On this occasion, we directed our adventure to a delegation situated a little more than 25 miles from the city of La Paz. Our accomplice in the mission was Adolfo de la Peña Aramburo, delegate of this small and quiet community surrounded by mountains and serenity that was founded around 1756.
He explained that the trades practiced in the area were agriculture, farming, cattle, and handmade crafts, but most of the population was dedicated to mining. The tour to the mines was made in the company of his son, with whom he shares name and surname. Come along and enjoy the experience!
The emergence of a mining town
Aware of the existence of gold and silver in the area, Manuel de Ocio founded Real de Minas de Santa Ana, a settlement that eventually became San Antonio and El Triunfo. During boom times, from the 18th to 19th centuries, significant amounts of gold and silver were extracted and, although mining activity ceased at the outcry of the Mexican Revolution in 1910, vestiges of this activity still remain in the community where it is believed these precious metals exist to this day.
What to do?
San Antonio is an ideal place to enjoy the tranquility of open spaces. The main square houses enormous eucalyptus trees, very close to where the cover photograph of Bon Jovi’s These Days is said to have been taken. San Antonio is a treasure trove for those passionate about history and culture and a perfect opportunity to dust off your off-road boots![two_first]
- 19th Century cemetery
Not only does the cemetery feature tombs of various styles and shapes, but also the founding surnames of the first families to settle in the community.
- La Colombina
This structure made of brick, concrete and stone dates to 1800 and served as a gold and silver processing plant.
- The Laboratory
Crowned by a pitahaya tree, the remains of the mining laboratory are located a few meters from La Colombina. Instruments used to analyze the metals are also on display.
- El Hidalgo Mine (1930)
This visit is led by a guide and will take you into the depths of the earth through the mining tunnels.
The crown jewel of this visit is to travel from San Antonio to El Triunfo along the Royal Road, or the gold and silver route. You will feel like you have traveled back in time. It’s about an hour’s drive through the mountains that never cease to amaze. You’ll want to explore slowly to prolong the experience.