In the background looms the Tupizan range, very red, or better, a ruddy sepia; and very distinct, resembling a landscape painted by an artist with the animated brilliance of Delacroix or by an Impressionist like Renoir… In the tranquil translucent air, flows the breath of smiling grace…
Carlos Medinaceli, Bolivian writer
The pace of things in tranquil Tupiza seems a few beats slower than in other Bolivian towns, which makes it a top spot to hang out for a while. Set in spectacular countryside, it’s the capital of Sud Chichas. The city lies in the valley of the Río Tupiza, and is surrounded by rugged scenery – weird eroded rainbow-colored rocks cut by tortuous, gravelly quebradas (ravines, usually dry) whose slopes are studded with cactus.
The climate is mild year-round, with most of the rain falling between November and March. From June to August, days are hot, dry and clear, but nighttime temperatures can drop to below freezing.
Economically, the town depends on agriculture and mining. A refinery south of town provides employment, and the country’s only antimony (a flame-retardant metallic element) smelter operates sporadically.
Tupiza has a lot to offer the traveler. Explore the surrounding hills and canyons on horseback, check out where the Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid story ended or just take a few days out to read novels in the pretty central square or by the hotel pool. Tupiza is also an excellent place to embark on a tour of the Southwest Circuit to Uyuni, a route that’s attracting growing numbers of travelers.
Last updated: Feb 17, 2009