andes.
Intrepid Travel, one of the world's leading suppliers of small group adventures, focuses on getting off the beaten track, interacting with the locals and having real life experiences throughout Bolivia.