Visit the silver mines of Potosi

11 Oct
Visit the mines of Potosi
Tuesday October 11, 2016 - Posted by to Adventure Travel, Destinations

Visit the silver mines of Potosi

Many travelers combine a trip to Peru with a visit to neighbor Bolivia. Bolivia is a beautiful country. One of the most interesting things-to-do in Bolivia, besides the salt mines of Uyuni, is are the silver mines of Potosi.

Potosi is known as ‘Silver city’ of Bolivia, because of its silver mines. In Colonial times, the Spaniards took away about all the silver minerals Potosi had hidden in its rocks. Nowadays, miners still hope to find valuable minerals and work in the mines under harsh circumstances. As a traveler, you have the opportunity to visit the mines of Potosi, while the miners are at work.

Guided Tour to the Mines


Mines Bolivia Potosi


During one of those guided tours to the mines, you will be provided with an helmet, rubber boots and an overall, to prevent your own clothes from getting dirty. First thing to do after you put this outfit on, is head to the shops. To the shops? Yes. Here you can buy a gift for the miners. You can either buy a bottle of juice and coca leaves or … .dynamite. Dynamite? Yes, dynamite. It will be much appreciated as a gift.


Potosi Mines Entrance


The miners start their work early in the morning and don’t come back out of the mine till the work for the day is finished. In the meanwhile, they do not eat a meal. Instead, they chew on coca leaves, all day long. This keeps the feeling of being hungry away.


Potosi Ttio Bolivia



On entering the mine, one of the first things you will see is the “Tio”. “Tio” a sort of statue made of clay, that receives offerings, like alcohol and coca leaves from the miners. The statue is called Tio (uncle in Spanish) to make clear that he is part of the family of miners. Tio receives offerings. Miners hope to receive protection in return. The deeper you go in the mine, the dustier and the hotter it gets, up till 40 degrees Celsius. Not exactly a comfortable working climate. Even though the circumstances the miners work in are not good at all, they don’t get grumpy. Some travelers in Bolivia feel slightly uncomfortable watching the men work, but at the same time, it feels as if the miners actually like seeing some other people around every now and then. They will greet you and ask you how you are doing. And they are very happy to receive the gifts.


Ttio Mines Potosi


During the tour in the mines, you will at times hear implosions at a far distance caused by dynamite. You can feel the air pressure change when an implosion takes place. Quite an experience. The tour under the ground takes about two hours and you are free to take as many photos as you want.


View Bolivia Potosi


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