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Although hidden away on a 3,700-metre-high Andean perch between the salty swathes of Lake Uru Uru and Poopo, and largely ignored on the typical tourist trail through the country, the city of Oruro remains the most culturally rich and authentically local of Bolivia’s provincial capitals. The town itself sits encompassed by a wall of rugged hills and mountain plateaus, which—with its booming tungsten mines and tin digs—is not just for the pretty panoramas. In its midst, guests who manage to break through the frenetic veneer of haphazard traffic lanes and grimy streets will discover an earthy and folksy scene of local miners’ dives, rough-and-ready eateries and a smattering of curious museums dealing with local archaeology and the history of Bolivian mineral mining. But, as any Oruro tour guide will tell you, there’s only really one time of year to hit this town, and that’s when the iconic Carnival descends with its pyrotechnic explosions of colourful dance and ancient tradition.