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Dancers in Oruro

Oruro Carnaval

Example 3 Day Tour
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The folklore festival’s roots in Christian traditions and indigenous myths and deities makes this a unique cultural experience. Spend two days in Oruro during the weekend prior to Ash Wednesday to witness the triumph of good over evil displayed in the form of dances and music. Each costume, each gesture, each character, color, and movement have a symbolism and meaning in this carnival.
Dancers in the annual festival in OruroMusicians in main plaza during Oruro CarnavalFolk dancers in the Oruro FestivalCarnaval in OruroAn exquisite miner's helmet sculpture in Oruro gives tribute to the area's rich mining historyCarnaval in OruroVirgin de Candelaria - the patron of Oruro minersOruro monument to minersCarnaval Parade in OruroDancers during Oruro CarnavalA folk performer in the Oruro FestivalFolk dancers in the annual Oruro FestivalDancers in Oruro
  • Watch the parade from reserved seats along the main route
  • Listen as your guide recounts the traditions of the festival
  • Visit Sanctuary of the Socav√≥n, Mining Museum, witches market, Street of the embroiderers and Conchupata Lighthouse
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrive Oruro

Early this morning, depart by private vehicle for a 4-hour drive to Oruro. Upon arriving, transfer to your hotel and check-in. With your private guide, explore Oruro, a mining town whose name means “where the sun is born”. Visit the church where you can see the Santuario de la Virgen del Socavon, the site believed to be the inspiration for one of the main stories told during the Oruro Carnival. Legend has it that the Virgin Mary’s image appeared before miners in a mine shaft. The mine is know as the Socavon de la Virgen (Grotto of the Virgin), and the church has been built on this site with the Virgin of Socavon becoming the patron saint of Oruro’s miners.

Day 2: Parade of Dancers

Today is the main parade with dance groups coming from all over the country and regaled in colorful, ornate costumes that compete in splendor with those found in Rio’s Carnaval. These costumes, the rythym of the music, and the choreography all tell stories based on Christian symbols and stories as well as Uru and Inca legends from the pre-Columbian times. The most famous is La Diablada, or Dance of the Devils, a story of the underworld that originated among Bolivian miners and is now quite famous throughout the world.

The day is spent with your private guide to witness this spectacle and to learn the stories, both traditional and modern, involved with a festival described by UNESCO as “a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.” You will have a reserved seats along the main parade route as you watch the procession of an estimated 30,000 dancers and 10,000 musicians over the course of a twenty hour celebration. Travelers have the flexibility to go back to the hotel at any point to relax and return energized to the parade.

Day 3: San Jose Mine | Return to La Paz

  • 1 Breakfast
To take into consideration a long night of watching the parade, breakfast is late, followed by a visit to the San Jose silver mine that has been working since 1589. Walk around the mine property, hear about its history, and witness the continued cultural and economic importance of this active mine. Travelers have the chance to enter the mine and “visit” Tio Supay, the deity who owns the mines and rules the underworld. The miners seek to pacify him through offerings in order to prevent accidents from occurring underground.

This afternoon, say goodbye to Oruro and return by bus to La Paz to overnight.


Oruro - Hotels

Dates & Prices

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Trip starts on the Friday before Ash Wednesday.
  • 2 Breakfasts, 1 Lunch
  • 2 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Entrance Fee(s) in Bolivia
  • English Speaking Guide
  • Numbered seats in the main square
  • Water permanently in the seats and snacks (tea, coffee, mate, ham and cheese sandwich) in the afternoon.
  • Souvenirs
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Arrival Transfer
  • Departure Transfer
  • Airport Departure Tax
  • Bolivian visa - It is recommended that you apply in advance.


When to Go

Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
Typically not offered during this period because of weather conditions.

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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen

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