South America Living

Tupiza, Bolivia Travel Guide

Riding in the Anniversary of Tupiza (Aniversario de Tupiza in Spanish) Parade

The southwestern frontier town Tupiza is many travelers first stop in Bolivia, arriving via the La Quiaca, Argentina – Villazon border. It is a short two hours by bus from Villazon or three hours by train.

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Where to Eat   View Map

Tupiza is easy to navigate with most things to do and see within a six block radius – the focal point being the main market in center of town (Mercado Antonio Gilduran).   Photos & Video – Markets in Tupiza

Things to see in Tupiza include: Iglesia Matriz, Plaza Obelisco, Plaza de la Madre, Plaza A. Dominquez and Plaza El Castillin. The main plaza – with a waterfountain at its center – is two blocks from the maket and is called Plaza Principal.

There are two lookout points (‘miradors’ in Spanish) for wonderful views of the city and surrounding multi-colored Cordillero de los Chichas. Corazon de Jesus is a casual 15 minute walk from Plaza Principal through residential streets then up a short hike through grassy paths to the top (with Christ the Redeemer Statue in full view most of the time).

The second lookout point – La Cruz (The Cross in English) – is three kilometers (1 1/2 hour walk or short bus ride) out of town to the base, then 50 minutes stair-stepping your way to the top; bring water! View this video of Tupiza from Atop La Cruz Viewpoint:

Horseback riding through the canyons of the Cordillero de los Chichas is a highlight of a visit to Tupiza. Tours range from 3 hours to multi-day trips into pristine desert landscape. The horses are healthy and trained yet have varying temperments; inexperienced riders need to request “un caballo tranquilo” (“a calm horse” in English).

Like to play pool? How about outdoors in the sunshine (see photo page)? Across the street from the train station is a small children’s park that has pool tables set-up everyday from around 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., testament to the fact it rarely rains in Tupiza! Show up and challenge a local or two…

Many travellers choose Tupiza as the jump-off point for four day tours of the Salar de Uyuni (instead of taking tours directly from Uyuni). The general consensus is that the jeeps used from Tupiza are safer, and the tour route less touristy.   Tours to the Salar de Uyuni

Note:   An advantage to taking tours from Uyuni is that you can go for shorter periods of time and see the salt flats in a day if you prefer. Tours from Tupiza are four days at minimum.

There are no International LINK ATMs in the town. To get cash you need to go to one of the cambios (companies that exchange money) across the street from Plaza Principal (morning or afternoon, closed midday) and withdraw using your credit or debit card.

Where to Stay in Tupiza

Name: Hoteles Mitru (three separate locations in town, main location has lovely pool, gardens & WiFi).
Address: Av. Chichas 187

Name: Valle Hermoso Hostal & Tours
Address: Av. Cnl. Pedro Arraya N. 478

Name: Tupiza Hostal
Address: Calle Florida N. 10
Website: None. Central location two blocks from market and train station with courtyard and guest kitchen. Allow you to wash clothes.

Where to Eat in Tupiza

Name: Pizzeria La Torre (International cusine)
Address: Calle Florida esq. Av. Santa Cruz (next to the market)
Website: None. Open all day (8 a.m.-11 p.m.), breakfast (pancakes, sausage, bacon & eggs), lunch and dinner (pizzas, pastas, salads). Service can be slow, if need food quickly ask for “comida rapida por favor”.

Name: Moises Churrasqueria
Address: Av. Chichas entre Avaroa (three doors down from the market)
Website: None. Set menu lunch, asado in the afternoon (closes around 8 p.m.).

Name: Upper level main market (Mercado Atonio Gilduran)
Address: Main market in center of town
Website: None. Breakfast 8-10 a.m., Lunch 12-2 p.m., Dinner 5-7 p.m.

Interactive Map of Tupiza

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Photograph by Molly McHugh, all rights reserved.

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