Small, dusty and old, you’ll find Samaipata on the windy backroads south west of Santa Cruz. Although the town isn’t groundbreaking, it’s a cosy little place that acts as a base for the things around it. Discover ancient inca ruins or explore the forest hills, samaipata is a little retreat from the craziness of Bolivian cities.
El Fuerte is the main attraction, and the reason we came here. They are a set of ruins that date back to 300AD, and run through the many civilisations of Bolivia, including the incas. In typical South American style, the ruins crown a beautiful hill, giving you more than ruins to see. While the ruins aren’t the most exciting thing to look at, the significance and historical importance of them is pretty cool. I recommend getting a taxi from Samaipata, 50 bolivianos, and walking the short 10k back down. The walk is easy and the place tranquil, perfect for a slow sunny afternoon.
Cuevas ecological centre and La Pajcha falls are a series of waterfalls one hour from town. Spend the day on its beaches, walking through the forests or cooling off in the water. We didn’t make it to the waterfalls because a rainstorm came in and put out that plan, but if it’s hot day and you’ve done the small yet obligatory loop of town, then the waterfalls are a great idea.