The red Canyons of Tupiza – Bolivia

Arriving in Tupiza after a night of turmoil on the train from Uyuni (lacking power and heating), it’s a chilly walk in circles to find the Hostal Tupiza. In dire need of a power nap the front door and our wishes are answered. A basic hostel where the showers (cold) are shared and the kitchen is barren of any utensils, it’s cheap at USD $7 for a private double.

No lights and no heating from Uyuni to Tupiza.  Tupiza, Bolivia.
The horror train from Uyuni to Tupiza

Tupiza, Bolivia.
Dessert….we think

Tupiza, Bolivia.
Muxsa Cafe

Taking coffee at the only place in town with internet, albeit via a dongle, Muxsa Café’s owners are super friendly and the coffee is top notch. The wifi not so much.

Tupiza, Bolivia.
Tupiza

Tupiza, Bolivia.
The plaza

Tupiza, Bolivia.
Tupiza

Flanked on one side by red cliffs and canyons on the other, Tupiza’s surroundings can be explored in many ways.  One could chose to take a motorbike along one of the day circuits to take in sights as El Angosto, The Tower, Toroyoj, Puerta del Diablo. The same route can be achieved in a van or, as we did, you could chose to simply walk up into the canyons and explore.

Tupiza, Bolivia.
Tupizas stunning red rock canyons

Tupiza, Bolivia.
Heading into the canyon

Tupiza, Bolivia.
Matt and Ville in the canyon

Bumping into our Finnish friend Ville (from our time in Peru) as he randomly pulled up in a long distance bus whilst we were buying tickets, we dragged him along the following day up El Canyon. Determined to go as far as we could we climbed up a few concrete walls and high into the core of it. Content with our progress we stop for lunch and return to town via a dusty females soccer match, no mean feat at this altitude.

Tupiza, Bolivia.
Up the canyon

Tupiza, Bolivia.
In the canyon

Tupiza, Bolivia.
High altitude girls football, these girls had some skill

Tupiza, Bolivia.
High altitude chicks can kick

For the most scenic display of sunset head up to the hill and the Mirador del Corazon de Jesus. Passing the 12 stations of Christ along the ascending trail, past young lovebirds making out where their parents can’t see, the view over the valley as the opposite cliffs burn red in the late afternoon sun left the three of us spellbound. Popping a few beers whilst catching up on the last few weeks apart, the sun licks the red rocks for the last time and we can’t help but feel extremely lucky that like most people we’d chosen not to skip this serene slice of Bolivia.

Tupiza, Bolivia.
The Mirador

Tunja, Bolivia.
The Mirador

Tupiza, Bolivia.
The Mirador

As darkness descends, Alfredo’s just off the main square pulls us in with us all ordering the fried chicken, rice salad and chips, a steal at only 13 Bolivianos. Not eating the fried stuff too often this place ranks up there with some of the best ever and that’s saying something considering the eight years we spent in London. With the Copa America on the television it’s a winner, winner, chicken dinner!

With dinner done the bus for Tarija is nigh and we say our final goodbyes to Finnish Ville as we head in separate directions for the last time.

For more photos on Bolivia click here for our Flickr page.

Tupiza, Bolivia.
The plaza

TIPS TUPIZA

  1. Valle Hermoso HI Hostel around the corner from Hostal Tupiza is loads better for a fraction more in low season. Though no kitchen it has warm showers and a TV roof to chill out in. Franky the owner is a personable chap that doubles as a tour operator. A better value place by far.
  2. Head up to the look out by 4pm at the latest or you’ll miss the glowing red rock cliffs. It’s safe enough to walk up and you’ll return down in the dusk light too.
  3. If you’ve missed the American West, Tupiza’s red rock horse riding opportunities is a cheaper albeit just as stunning alternative to get your John Wayne fix.
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