Samaipata is a small town in the Santa Cruz Department Bolivia at an altitude of 1600m.
- From Santa Cruz it takes about 2.5 to 3 hours. Shared taxis at : 30bs per person, whole taxi will cost 120bs or 130 with pick up, taking private option is recommended if your a budget traveler as Bolivians can fit an incredible amount of people in to 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 1.5B to get there, or a taxi for 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.
- El Fuerte (2do Anillo Av. Grgota esq. Aruma - Telf. 359-8958)
- From Sucre it takes approx. 9 to 10 hours. Buses to Santa Cruz mainly leave late afternoon (17.00 - 18.00) and drop you in Samaipata around 04.00 a.m. on the main through road. This is a short walk from the main square, where you can await dawn together with the town dogs. It's perfectly quiet and save.
The full cama buses are very comfortable, but the road is very rough in parts, so sleep is not guaranteed. On board facilities like wifi, baño, tv, etc. exist only on the billboards.
The easiest way to get around the pueblo is on foot. It's still difficult given how many people will simply be in your way at all times.
Most day excursions require a taxi. Agree fare before departing, a local ride costs 10bs or so per person. Almost everything is a set price, but if there's only one driver you may be able to get him down a bit lower.
Martin - the 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.
Close to the market there is a mototaxi station. They wear green wests with numbers. For solo traveler it is cheaper than taxi. It is normal for a pessanger not to wear a helmet. If u ask u might get one. Prices: El Fuerte - 20 Bs. Cuevas - 25 Bs.
Walk 2km out of town from near the mercado municipal to the animal refugio. (Signposted along the way). There are some birds and monkeys and other animals which like to play and say hello. 20 bolivianos (April 2016).
You have to hire a guide to see everything except for the Cuevas waterfalls and the ruins, so if you aren't into the whole guided tour thing your options may be limited here. Although, to be fair, Samaipata is still a good place to relax for a few days even if you're a true independent traveler.
El Fuerte - Inca frontier
- El Fuerte. This UNESCO World Heritage site is not really a fuerte but a holy place the pre-inca and Incas used to stand on ceremonies. Some traveler's refer to this mystical place as "overrated." If you can see the Incas in one's mind's eye, the place would be very impressive. However, nobody can really ever tell what anything is, so you'll be disappointed instead. Entry price is 50 Bs for foreigners. The very hike (~8 km one way) to this site from Samaipata is no longer an experience by itself. The road has been paved. Pretty views though you may be better off just catching one of the many cabs coming to and from. Or just go by bike from Samaipata. Halfway you will cross a balenario, a natural swimming pool in the river. Entrance 2 Bs.
- Amboro Park. Offering 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. Tours are on a scale based on people going, and could be as cheap as 100 Bs. for 4 people. Normal prices are about 175 Bs. or so. The more people you get the cheaper it is.
- Bella Vista and Volcanes mountain ranges (Sandstone mountains with different types of forest, rivers and jungle in canyons and valleys)
- Cuevas - easy to visit waterfalls with a beautiful area to discover on your own. You can swim and hang out at the little beaches, pick oranges, and go for little hikes. It's a decent little day trip. There are great views of the lush green mountains and stony cliffs surrounding the area. Pagina de Web: ; Website  Cost is 15 Bs.entrance fee (as of Oct 2015) plus whatever a taxi costs. Should be about 30-40 Bs. It is also possible to get here by bike, from Samaipata it is 20 km downhill. To get back to Samaipata try to stop a truck.
- Condor Mountain, to visit on clear days. The hike will take a long day with 4 hours car driving and six hours spectacular hiking. A perfect alternative to the Colca Canyon in Peru. Condors almost always appear around midday. Day tours are offered to CM and the waterfall.
- La Pajcha waterfall, close to the condor mountain, great for camping
- There are some great but simple canyoning through spectacular canyons, self guiding hikes but not in rainy season December-February
- Other destinations are Vallegrande, Pucará and La Higuera (where Che Guevara was killed) and Laguna Quirusillas. The highway from Santa Cruz city to Samaipata is very scenic. (See Get Out)
- Tucandera Tours, Calle Bolivar S/N Frente al Museo (Opposite the museum), ☎ +591 73167735, . Offers tours around Samaipata and beyond. Agency is small and unassuming but has made a name for itself in terms of quality. Guides are impressively knowledgeable as the owner is a Biologist/Ornithologist by training and has worked the parks all his life. We took a Cloud Forest tour (amazing forests) and guide was excellent at spotting local wildlife. Ask for Saul. (-18.178486,-63.874169) edit
- Cafes. Hang out in one of the nice little Cafes on the square. Drink some coffee, eat some food, and use the WiFi. Samaipata has a great climate and is clean and pretty compared to the rest of Bolivia so enjoy your time here.
- Markets and Street Vendors. Go to the market and haggle over the price of anything; great Spanish practice, and you will learn the true price of each item quickly. They may try to give you their lower quality fruit and veggies, so make sure you pick what you want. Better deals and higher quality fruits and veggies are to be had in the street, not in the covered market.
