Samaipata

1 – 4 August

After visiting the northern part of Amboro NP and spending a day in the rainforest, it is time to check out the southern part of this giant park next. Samaipata is the gateway to the cloud forest called La Yunga as well as a good base for several other sights of interest. Together with an international group of people from three different continents we go for a wonderful hike through this pre-historic cloud forest where we find small rivers, stunning views of the valley and the extensions of the Andes, hummingbirds and huge ferns that are up to ten meters tall and several hundreds of years old. It almost feels like walking through a surreal forest of a movie setting, like Avatar.

My next daytrip takes me to Las Cuevas, three gorgeous waterfalls surrounded by red rocks/mountains covered in lush green. It is just a short walk along the river to get to them and thanks to very few other visitors I almost have the three falls and its sandy beaches just for myself.

Last but not least, I head up to El Fuerte, some Inka ruin up the hill overlooking the entire valley. Even though I have seen more impressive ruins before this site is diffferent as the majority of the ruins are carved into a massive monolith rock.

This part of Bolivia is very special as its vegetation reminds me of various places around the world. I remember seeing huge ferns in New Zealand similar to the ones here in the cloud forest for example. On my way to the ruins I pass pine forests and in combination with their smell and the mild/warm climate I make a connection to the Mediterranean and in and around Samaipata I even find cypresses just like in Italy’s Toscany.

Fitting the beauty and the variety of the nature here, my hostel “El Jardin” (the garden) is very nature based as well with an open kitchen, hammocks and bond fire place gathered around a garden full of flowers, some dogs, plenty of colourful birds and amazing views of the stars and the Milky Way at night.

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