We've all read about miners in South America and the terrible working conditions they suffer. The Potosí mines in Bolivia actually let tour groups down into the working mines to observe how hard these miners work first hand. Potosí was once the richest city in the Americas and financed the Spanish empire with its mountain full of silver. These days the silver has grown rarer but the mine still has rich veins of other important elements. The miners work in a cooperative and the tours pay in to this so they tolerate tourism. They also like to show how hard they work and the tourists will buy coca leaves and juice for the miners. The experience is unforgettable and it will give you perspective on how easy your job at home is.
This tour is not for the claustrophobic or those with respiratory problems. You will have to crawl on your hands and knees at certain points and the air quality is terrible. You must go on a tour and they leave from Potosí. They will supply coveralls and a head lamp.