SamaipataSanta Cruz Department Bolivia at an altitude of 1,600 m.
- From Santa Cruz it takes 2.5-3 hr. Shared taxis at : Bs. 30 per person, whole taxi will cost Bs. 120 or 130 with pick up, taking private option is recommended as Bolivians can fit an incredible number of people into the small car.
- Expresso Samaipata (Av. Omar Chavez Ortiz 1147 esquina Soliz de Olguin - Telf. 333-5067). From the terminal, take bus number 8 for Bs. 1.5 to get there, or a taxi for Bs. 10B. They leave with at least 4 passengers. Takes between 2 hours in most cases, but can be as much as 4 with a landslide or some road works.
- Cooperativa de Transporte "El Fuerte" (2do Anillo Av. Grgota esq. Aruma - Telf. 359-8958), Mini-Buses for Bs. 30 per passenger, you can get there from the Nuevo Terminal in Santa Cruz taking the bus (Bs. 2) to El Torno / La Guardia at the other end of the tunel under the terminal.
On footThe easiest way to get around the pueblo is on foot.
By taxiMost day excursions require a taxi. Agree fare before departing, local ride costs Bs. 10, Cuevas return with 2 wait will set you back for Bs. 80.
By moto rentalMartin, a Dutch guy, rents motorbikes, he lives in direction of Zoo, ask around for his number or pay him a visit. Easy to drive and fun for a day trip to Cuevas or El Fuerte.
El Fuerte de SamaipataThis UNESCO World Heritage site was a holy place and ceremonial site of the local pre-Inca and Inca civilizations, and was used further by the Spanish until the new town of Samaipata was built. There are ruins of all three eras here. The centerpiece, however, is the huge, carved ceremonial rock. There's not too much to see in terms of buildings or statues, but if you're interested in the ancient cultures and read all the signs on the site or hire a guide, then it makes for a good day trip (on foot) or half-day trip (by car/taxi) from Samaipata. To go there on foot, head east along the highway (direction Santa Cruz) for 3 km until the road going uphill to the right, where a sign points you to 'El Fuerte de Samaipata'. Follow this road (with almost no traffic) for about 6 km uphill, and you end up directly at the entrance.
Animal refugioThere are some birds and monkeys and other animals which like to play and say hello.
- Other destinations are Vallegrande, Pucará and La Higuera (where Che Guevara was killed), as well as Laguna Quirusillas. The highway from Santa Cruz city to Samaipata is very scenic.
Amboro ParkOffering hikes in the cloud forest. You can hire a guide from one of the agencies downtown. This is more of a must, because there are no trails and you won't be able to hike by yourself.
- Cuevas, easy to visit waterfalls with a beautiful area to discover on your own.
- Condor Mountain, best to visit on clear days. The hike will take a long day with 4 hr car driving and 4 to 6 hr of hiking. It's considered an alternative to the Colca Canyon in Peru, though the probability to see condors is slightly lower here. Condors often appear around midday, but don't bet on seeing more than some black dots in the sky.
- La Pajcha waterfall, close to the condor mountain, great for camping. Is often combined with the condor hike on the same day.
- There´s some great but simple canyoning through spectacular canyons. It's possible as self guided hikes, if you know what you're doing and where you're going, but not in the rainy season December-February.
- Museo Arqueologico de Samaipata (Calle Bolivar, near Caff'e Art): small museum, Bs. 5
Descanso en las Alturas-Pizzeriaphone: +591 944-6072address: Calle Bolivar Final
Tierra LibreGreat, delicious and original bolivian dishes with a twist. Massive portions. Really friendly owner. Also has a beer garden. Perfect! Chicken Teriaki
La Oveja NegraDutch owned gringo favourite bar/rest. Substantial portions of chicken/veg curry, chilli con carne, goulash. Plus sumptuous apple crumble. Kind owners. Board games and darts too
RanitaRidiculously good bread and pastries (everything else poor, esp the coffee!) at this French bakers. A must.
Posada del Sol restobarTry newly open Restobar at Posada del Sol! Food is great and drinks are first class!
1900address: Main SquareAfter your big meal you could retreat to this cafe with a WiFi Connection (through 3G). Has some nice pasteles and hot chocolate.
Che Wilson Populated by teenagers and open only on the weekends, this place is still one of the only spots in the sleepy village for 'nightlife'.
La Bohemeaddress: Central PlazaJust in the corner of the central plaza, you can't miss it. It's the only real bar in Samaipata, and one of the few in Bolivia. Just check tripadvisor if you doubt it!
- Residencial Vargas - simple rooms from Bs. 20, Lovely owners.
phone: +591 3 944 6333address: Calle CamperoGreat views from balconies and rooms, fresh breakfast included. Here you can meet other travelers. The owners focus on more sustainable tourism and have lots of tips for hiking and other activities.
phone: +591 73119461address: Calle Arenales final s/nWith oven and barbecue. Also some clay igloos for Bs. 35 per person. Independent shared kitchen. Cafe, library. You can sleep for free if you work in the garden. Hippies love the place, the owners are a friendly young couple. In the sunshine all day long.
Mid-range to splurge
Vivero Saritaphone: +591 7-368-4035address: 2 blocks from the Village PlazaFor a truly cultural experience, stay with Dona Sarita in her rustic beautiful and peaceful guesthouse which is closest to the Village Plaza, Market and Restaurants. Her lush garden showcases over 400 species of plants, flowers and ferns. The fresh coffee made from the coffee beans in her garden, her delicious dishes and welcoming warmth gives a feeling as a home away from home for a very affordable price. Hot water showers, dorm or private rooms are available and fresh breakfast is included. She also has a local contact named "Don Gilberto" who is the original hiker tour guide of the village. Call for reservations or just arrive.
phone: +591 721 91292 (WhatsApp)address: Road to Valle AbajoOffers more than 20 cabins. Also, you will find ample green spaces of flowers and gardens.
- Finca "La Víspera" An Unsurpassed Paradisiacal Retreat, where the owners welcome those visitors who long for silence and nature. Guesthouses, Horses, Camping, Garden Café.
La Posada del SolThree blocks from the main plaza on a hill with spectacular views. Boasts a great breakfast, and includes a made-to-order menu for guests available all day.
The Cooperativa la Merced will give cash advance on Visa or Mastercard during working hours, you can also get cash advance in nearby Mairana.
- A bus to Sucre is about Bs. 70. The road has improved in recent years, but is still shakey, and the journey can still take a whole day. However, it's a scenic route, and it's also possible to do it over night. Alternatively, flights from Santa Cruz to Sucre take only 30 min, but of course you'd first have to go back to Santa Cruz.
- You can go to Mairana by Taxi/Truffi for Bs. 7. and then get a Bus at 08:00 to Cochabamba (Bs. 40). It will get there around 18:30. The road is approx. 70% not paved, so expect a bumpy ride.