5 Ukdungle, India
At 15,285 feet above sea level, Ukdungle in northern India’s state of Jammu and Kashmir is near the Tibetan border. To get to this area, which is only about 23 miles from Ngari Prefecture in Tibet, you have to pass through Kashmir’s countryside. When you visit this region of India, book a local guide to take you on a hiking excursion along the nearby Himalayan range.
4 Colquechaca, Bolivia
Colquechaca towers above the rest of the cities in Bolivia at 15,393 feet above sea level. The town is in the Potosí region of the country and is home to an active Spanish silver mine that opened during the colonial era in the 1520s to 1540s. The ore veins of the Cerro Rico de Potosí mountain continue to supply the region with precious metals, making Colquechaca popular with tourists.
3 El Aguilar, Argentina
Located in the Jujuy Province, El Aguilar, Argentine, is 16,059 feet above sea level. The city is a rural mining town with a population of less than 2,000 people. The area was home to the Incas, Yungas and Andean people who left petroglyphs, rock art and archeological artifacts that visitors can see in museums and at historic sites. In addition to eco-tours, El Aguilar offers panoramic views of the Andean deserts.
2 Wenquan, China
The smallest settlement in China’s Qinghai Province and Tanggula, Wenquan is 16,467 feet above sea level. The community is in the center of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, near the Tibetan Autonomous Region’s Tanggula Pass, which tourists take to reach Lhasa, Tibet. Area highlights include the Three Gorges Dam, the historic Silk Road, ancient artisan wells and monasteries.
1 La Rinconada, Peru
La Rinconada, named the highest city in the world by “National Geographic” magazine, soars 16,732 feet above sea level. It is located near a gold mine that uses the “cachorreo” payment system. In this system, the miners work unpaid for 30 days, then get to keep as much ore as they can carry on the 31st day of work as payment. La Rinconada isn’t exactly a tourist spot as there is no sanitation or plumbing system, along with high levels of mercury.
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