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Deemed the highest city in the world, this mining town offers very little except for the extraordinary tour into the mines. You’ll be gasping for breath at the end of your 2-hour tour as men who have worked it for decades pass you by.
Altitude is 3,967 meters (13,015 feet)
Chance Of Hooking Up Rating: 1 out of 5 ?
Koala Tours gets high recommendations for its mine tour, offered in both English and Spanish by guides with twisted senses of humor. After you buy gifts for the miners in the market and a stick of dynamite for a “demonstration,” you get a quick look at a refinery before entering the mine. Making your way through the labyrinth isn’t easy, and often must be done on your hands and knees. Doing all this at 4,000 km is challenging. You will never complain about your job again after this.
Rumor has it there are bars in town but it didn’t seem worth exploring.
The Koala Den (Junin 56)
$4/night for dorm room. Shared bathroom faces the communal area, so if you have diarrhea like I did then everyone is going to know about it. Complimentary breakfast. Dorm rooms could use more ventilation, though communal area and kitchen was active and pleasant.
Other Cities In Bolivia
If you're only going to visit only Bolivia then I recommend you get this guide, which is far more detailed than the continental guide below, with options that cater to a range of budgets instead of only the shoestring backpacking crowd. Also it gives more respectable treatment to small cities and towns that the larger guide breezes over with a paragraph or two.
South America On A Shoestring Guidebook
This is the guidebook that I used in my six month trip in South America. The maps are excellent, the information is complete and thorough, and the reviews are accurate, which is why it's often called "the bible" by many travelers. The only problem is that everyone else has this book so if you are the type of person that wants to hit the isolated small towns you will be disappointed. My advice is to use this book for its maps and information on getting from city to city, but talk to the locals and other travelers for those isolated gems that Lonely Planet for some reason didn't find worthy to include.
Spanish For Beginners
My copy of this book is so beat up and weathered it's disintegrating before my eyes. I took it with me to South America because I loved how it was organized in a logical way that kept me motivated to keep studying. Lessons start short and easy and increase in complexity as you tackle frustrating readings that help take you to the next level. The only downside of this book is that it was originally published in 1957 so some of the vocabulary is very dated. Still, you'll be hard-pressed to find a modern equivalent of this book whose teachings approach the same quality. Last time I checked you can grab a used copy from Amazon for less than a dollar.