Cowboy up. Tupiza is where the American Wild West ended in all its glory. It’s also the rumored site where Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid were gunned down by the Bolivian Army, which ended their string of bank robberies.
Check out the movie with Paul Newman and Robert Redford about the two, it’s a great flick.
In addition to bank robbers, Tupiza is famous for its red-rock outcrops, which just out from the grey ground (similar to Monument Valley in Arizona, where many Western movies were filmed).
Through this area runs the Rio Tupiza, which breaks up the dry, arid desert plains with several green pastures popping up along its course.
Tupiza itself is a charming laid-back town. There are two street markets (Thursday and Saturday mornings) where locals from surrounding villages come to sell textiles, animals, handicrafts and much more.
Things to do In Tupiza
Tupiza has several colonial buildings and churches on display around its main plaza. Walking up the hill to El Corazón de Jesus (the Heart of Jesus) provides incredible views of the town and the surrounding mountains off in the distance.
You can’t miss it: just look for the large white cross on the hill and walk towards it.
Horseback Riding/Jeeps/Mountain Biking
Credit: Sarah and Iain
Surrounding Tupiza are numerous rock formations called quebradas. It’s entirely possible to take a jeep tour through this area, though riding a horse just seems so much more… well… authentic.
And a whole lot more fun.
But luckily you don’t have to decide.
Tour operators offer a number of different tours around Tupiza. Perhaps the most popular option is the “triathlon” tour – where you get to tour the area by horse, jeep and mountain bike. It’s a full day tour which includes lunch and transportation, and highly worth it.
Horseback riding is available ranging from 1-2 hours up to four days.
When To Go
The best time to visit Tupiza is from June to September. Keep in mind this is also high season.
From June to September, the average high temperatures range from 57 to 63°F (14 to 17°C), low temperatures range from 23 to 29°F (-5 to -2°C), and there is little to no precipitation.
Getting There & Around
Tupiza is located in southern Bolivia 462 miles (744km) south of La Paz.
Most people get to Tupiza from La Paz on bus. However, there is an airport in Tarija (Capitan Oriel Lea Plaza Airport) which is 137 miles (221km) east of Tupiza.
The best way to get around is to walk, rike a bike, or go horseback riding.
- Mid-range accommodations: $50-100
- Meals: $5-10
- Bottle of beer: $1
- Pick up or exchange a book at the Tupiza Tours office. They can also help you with any information about booking tours.
- Hike up Cerro Corazon de Jesus for a gorgeous sunset view over the area.
- Ask for leather leggings if you go horseback riding.
- Miss the street market mayhem on Thursday and Saturday mornings just outside the train station.
- Book a tour without checking with a few fellow travelers on their experience. Make sure the company you choose has safety equipment.
- Forget to pack warm clothes for the evenings and mornings. Temperatures can drop fast.
- Tupiza is located at 9,678 miles (2,950m) above sea level.
- Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid where thought to have hid out in Tupiza after robbing a bank at Huaca Huanusca just 25 miles (40km) north of Tupiza.
Feature Image Credit: fabulousfabs