A worthwhile experience to learn about the Bolivian mining culture
Over 300 mines to explore around and lots of miners willing to share their anecdotes
Our guides are also ex-miners, they conduct this adventurous tour into Cerro Rico
Join us and visit the colonial mines in Potosi - it will almost certainly be one of the most memorable experiences that you will have in Bolivia. Meet the miners themselves, hear the anecdotes they have to tell, and explore the labyrinth where these people spend most of their time.
All year round
Koala Tours's office, 3 Ayacucho St. Potosi
Koala Tours's office, 3 Ayacucho St. Potosi
08:45 / 13:30
We will meet at the office. Our first stop will be in our ware house, where all the equipment is provided, including rubber boots, overpants, waterproof jackets, helmets and electric cap lamps (leaving your hands free). The Miners' Market will be our second stop, where coca leaves, cigarettes and dynamite can be bought as gifts for the miners.
You’ll next visit the ore mill (refinery plant). In this place, minerals that are brought from the Cerro Rico are purified, using chemical products and crusher machines. We’ll stop at the highest viewpoint of the city to see Potosi and Cerro Rico. We’ll then continue to the Caracoles Mine, where you can crawl around inside this terrifying but awe-inspiring labyrinth, in which many miners are working. You will have contact with the workers, and see El Tío, who is the lord of the mines.
Note: Part of your ticket price is forwarded to the miners in the form of food and other necessary supplies. For those passengers who will be without a hotel, we offer a free hot shower in our ware house after the mine tour.
Note: There is less activity in the mines on Sundays and holidays.
08:20 - 08:30 / 13:05-13:15
Meeting point at Koala Tours' office
08:45 / 13:30
Depart for the warehouse in Cerro Rico to pick up the safety clothing and equipment
09:30 / 14:00
Stop at the Miners’ Market
10:30 / 14:30
Visit a refinery plant (ore mill) and a viewpoint
11:00 / 15:00
Visit the Caracoles Mine
13:30 / 17:45
Return to the office
- Spanish and English speaking guide
- Private transport
- Equipment (rubber boots, overpants, waterproof jacket, helmet and electric headlamp)
- Free hot shower
- Personas expenses
- Gifts to miners (not obligatory)
- Comfortable and sturdy clothes
- Handkerchief / headscarf handy
- Walking shoes
- Bottle of water
- Extra cash
On January 1st, February 27th-28th, August 6th and December 25th, there will be an increment of 50% on the tour price.
This tour is not possible to operate for children under 12 years old, or adults over 70 years old. Claustrophobic people and those with asthma or other medical conditions should not enter the mine.
Cancellation or changes of this tour:
CHANGES: It is FREE to change the tour date before 5:00 pm (La Paz time) the day before the tour begins.
No Shows & Cancellations of this tour - If you cancel before 5:00 pm (La Paz time) the day before the tour or earlier, a 40% administration fee (+ the card fee). After this time, there is a 100% no show or cancellation fee.
You must email firstname.lastname@example.org (include the name of the tour and the reservation number) to cancel this tour or to make any changes.
What should I bring to the tour?
You should bring your camera, a bottle of water, extra snacks, extra money (for tips and personal expenses), walking shoes, and have a handkerchief/ headscarf handy. Take comfortable and sturdy clothes, such as waterproof clothing, a thermal shirt, a rainproof/windproof jacket, and long pants/trousers.
What kind of weather can we find in Potosi?
Potosi has a cold and dry climate, typical of the mountains, with occasional snowfall. On average, the warmest month is November, the coolest month is July, and the wettest month is January.
Who can do this tour?
Everyone, except for children under 12 years old, or adults over 70 years old, claustrophobic people, and those with asthma or other medical conditions.
When is the best time to go?
The dry season is the best time to travel to Potosi (from May to October) due to the better road conditions, generally sunny skies, and warm day time temperatures (but really cold at night). Also, note that on Sundays and holidays there is less mining activity, which is the main attraction of the tour.
Will I have problems with altitude sickness on this tour?
Altitude sickness can catch many travellers a little bit off guard. Not everyone gets sick in high altitudes, and it is difficult to predict who is likely to be badly affected by it. For most people, it is nothing more than a headache and a dizzy sensation that diminishes over a short period of time, 1 to 2 days for most people. If you want to limit your chances of getting sick, there are a few things you can do. Firstly, do not fly directly into high altitude - proceed slowly, allowing your body time to acclimatise as you ascend gradually. However, for many that is not possible, so it’s important to drink lots of water, and to slow down! This sounds simple, but both of these things are very important. Your body is struggling because you don’t have enough oxygen, so avoiding any strenuous activity is a good idea. Chew some coca leaves - the native people of South America have been chewing coca for centuries, thanks to its ability to alleviate mild altitude sickness symptoms. Coca leaves can be bought in any supermarket, and even souvenir shops or street stalls. Take altitude sickness pills (Soroche): these are sold over the counter all over Peru and Bolivia, and are just a few dollars. If you are flying straight into altitude over 2500 metres without spending any time at an intermediate elevation, and you’re worried about getting sick, you can ask your doctor for more specific and stronger altitude sickness medication in advance. In the rare case that your symptoms are more severe than a headache and mild dizziness, you should descend in altitude and seek medical assistance.
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