Why Visit Samaipata, Bolivia?
Located just 120 kilometres or a scenic 3 hour drive from Santa Cruz de la Sierra is the delightful bohemian town of Samaipata. Situated between the Andes Mountains and forests of Amboro National Park, this town has become the perfect escape for locals from Santa Cruz and tourists who come to relax and enjoy its many attractions.
Samaipata has a little something for everyone: If you like relaxing there are beautiful waterfalls, if you like adventure then trekking into the Amboro National Park or Elbow of the Andes is must. If you are a cultural lover then look no further than the world heritage listed Pre Incan Ruins of El Fuerte.
There are many local and international restaurants, hotels ranging from backpacker to boutique like El Pueblito Hotel as well as a lively nightlight scene, La Boeme Bar is perfectly location in the main plaza and offers locals and travelers alike the chance to meet and party the night way.
Here’s our top picks for things to see and do in Samaipata:
Situated just 7 km from the town of Samaipata, the Pre Incan Fort of El Fuerte is a must visit destination, so impressive in fact that it’s been declared world heritage listed. El Fuerte Ruins have incredible history and only a small portion of the area has been excavated. These ruins are also a hotspot for seeing the Andean Condor, if you are lucky some can pass in very close proximity.
Elbow of the Andes Trek
One of the best kept secrets in Samaipata, the Elbow of the Andes trek is a must for any keen hiker. Situated between the Amazon and the Chaco forests this trek passes beautiful waterfalls, valleys, canyons with the opportunity of seeing some of the areas unique wildlife and stunning landscapes. The views on some of these treks are world class, here one can do day tours up to 3 day treks to visit the regions many incredible attractions.
Las Cuevas Waterfalls
Located 20 km outside of Samaipata is the charming series of waterfalls called Las Cuevas. Here there are 3 beautiful waterfalls where you can spend the day swimming and also hiking around the area.
Amboro National Park
An absolute must when visiting Samaipata, this spectacular part of Amboro National Park is a forest area which is only found in very few parts of the world, the scenery is akin to being in the movie Avatar which Giant Ferns and forested valleys being the highlights. Keep an eye out for Armadillos, Toucans or even the odd Puma or Spectacled Bear which reside in this amazing National Park. Deeper treks into the park for multiple days can also be arranged.
The Condor Trek
Bird lovers and hikers rejoice, this remote valley is perhaps the world’s best location for seeing these majestic South American icons soaring in the thermals of the Andes Mountains. The scenery is spectacular and while the hike is not easy, the rewards of seeing these 3 metre Condors soaring peacefully in the sky is something extremely special. The record for the number of Andean Condors in one day is 107 different birds.
La Pajcha Waterfall
One of the most beautiful waterfalls in Bolivia, La Pajcha waterfalls are set 2 hours away from Samaipata, they make the perfect day tour or overnight camping destination. These waterfalls are located close to the Condor Trek so it’s a good idea to combine them both.
1750 Wine Vineyard
The boutique winery of Uvairenda in the valley of Samaipata is at the northern tip of the vineyards of the eastern slopes of the Andes. Uvairenda is fully dedicated to the production of high quality Bolivian wines in small scale, and to serve as the gateway to the wonderful world of the Valleys of Santa Cruz. In the winery, you can enjoy the secrets of the wine making experience, while learning about the essence of their terroir, enjoying the beauty of the valley and tasting their wines.
Refugio Los Volcanes Lodge
Perhaps one of the world’s most beautifully locations. Refugio Los Volcanes is situated an hour’s drive from Samaipata and is a basic yet comfortable colonial style lodge which is surrounded by giant sandstone cliffs, waterfalls and pristine forests of Amboro National Park.
This location is a private property which merges with Amboro National Park. There are hiking trails suiting people of all ages to a wide variety of attractions. Refugio Los Volcanes is famous for bird watching and remains one of the best places in Bolivia to observe a wide huge variety including Andean Condors and Military Macaws. Refugio Los Volcanes Lodge is also home to jaguars, monkeys, pumas and much more.
This article was originally produced by Nick’s Adventures Bolivia and is republished here with permission.