La Rinconada is a small city in Altiplano, Peru. It is known for being the highest permanent city of the world at a height of 5,100m. La Rinconada has about 30 000 inhabitants, an increase of over 200% since 2000. It is located near a gold mine and most of the locals work at the mine.
From Puno it's a six-hour bus ride on unpaved roads to La Rinconada.
Situated at 5,100m above sea level (the highest permanently-inhabited point on Earth), La Rinconcada comes with major altitude sickness risks.
Attempting to acclimatise to altitudes between 3000-5000 meters (10,000-16,000 feet) is fairly difficult, and adjusting to the low oxygen levels gets particularly arduous (and dangerous) toward the top end of that range. So just imagine how difficult it is at La Rinconada, which is above this range! Statistics show that over 50% of people will become ill if they ascend rapidly from sea level to 3500 meters without acclimatization, everyone will if they ascend rapidly to 5000 meters, and above that is thought to be nearly impossible to permanently acclimatise to, so La Rinconada is probably not the town you want to spend a few months in. It is undoubtedly possible for newcomers to spend several weeks sleeping as high as La Rinconada once acclimatized, but gradual deterioration of physical well-being will almost certainly still occur. While the scenery surrounding the town is stunning and well worth seeing, one must take into account the severe risks of ascending to such a high altitude, even if it means having to cut your La Rinconada excursion short.
The town also suffers from mercury poisoning due to the mining activities.