Samaipata

Samaipata is located 120 km. from Santa Cruz de la Sierra on the old road between that city and Cochabamaba. The trip is approximately two hours and the road is usually well paved depending on the season. At 1640 meters above sea level the town of Samaipata is the principal tourist center of the region that offers the visitor an ideal colonial environment to relax in. Samaipata’s delightful climate comes thanks to its location at 1,640 meters above sea level that grants it average temperatures between 19 and 22º C.
At the feet of the towering Andes, Samaipata is a tiny and agreeable village. Samaipata consists of a series of lush valleys and cloud forested mountains. From the mountainous topography with European style cabins this town has earned the nickname “little Switzerland”.

Samaipata has an almost mystic aire, and spots numerous gardens of vegetables and herbs (see La Vispera in the accommodation section), as well as local ceramic and iron crafts. It exists a good developed infrastructure of hotels, restaurants, and tour operators, which offer a variety of tours and excursions within the region. In Samaipata one can feel the strong influence of foreign expats which came to stay in this beautiful place.

Sights

9 km. outside town lies one of Bolivia’s most magnificent archeological sites "El Fuerte” which features a massive sandstone mountain that features equisite carvings from Incan and pre-incan Bolivian cultures. The site was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This incredible monument lies in an altitude of 1,949 meters above sea level and features pre-colonial sculptures of snakes, pumas, an extensive systems of aqueducts, as well as niches, wells, carved stone seatings, and others.
Even today the origins and meaning of this site are still under intense research. Archeologists have discovered that Andean style Incan buildings were constructed on top of a different style of lowland indigenous architecture, indicating hundreds of years of habitation at this site.

In Samaipata itself the Museo Arqueológico y Antropológico makes a great visit with its various displays of objects discovered in digs at El Fuerte and other sites nearby.

On the way to Samaipata at km. 79 (at the village of Bermejo) one can travel 6 km. to the right to visit the Serranía Volcanes, a mountain range of volcanic origin with spectacular waterfalls and natural pools ideal for swimming.

At km. 100 from Santa Cruz on the left lies the privately run nature area Las Cuevas – a pleasant series of waterfalls that form part of the Piraí watershed. Entrance costs Bs. 10.00 ($ 1.40) per person and the area offers cabins, parking, and camping areas. There is no restaurant or food here.

Very close to Samaipata travelers can visit "La Pajcha" an impressive waterfall out in the scrub country nearby.

One of the main attractions of this region is without any doubt a visit to the Amboró National Park. Tours from Samaipata offers guided hikes to the giant ferns. There are different entrance points to the Park. And visitors can visit the small comunities of Los Volcanes and La Yunga which offer accommodation, food and guided visits within the Park.

Other interesting nearby sites include pre-historic cave paintings in Mataral and the vast cactus-covered desert of San Isidro and Pulquina.

For information about tours to Samaipata and its surroundings, please visit our tours section.

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