Visit Oruro during the carnival when the city undergoes great transformation and literally, comes alive. The carnival has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage event and is one of the biggest carnivals in South America. It is held before Ash Wednesday. You get a chance to see some of the finest dance performances. The themes of the dance give an insight into the folk legends and are a blend of Catholic doctrines and native beliefs. The colorful costumes and masks are a treat to watch. The main parade, the Sábado de Peregrinación, is the most impressive event of the carnival.
Plaza 10 de Febrero is the central square of the city. This square has many grand colonial buildings around, like the baroque concert hall or the post office, which is half block away from the square.
Iglesia San Miguel de la Ranchería is the oldest church of the city.
Museo Mineralógico y Geológico has one of the largest collections in South America. There are fossils and rock samples on display here. The mineral samples are mostly from the Andean region.
Museo Antropológico Eduardo López Rivas is famous for its rare collection. Here, you can see stone llama heads, artifacts from the Uru, pre-Hispanic mummies, carnival masks and costumes.
One of the most visited attractions in Oruro is the Our Lady of the Tunnel’s Shrine (Santuario de la Virgen del Socavon). The Virgin of the Tunnel is worshiped by the miners in the country and many come to the city for pilgrimage.
Visit Poopo Lake, which is one of the main lakes in the country. The Panza Island is wonderful spot for fishing and for outdoor activities. Uru Uru Lake is another option where you can spend relaxing time fishing.
Calacala is an archeological site, 21 kms away from Oruro. The picturesque location of the site among the mountains adds to the experience of watching the beautiful cave paintings.
Visit the most important mine in the Oruro area, Mina San José. A part of the mine has been opened for the tourists and some tours are organized too. Grab this rare opportunity and take a tour of the mine.
Few kilometers from Oruro is The Church of Yarvicoya. It was declared a national monument. It has mestizo-baroque style architecture.
Outside the City
You can make day trips to altiplano or visit archeological sites around Oruro. There are two hot springs near Oruro. One is in Termas de Obrajes (at 25 kms from the city) and the other in Capachos (at a distance of 10 kms in the northeast direction). Of the two, Obrajes is better. These springs are popular because of their medicinal properties. Cala Cala cave paintings have generated a lot of interest among the tourists. These cave paintings and carvings from the Wankarani period are mostly about the llamas. A train to Uyuni will take you to the largest salt flats, in the world. There are several buses to Iquique and Arica in Chile.