- Descanso en las Alturas-Pizzeria, Calle Bolivar Final, ☎ (00591)944-6072. edit
- Tierra Libre, (by the main square, just ask). Great, delicious and original bolivian dishes with a twist. Massive portions. Really friendly owner. Also has a beer garden. Perfect! Chicken Teriaki av. 40 BOB. edit
- Posada del Sol restobar. Try newly open Restobar at Posada del Sol! Food is great and drinks are first class! edit
- La Cocina, Calle Sucre (Close to the Plaza), . Food from the world with handmade breads, tortillas and yufkas. edit
- cafe1900, plaza central. good wifi, good cafe, and have lunch really good edit
- 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 Boheme, Central Plaza. Just 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. edit
- La Cocina, Calle Sucre, . Fast food from the world with handmade breads, tortillas and yufkas. edit
- El Pueblito Resort, Carretera Valle Abajo #1000 (5 min away from the main plaza (by car)), ☎ +591 77348040 / +591 3 39446383 ([email protected]), . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Second best hotel in Bolivia, according to Trip Advisor. Unique, magical place, in the shape of a small colonial town. Boutique Hotel, every room with its own theme. Renewed restaurant and the best view in Samaipata. Prices start at 50$. edit
- Finca La Víspera, . An Unsurpassed Paradisiacal Retreat, where the owners welcome those visitors who long for silence and nature. Guesthouses, Horses, Camping, Garden Café. edit
- La Posada del Sol, . Three 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. Prices are a bargain and service is attentive. Owners can arrange tours, hikes, bus tickets, and assist with transportation. edit
- Residencial Vargas. This place is really great, really close to the main square, good wifi, warm showers, perfectly clean and owned by the nicest, kindest, helpful owners. There is a place for washing your clothes and a clothes line. The rooms are naturally warm but there are blankets if you like. It's really quiet at night so you can get a great sleep. from 20 Bs.. edit
- Andoriña Hostal, Art & Culture, Calle Campero (2 1/2 blocks before main square), ☎ 00 591 (0) 3 944 6333 ([email protected]), . checkin: 24 hours; checkout: 24 hours. Great 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. 40BOL inc breakfast. edit
- El Jardin, Calle Arenales final s/n (2 cuadras del mercado), ☎ 0/73119461, . Rooms for 35B per person, which is among the cheapest in town. The value you get for the money is among the best you'll find in Bolivia. The place is more like a campus, with several different buildings and a large green space separating it all. If money is tight they also have camping for 15B and can give you use of their oven and barbecue. If you are with your partner they have some clay igloo, snork house looking things for about 45B per person. There is a kitchen, it's mediocre but will do in a pinch if you're just trying to cook something simple. There is also a Café which you can get breakfast at, and a library. Rumor has it you can sleep for free if you work in the garden, but it's season dependent. Hippies love the place, and you will see them sitting around the campfire at night and lounging in the hammocks during the day wearing those ridiculous pajama pants. There are hot, propane heated showers and clean bathrooms. The owners are a friendly young couple, the staff are Australians as of May 2013. [email protected] edit
- Vivero Sarita, 2 blocks from the Village Plaza, ☎ 591-7-368-4035. checkin: 11 AM; checkout: 12 Noon. For 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. edit
- Hostal Serena, Avenida Santa Cruz, Zona Soto Pollerudo (Samaipata, Bolivia), ☎ +0591 74923799, . checkin: 15.00; checkout: 13.00. Beautiful new hostal (Opened October 2016) located 10 minute walk from Main Square, with view at the mountains and town Samaipata. Owners Bert and Maria Rene 10 US. (18´11´02,63´52´14.1W) edit
Bus to Sucre is about 100 bolivanos. However, the road is in really bad shape and journey can easily take 10 hours. Buses generally leave Sucre at 4pm and arrive anywhere from 3am-6am at the Express Samaipata tiki hut 1 km from the center (if the bus does not break down). The reverse trip up to Sucre is hard to arrange and usually involves calling someone in Santa Cruz first, because there is no bus station or official bus stop in Samaipata. Taking a bus is not really safe, either. The road is one of South America's worst major inter-city stretches, and the drivers chew coca leaves, drink 96% alcohol or both! before driving.
The laundry shop across from Andoriña Hostel sells tickets to Sucre for 100 bolivianos. It leaves at 9pm and gets into Sucre at 9am-ish. A few of the bread-selling locals walking around talk about just jumping onto a bus between 7-9pm by waiting on the road. However, every bus is usually full, since they don't leave Santa Cruz until they're at capacity. So it's worth buying a ticket.
Flights from Santa Cruz are very cheap (less than $50) and takes only 30min!
The bus to Cochabamba from the nearby town of Mairana is 30 BOB. The bus leaves at 08 and arrives in Cochabamba around 18.30. However, currently (jan 2017) there is major roadworks going on, on this road, so expect to be in Cochabamba around 20.00. From Samaipata to Mairana is half an hour and 30 BOB with a taxi (7 BOB with a shared taxi). However, leave some spare time in Mairana to make sure you get a ticket.
Supposedly there is another bus at 15.00, but that would drop you in Cochabamba in the middle of the night...
There is no cash machine in town that allows significant withdrawals. The one ATM in town is not always functional, no one seems to accept credit card for payment, and the existing ATM only allows 500 Boliviano withdrawals when it has money. ATM works perfectly fine. Was down for an afternoon, but was serviced and back working the next day (October 2015)
Cooperativa la Merced, doubling as the local Western Union, will give cash advance on Visa or Mastercard during working hours. You can also get cash advances in nearby Mairana but best take enough cash with you from Santa Cruz.
The best Wifi is at La Boheme. The connection speed allowed for video calls.