Region: Oruro Department
Geographic Coordinates: -17.966700, -67.116700
Climate: Dry and cold climate with occasional rainfall in summer months.
Oruro, Bolivia is a city situated in the western part of the country, Nestled in the Andes Mountains. It is renowned for its lively culture and colorful festivals, Especially the Carnaval de Oruro which attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world. The city has a fascinating history and was established by Spanish colonizers in 1606 as a mining town. One of Oruro’s most well-known attractions is its train cemetery situated on the outskirts of town. This eerie location features abandoned locomotives and rail cars from Bolivia’s early mining industry, Left to rust away in the harsh desert climate.
The cemetery has become a popular tourist destination and an interesting spot for photographers. Another remarkable feature of Oruro is its numerous churches and religious sites. The city has earned itself the nickname The City of Religious Folklore due to its strong Catholic traditions mixed with indigenous beliefs. One such site is Sanctuary del Socavón that houses an image of Virgen del Socavón (Our Lady of Mines), Believed to protect miners working under dangerous conditions. Aside from its religious heritage, Oruro also boasts a thriving arts scene with several museums and galleries showcasing local artists’ work.
The Museum Eduardo López Rivas serves as an excellent introduction to Bolivian art history while also featuring contemporary works by local artists. Oruro’s economy still heavily relies on mining today, Particularly tin extraction; however, Tourism has become increasingly important over recent years thanks to events like Carnaval de Oruro which celebrates Bolivia’s cultural diversity through music, Dance and colorful costumes. Overall, Oruro offers visitors a unique glimpse into Bolivian culture with its blend of indigenous traditions mixed with Spanish colonial influence.
From exploring abandoned train carriages at the train cemetery to witnessing vibrant parades during Carnaval de Oruro or visiting one-of-a-kind religious sites such as Sanctuary del Socavón – there are plenty reasons why this city should be on every traveler’s bucket list.
- Carnival of Oruro
- Sanctuary of the Virgin of Socavón
- Museo Nacional de Etnografía y Folklore (National Museum of Ethnography and Folklore)
- Church of San Francisco de Asís
- Plaza 10 de Febrero (10th of February Square)
- Cerro Santa Bárbara (Santa Barbara Hill)
- Mercado Central (Central Market)
- Parque Eduardo Avaroa (Eduardo Avaroa Park)
- Teatro Municipal Alberto Saavedra Pérez (Alberto Saavedra Perez Municipal Theater)
- Laguna Colorada National Reserve
- Oruro, Bolivia is renowned for its mining industry, with a focus on silver, tin, and copper.
- Additionally, the region boasts significant agricultural production of potatoes, quinoa and wheat.
- The textile industry is also prominent in the area with wool and alpaca being key products.
- Finally, tourism plays a crucial role in Oruro’s economy with the Carnaval de Oruro celebration being a major attraction for visitors.
- Oruro, Bolivia has a rich history with several notable events and people.
- The Carnival of Oruro is one such event that has been celebrated since pre-Columbian times and is considered a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
- The Battle of Ingavi, which took place in 1841 near Oruro, was a turning point in Bolivian history as the Bolivians emerged victorious against the Peruvian army.
- Simón I. Patiño was an industrialist who made his fortune in tin mining during the early 20th century and played an important role in shaping Bolivia’s economy.
- Eduardo Avaroa was a national hero for his bravery during the War of the Pacific (1879-1883) against Chile.
- Víctor Paz Estenssoro served as President of Bolivia three times and promoted social reforms and democracy in Bolivia.
- Antonio José de Sucre fought alongside Simón Bolívar during South America’s wars for independence from Spain, serving as President of Bolivia from 1826 until his assassination in 1830.
- Oruro also has a rich mining history with tin and silver being some of its most important resources during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
- Museo Nacional Antropológico Eduardo López Rivas
- Museo Mineralógico de la Universidad Técnica de Oruro
- Santuario del Socavón
- Casa Museo Eduardo Abaroa
- Catedral Nuestra Señora de la Asunción de Oruro
- Mirador Turístico San Miguel y Calvario
- Monumento al Minero
- Parque Nacional Sajama
- Pueblo Turístico Uru Chipaya
- Lago Poopó
- San José is a football club that was founded in 1942 and is the most popular club in Oruro, Bolivia. This historic team has won five Bolivian championships and has a passionate fan base.
- Litoral is another historic football club from Oruro, Bolivia, founded in 1914. They played a significant role in the early development of Bolivian football and won two national championships before disbanding in 1953.
- Oruro Royal was established in 1955 and has had a relatively short but successful history with three Bolivian championships under their belt. In 1981, they reached the final of the Copa Libertadores (South America’s top club competition).
- Stormers San Lorenzo joined the top flight league after being founded in 1964 as a new addition to the Oruro sports scene but quickly established itself as a competitive force by winning four Bolivian championships.
- Universitario de Vinto was founded by university students an hour away from Oruro but has strong ties to the city with fans often traveling to support their team at home games since its establishment in 1996. It’s now one of Bolivia’s most successful lower division teams that earned promotions to higher leagues on multiple occasions.
- Carnaval de Oruro is the most popular cultural event in Oruro, Bolivia. It is a lively celebration of Andean folklore, music, and dance that takes place on the Saturday before Ash Wednesday.
- Festival Nacional de la Diablada honors the Virgin of Candelaria and features colorful costumes, music, and dance performances by masked dancers called diabladas.
- Festival del Folklore Andino Boliviano celebrates traditional Andean culture through music, dance, food, and art exhibitions.
- Feria Internacional del Libro de Oruro is an international book fair that attracts writers, publishers and readers from all over Bolivia to showcase their latest works.
- Día de los Muertos is celebrated on November 2nd each year in Bolivia as well as many other Latin American countries to honor deceased loved ones with colorful altars decorated with flowers and candles.
- Fiesta de la Virgen del Socavón is a religious festival held annually in honor of Our Lady of Socavón (the patron saint of miners) featuring processions through the streets with traditional dances like tinku or morenada.
- Feria Departamental y Exposición Agropecuaria y Artesanal Oruro en Primavera: An agricultural fair showcasing local products such as textiles made from alpaca wool or quinoa-based foods along with livestock shows including llamas or alpacas.
- Silpancho – a dish made with flattened beef served with rice, potatoes and egg.
- Fricasé – a stew made with pork or chicken, potatoes, corn and spices.
- Charquekan – a soup made with dried meat (charque), potatoes and vegetables.
- Chairo – a hearty soup made with beef or lamb broth, vegetables (potatoes and carrots), chuño (freeze-dried potato) and herbs.
- Pique macho – a dish of French fries topped with beef strips cooked in spices and tomato sauce.
Some popular restaurants in Oruro that serve these dishes include:
- Cafe Mirador Oruro
- La Taverne
- El Mesón
- Restaurante El Huerto
- La Casa del Abuelo
- Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve of Andean Fauna
- Sajama National Park
- Parque Simon Bolivar
- Plaza 10 de Febrero
- Parque Urbano Central
- Laguna Colorada
- Cerro Santa Barbara
- Museo Nacional Antropologico y Arqueologico de Bolivia (National Anthropological and Archaeological Museum of Bolivia)
- Oruro Carnival (annual event in February/March)
- Mercado Central (Central Market) for local shopping and food experiences