Potosí, located at 3826 meters above sea level, is one of the highest cities in the world. Next to the city is the Cerro Rico whose history dates back to the Spanish conquest years. It was here that the greatest wealth of Bolivia was extracted during the time of the colony.

To visit Potosí is to know part of the history of America, to enjoy the city with its colonial buildings and to discover the life of the miners of Cerro Rico.

Potosí (Villa Imperial de Potosí) was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

How to get to Potosí?
Potosí has a new bus terminal to which different companies that connect the city with the rest f the country arrive and depart.

Estimated time of travel by bus from and to Potosí: La Paz 11 hours. Sucre 3 hs. Uyuni 7 hs. Oruro 8 hs. Villazón 11 hs. Tarija 14 hs.


Other attractions in Potosí

This volcanic lagoon is very frequented to take thermal baths with healing properties. It is 25 km. Of Potosí and can be easily reached in “micros” and “combis”.
They were built by order of the Spanish Viceroy in the sixteenth century with very advanced techniques for his time. In the lagoons they serve to accumulate rainwater for the domestic consumption. They are located 8 km from Potosí and in the area can be different walks.
Achieved in the colonial era, stone arches, among mixed with infinity of temperatures in its sulfurous thermal. It is 18 km to Oruro.

Potosí Cathedral

It was built in 1808 and used stones and bricks, has a central dome and two towers. The Cathedral of Potosí is one of the most characteristic temples of the Neoclassical architectural style. Inside there are important religious relics of gold and silver. Also an organ donated by Simon I. Patino. One sector functions as a museum of religious art.

Tower of the Company

One of the symbols of the city is the Tower of the Company, a religious convent of the eighteenth century, its construction was conceived as a triumphal arch with five openings, thirty-two salomonic columns and three domes of half orange. The Tower can be visited and from its summit you get a privileged view of Potosí. Hours: 8.30 to 12.00 and from 14.30 to 18.00.

Mint house

It is the main museum of Potosí. The building was built in 1759 to function as a mint. Today it is a museum with different rooms devoted to painting and the arts, history, numismatics and machinery to coin coins. The building with its courtyards, cedar doors, ceilings and sales is an architectural attraction not to be missed.

Church and Convent of San Francisco

The present building began to be built in 1707, The church of San Francisco has a tower of two bodies, a beautiful cover and an outer altarpiece for the cross, interiorly maintained its baroque style ornamentation, with architectural work in wood as The retablos and pulpit. In the temple we contemplate the image of the Christ of the True Cross, that dates from year 1550 by what is the oldest one of Bolivia. Inside there is a museum that can be visited from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. and from 2.30 p.m. to 5.00 p.m., on Saturdays only in the morning.

Visit to the Cerro Rico mines

An unforgettable tour is to visit the mines of Cerro Rico. In the hill there are different mining cooperatives that extract minerals such as zinc and lead in a rather primitive way. Many of these cooperatives receive tourists, so some travel agencies have a convention to bring visitors. The visit to the mines shows the harsh reality of the miners, who work very hard in extreme conditions, often suffering serious or fatal accidents, to extract the mineral that they change for little money.

The Pailaviri mine (4200Mt.) Belonging to COMIBOL, is the oldest mine in Potosí, in continuous work since 1545; There the silver was spread and the tin is now exploded. The hill came to have more than 5,000 bocaminas and many of them interconnected.

Before visiting the mine is recommended to pass through the Mining Market, where they sell from spikes, shovels, coca leaves, alcohol to wicks and cartridges of dynamite. In the market it is a good idea to buy some present to take to the miners, like for example coca.

Some tourists arrive at the mines on their own, taking some “combi” from the center of Potosí and on the hill arrange the tour with the miners themselves. This option is freer but also riskier.

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