Tupiza is a cool little town in Southern Bolivia, not far from the border with Argentina. It’s very much on the “gringo trail”, and is used as a base for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid tours, as well as being a start point for trips to the truely amazing Salar de Uyuni.
Visited: 22 - 24 June 2008
A couple of hours North of the hectic, unattractive border town (between Bolivia and Argentina) of Villazon is Tupiza. Tupiza is a pleasant town, and popular base for excursions to South West Bolivia’s amazing volcanic scenery combined with the Salar de Uyuni (more travel tips on the Salar in the next post).
Hotels in Tupiza
There’s plenty of hotels in Tupiza - most are cheap ones. We stayed at the Mitru Hotel (120 Bolivianos, but dorms are cheaper) - a good hotel with an inexcusably awful breakfast. With hindsight, we preferred Valle Hermoso Hostal, which costs about the same but without breakfast. There’s plenty of cheaper hostels in Tupiza in addition.
Tours from Tupiza
This region of South Bolivia is known for it’s Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid tours. It’s a bit of a marketing ploy to romanticize Tupiza as a tourism destination. Film boffs can take tours that follow the famous bandits last fews days before they were killed nearby. However, most travellers instead go on horseback riding tours, which looked great fun. Instead we went on a jeep tour - totally pointless and a waste of time.
Tupiza - the surrounding countryside is scenic and relaxing, however it gets much more adventurous and dramatic when you travel West from here.
What’s far more amazing is to use Tupiza as the starting point for tours to the Salar de Uyuni (the world’s largest salt lake/ plain) and the amazing volcanic scenery of South Western Bolivia. Tours typically last 4 days (3 nights) - there’s various agencies in town that organize such packages.
After shopping around a bit, we discovered that prices and itineraries are almost all the same with the different agencies (1000 Bolivianos per person based on a group of 5). We selected Valle Hermoso tours, as they are one of the most established of the Tupiza tour operators - we received excellent personalized service, a good guide and great food on our 4 day tour that dropped us in Uyuni. Valle Hermoso Tours also arrange various local excursions from Tupiza - see Valle Hermoso Tours website for details, or see the next post for details of our tour to the Salar de Uyuni.