Samaipata is a small town in the Santa Cruz Department Bolivia at an altitude of 1,600 m.
Samaipata is popular with tourists for its mild climate, its diverse landscapes, the pretty houses and small town atmosphere, and for its vicinity to the 'Fuerte de Samaipata' world heritage site. While there are some great hiking opportunities around Samaipata, almost all of them require a guide, either as part of a larger tour, or with a private guide.
- From Santa Cruz it takes 2.5-3 hr. Shared taxis at : Bs. 30 per person, whole taxi will cost Bs. 120 or 130 with pick up, taking private option is recommended as Bolivians can fit an incredible number of people into 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 Bs. 1.5 to get there, or a taxi for Bs. 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.
- Cooperativa de Transporte "El Fuerte" (2do Anillo Av. Grgota esq. Aruma - Telf. 359-8958), Mini-Buses for Bs. 30 per passenger, you can get there from the Nuevo Terminal in Santa Cruz taking the bus (Bs. 2) to El Torno / La Guardia at the other end of the tunel under the terminal.
The easiest way to get around the pueblo is on foot.
Most day excursions require a taxi. Agree fare before departing, local ride costs Bs. 10, Cuevas return with 2 wait will set you back for Bs. 80.
By moto rental
Martin, a 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.
- 1 El Fuerte de Samaipata. This UNESCO World Heritage site was a holy place and ceremonial site of the local pre-Inca and Inca civilizations, and was used further by the Spanish until the new town of Samaipata was built. There are ruins of all three eras here. The centerpiece, however, is the huge, carved ceremonial rock. There's not too much to see in terms of buildings or statues, but if you're interested in the ancient cultures and read all the signs on the site or hire a guide, then it makes for a good day trip (on foot) or half-day trip (by car/taxi) from Samaipata. To go there on foot, head east along the highway (direction Santa Cruz) for 3 km until the road going uphill to the right, where a sign points you to 'El Fuerte de Samaipata'. Follow this road (with almost no traffic) for about 6 km uphill, and you end up directly at the entrance. Bs. 50.
- Animal refugio (Walk 2 km out of town from near the mercado municipal—signposted along the way). There are some birds and monkeys and other animals which like to play and say hello. Bs. 20.
- Other destinations are Vallegrande, Pucará and La Higuera (where Che Guevara was killed), as well as Laguna Quirusillas. The highway from Santa Cruz city to Samaipata is very scenic.
- Amboro Park. Offering hikes in the cloud forest. You can hire a guide from one of the agencies downtown. There are trails and you can hike by yourself too... 30bs to go with mototaxi 15bs entrance Bs. 210 pp for a group of 4, Bs. 320 pp for a group of 2.
- Cuevas, easy to visit waterfalls with a beautiful area to discover on your own.
- Condor Mountain, best to visit on clear days. The hike will take a long day with 4 hr car driving and 4 to 6 hr of hiking. It's considered an alternative to the Colca Canyon in Peru, though the probability to see condors is slightly lower here. Condors often appear around midday, but don't bet on seeing more than some black dots in the sky.
- La Pajcha waterfall, close to the condor mountain, great for camping. Is often combined with the condor hike on the same day.
- There´s some great but simple canyoning through spectacular canyons. It's possible as self guided hikes, if you know what you're doing and where you're going, but not in the rainy season December-February.
- Museo Arqueologico de Samaipata (Calle Bolivar, near Caff'e Art): small museum, Bs. 5
- Descanso en las Alturas-Pizzeria, Calle Bolivar Final, ☏ +591 944-6072.
- 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. Bs. 40.
- La Oveja Negra (two blocks from main square). From 18:00. Dutch owned gringo favourite bar/rest. Substantial portions of chicken/veg curry, chilli con carne, goulash. Plus sumptuous apple crumble. Kind owners. Board games and darts too av. Bs. 30.
- Ranita (one block on the corner from the main square). Daily 08:00-12:00, 16:00-18:00. Ridiculously good bread and pastries (everything else poor, esp the coffee!) at this French bakers. A must.
- Posada del Sol restobar. Try newly open Restobar at Posada del Sol! Food is great and drinks are first class!
- 1900, Main Square. After your big meal you could retreat to this cafe with a WiFi Connection (through 3G). Has some nice pasteles and hot chocolate.
- Mercado municipal Lanza. You can find good and cheap lunch options on the 1st floor of the market. There is also a vegetarian stand who offers full lunch for 22 BS, not every day of the week, as of September 2022.
La Oveja Negra Owned by a Dutch couple and run by friendly youngsters, this bar has a pub feel to it.
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. Just check tripadvisor if you doubt it!
- Residencial Vargas - simple rooms from Bs. 20, Lovely owners.
- Andoriña Hostal, Art & Culture, Calle Campero (2 1/2 blocks before main square), ☏ +591 3 944 6333, firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 24 hr, check-out: 24 hr. 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. Bs. 40 inc breakfast.
- El Jardin, Calle Arenales final s/n (2 cuadras del mercado), ☏ +591 73119461, email@example.com. With oven and barbecue. Also some clay igloos for Bs. 35 per person. Independent shared kitchen. Cafe, library. You can sleep for free if you work in the garden. Hippies love the place, the owners are a friendly young couple. In the sunshine all day long. Rooms for Bs. 30 per person. Camping for Bs. 15.
Mid-range to splurge
- Vivero Sarita, 2 blocks from the Village Plaza, ☏ +591 7-368-4035. Check-in: 11:00, check-out: 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.
- 1 Quinta Piray, Road to Valle Abajo (Taxis charge Bs. 10-15 or through a short 10 minute (1 km) walk from central square), ☏ +591 721 91292 (WhatsApp). Check-out: 12:00. Offers more than 20 cabins. Also, you will find ample green spaces of flowers and gardens. US$40-90.
- El Pueblito Resort Hotel and Restaurant, ☏ +591-7-214-7994, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Finca "La Víspera" An Unsurpassed Paradisiacal Retreat, where the owners welcome those visitors who long for silence and nature.  Guesthouses, Horses, Camping, Garden Café.
- 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.
There is a Banco Union on Campero with an ATM.
The Cooperativa la Merced will give cash advance on Visa or Mastercard during working hours, you can also get cash advance in nearby Mairana.
- A bus to Sucre is about Bs. 70-120. The road is shakey, and the journey can still take a whole day. However, it's a scenic route, and it's also possible to do it over night. There is no bus terminal in Samaipata. There is a laundry shop in Calle Campero (across the street of hostel Andoriña) that sells bus tickets. It might look a bit dodgy but it's working. The owners of the shop will resell you ticket from bus companies of Santa Cruz and will bring you to the pick-up spot. Don't expect a good bus.
Alternatively, flights from Santa Cruz to Sucre take only 30 min, but of course you'd first have to go back to Santa Cruz.
- You can go to Mairana by Taxi/Truffi for Bs. 7. and then get a Bus at 08:00 to Cochabamba (Bs. 40). It will get there around 18:30. The road is approx. 70% not paved, so expect a bumpy ride.