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One of the highest cities in the world, Potosí rises up from a cold and barren plateau at an altitude of 4050m. Founded in 1545 after the discovery of silver in Cerro Rico, Potosí quickly became legendary for its wealth and within three decades it was the largest city in the New World. Potosí´s seesawing history continues to be tied wholly to the silver of Cerro Rico, a mountain now honeycombed with deep mines.

Although floods and earthquakes have left their marks, Potosí retains its colonial charm. Narrow streets wind steeply around churches, cathedrals, museums, markets and plazas. In 1987 UNESCO declared the city of Potosí a ´World Heritage Site´ in recognition of its rich history and wealth of colonial architecture.

Main attractions

  • Cerro Rico – tour the famous mines and see first-hand the abysmal conditions that its workers have endured for centuries.
  • Casa de Moneda (´House of Money´) – first built in the 1570´s and then re-built in the 18th century, it now houses 20 galleries filled with local history, ethnography and art.
  • Ojo del Inca – Just outside of the city is the widest and deepest hot spring in South America, with a delightful 37 degree temperature and an unbeatable view of the surrounding multicolored mountains.
  • Santa Teresa convent and museum – founded in 1685, here you learn about the way of life of the nuns who live here as well as admire a collection of artwork by famous Bolivian painter Melchor Perez de Holguín.
  • Getting there

    Buses arrive daily from all major cities in Bolivia inlcuding La paz (approx. 11 hours) via Oruru (approx. 8 hours). Potosi is the most common launch pad to Uyuni (approx. 6 hours).
    Trains travel a scenic route to Sucre (approx. 6 hours)
    Potosí also has the world´s highest commercial airport with flights to and from La Paz.

    Best time to go

    Because of its altitude Potosí is cold year round. The summer months between December and March average around 13º Celsius while the winter months between June and August regularly dip below freezing.

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