Samaipata – somewhere between the lowlands of Santa Cruz and Sucre at 2.750m. After a really bumpy and scarry bus ride through the night we arrived in Samaipata at 3 am. With an altitude of only 1.650m it was finally warm again! The sleepy village is the starting point for tour to Amboró National Park and also close to El Fuerte ruins. The village itself doesn´t have many sights, but it is nice to relax for a few days or after an exhausting day of hiking.
Parque Nacional Amboró
Amboró National Park includes three different ecosystems in its 430.000 hectare: the Amazon Basin, the Chaco and the Andes. Samaipata provides the entrance to the Andean section of the park with its cloud forest. We went on a one day tour with one of the best guides we ever had: Saul, a biologist (Tucanera Tours – highly recommended!). After a 45 minutes drive we entered the park and stopped several times for very detailed explanations about the flora and fauna of the park. It was one of the most interesting tours we had. Unfortunately it started raining heavily after one hour. We got so wet that it felt like we were swimming in our shoes.
We had to go on for another 4 hours afterwards and everyone just wanted to finish quickly. Sadly, we didn´t get that much information anymore from that point. But still it was an impressive and also challenging hike through the cloud forest.We went through the mud, climbed along the roots of the trees and would have had one or two nice fews if it wouldn´t have been so foggy. However, it was maybe even funnier to do the hike in the rain, if it wasn´t so wet.
We both just loved the green, fertile surroundings. For us, it is the nicer landscape than the bleak, high altitude mountains. The hike gave us a rough idea of the diversity in Bolivia. We have already been to a salt flat, geysiers, volcanos and lagoons, and now we were in the cloud forest!
This site was first occupied 2000 BC and taken over by the incas 1470 AD. It isn´t huge, but in a scenic setting overlooking the valley.
When the Spanish arrived in the 1600s the sight had already been abandoned, so they stayed there themselves and built up some new houses. The most commonly accepted theory about the site is that it was an ancient temple to the serpent and the jaguar, worshiping the sun and the moon.
From Samaipata we went to Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz for us was nothing but a huge city with little sights worth visiting. We only stayed for a night and left on the night bus to Cochabamba.