Best time to visit Bolivia

Potosi Mines in Bolivia

The Devil rules in grueling Bolivian mines, and the miners' destiny depends on his mood

Best time: May–October

Potosi Mines
Potosi Mines
Potosi Mines
Potosi Mines
Potosi Mines
Potosi Mines
Potosi Mines
Potosi Mines

The income and the very life of local miners, many of whom are children, fully depends on the Devil's will. It is commonly believed one can find a deposit of silver only on the condition that he is currently generous and wants you to discover the treasure. But if he is not in the right mood, one might merely die... Bolivian miners have to work in awful conditions, and the devil indeed seems to be present.

During your excursion, you can see evil images with your own eyes. But these excursions represent quite a dubious experience. It is said that miners are used to their work, gladly meet visitors, and some even take pride in such grueling toil and like others to see. But many of the miners are still only kids, who left school for mining owing to the poverty in their families. If you are fine with observing children suffering from hard work underground, then you might try this, but the spectacle is incredibly sad. And do not let the operators fool you into believing that 15 % of the fee goes to the workers, better give your donation directly to their hands. If you finally venture into the tour, remember that you take a risk for safety is never quite a certainty. Also,​ do not forget to wear your worst clothes, and take water supplies and a scarf to protect yourself from toxic evaporation.

The last, but not least thing to take into consideration is dynamite explosions – try to avoid companies which include such an experience into their tours, as this is not good for mines in general and only further enhances the risks for miners and tourists. The tours run 4 to 5 hours and the cost varies from 100 to 150 USD. The dry season is safer for this activity.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Potosi Mines in Bolivia?

Potosi Mines in Bolivia are best visited during the dry season which is from May to October, as the rainy season makes touring almost impossible due to flooding in the mining tunnels. The dry season is also considered safer as it reduces the risk of accidents and toxic air exposure. Therefore, visitors traveling to Potosi Mines should keep this in mind while considering their trip dates. Show more

What is the income source of locals living near Potosi mines?

Residents living near Bolivia's Potosi Mines primarily depend on mining for their livelihoods. Mines generate income, which is necessary for securing basic essentials such as food, housing, and other necessities. Unfortunately, poverty often causes children to abandon education and start working in the mines, with almost half of the miners being below 18 years of age. This exception leaves a lasting impact on child labor and society as a whole in Bolivia. Show more

What precautions are necessary for safe touring of Potosi Mines?

Touring Potosi Mines in Bolivia requires visitors to take necessary safety precautions before heading underground. Tourists should wear appropriate attire and masks to prevent inhalation of toxic air. Additionally, they should carry bottled water and light snacks for sustenance and avoid companies that engage in dynamite blasting. Tourists must also avoid touching anything without prior consent, maintaining balance by holding hands or carrying small bags while walking through the tunnels underground. Show more

Are children employed in Potosi mines?

Potosi Mines in Bolivia employ children, with nearly 50% of the miners below the age of 18. The children, forced to work in the mines due to poverty, face severe risks such as illnesses and accidents. Child labor negatively impacts the children's physical and mental health and educational outcomes. People who visit Potosi Mines should abstain from condoning such practices and prioritize ethical considerations when traveling. Show more

How much does a tour of Potosi mines cost and what does it include?

Tour companies provide tours of Potosi Mines in Bolivia, typically between $100 to $150. The cost varies depending on the company one opts for. It is necessary to confirm with the company which services they include in their tours, such as pick-up and drop-off, safety gear, and snacks. When choosing a tour company, it is essential to consider those who prioritize both visitors' and miners' safety and avoid those that engage in dynamite blasting. Show more

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Last updated:
Authors: Olha Savych