From Sucre I took a 30-minute internal flight to the brash city of Santa Cruz. A bus would have taken anything from 15 to 20 hours – er, no thank you!From SC it took 3-hours, by mini bus, to get to the picturesque village of Samaipata.
Over the last few years Samaipata has developed into one of Bolivia’s top gringo-trail destinations. This sleepy village, in the foothills of the Cordillera Oriental, is brimming with foreign-run hostels and restaurants. Visitors flock to see the pre-Inca site of El Fuerte, some in search of a dose of the ancient site’s supposed mystical energy, while increasingly it is the main jumping-off point for forays to Parque Nacional Amboró.
The pre-Inca ruin of El Fuerte is not actually a fort, but a temple. This is Bolivia’s largest pre-Inca site and well worth an excursion. During my visit I was joined by two enchanting Russian girls who spoke excellent English and proved great company.
A visit to The Forest of Giant Fern Trees, within park Amboró, is like stepping back in time to the dinosaur era. This beautiful cloud forest is a mysterious and enchanting place. It hosts several species of ferns – some as high as trees, reaching more than 4 meters in height. My Spanish was put to the test, yet again, as our extremely knowledgable tour guide spoke only a smidgen of English! Note to self – must try harder to improve my Spanish!
Next stage: Uberlândia, Brazil.