About San Vicente Museum
San Vicente Museum, also known as the Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Memorial Museum, lies in a small mining town in Bolivia which is believed to be the site of the last stand of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
History of the San Vicente Museum
Although legends have grown up around this pair of bank robbers, it is almost certain that the duo met their end here on 7 November 1908, at this small and insignificant town about a four hour drive along a dirt track from Uyuni, following their robbery of a mining payroll mule transporting 15,000 pesos.
Their bodies have never been exhumed so it’s uncertain whether this is true, but the small mining community at San Vicente – which is one of the world’s largest silver mines – still remember the famous outlaws.
There are no paved roads in this part of Southern Bolivia. The landscape is bleak, and the altitude is high on this pilgrimage to the sad end of Butch and Sundance, (or not, if you believe the legends) so romantically played in the 1969 film by Paul Newman and Robert Redford. If you do make it to the end of the trail, you are rewarded by a small museum with some facts and photos of these outlaws. The town is gated, and vehicles should be left outside.
San Vicente Museum today
The Canadian mining company, Pan American Silver, opened the San Vicente Museum as a way of bringing additional income to the town.
The museum is very small, and is accessed by tracking down the lady who holds the keys. In this one room, there are pictures and explanations of the lives and deaths of these two heroes. It is useful to have a Spanish speaker available, not only to find the lady with the keys, but also to translate the explanations.
There are none of the trappings of larger museums and no gift shop, no restaurant, and no toilets. It is worth the trip, if only for the experience, but do not be disappointed by the size of the museum or the emptiness of the town.
Getting to San Vicente Museum
Many come here with Tupiza Tours – it’s an easier option than doing it yourself and you’ll be met with less suspicion, particularly if you don’t speak Spanish. It’s about 100km off the main drag (Ruta 21) – the turn off is in Tupiza, and from there, the roads are pretty much all unpaved. You’ll want a 4×4 and probably to share the driving if possible, as it’s a long old way.
Uyuni is the nearest big tourist hotspot – if you want to go alone, it’s worth checking if anyone else is heading in the same direction to share costs.