Tupiza, Bolivia

Tupiza was an obvious destination for me, because I needed a chance to acclimatize to the altitude before reaching up to 4,900m (16,050ft) on the tours of the area. I also found some tours departing directly from here, but ultimately decided against that because it was still too low in the town (2,850m/9,350ft) to acclimatize properly. Otherwise, the tours seemed very safe and well-run.

The first thing I noticed about Tupiza (which ended up being true for Bolivia as a whole): schools treat their anniversaries SERIOUSLY.

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They do parades around downtown, all dressed in the same way (by class). The guys above are clowns and below are doctors. The costumes are impeccably matching; there’s no such thing as slacking off when it comes to dressing up here.

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I couldn’t even tell you when my school’s anniversary is! The parades kept going at night, although it felt a little more somber, with candles and such.

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Another thing I had to get used to in Bolivia was the fact that most retail activity happens in markets, made up of tiny clustered stalls. Many stores you can’t even enter, you just have to tell the keeper what you want.

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Everything is sold in markets–even large appliances! This one you could walk through, but only via a very narrow aisle.

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Whereas Argentinian cops like to drive around with their lights on all the time, in Bolivia anyone can install flashing blue lights! This guy’s a taxi.

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Tupiza also features a cool house.

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Other than that, Tupiza is just a small town whose primary industries seem to be mining and tourism. Both of those are apparent from the surrounding hills, which are beautiful and probably mineral-rich.

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However, as I mentioned, my first step would not be a tour, but instead another, higher city to continue acclimatizing.

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