The town of Pulacayo and the Huanchaco mine are just 30 kms from Uyuni and we dropped in here on our way to Potosi. It was the last day of a 4 day festival in Bolivia and hence not much was open including here, but we walked around the old buildings and admired the (thank goodness) well preserved steam engines.
The whole village is now a UNESCO World Industrial Heritage Site and some people still live here.
Founded in 1833, in the second part of the 19th Century the Huanchaco mine was Bolivia’s main silver mine and at time was the second largest silver mine in the world. It was the first place in Bolivia where steam engines and other machines of the industrial revolution were used and where train transport started in Bolivia, carrying ore to the sea-port of Antofagasta (in Chile).
Pulacayo also contains a train that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid robbed. It’s well worth a visit – just try not to do it on a public holiday!