Santa Cruz, Bolivia
Class has ended – You are now FREE!
I went to visit my good friend Patricia (from Brandeis) and her Family in Santa Cruz, Bolivia right after classes got out here in Chile. It had been a year since we´ve seen each other and we had always planned to see each other here in So. Am. because we knew we would be close.
Santa Cruz is quite different than the rest of Bolivia known to most tourists, it is tropical for one (although most of Bolivia is Tropical in terms of land coverage). Second it is likely the most modern and richest city in Bolivia. It is also the quickest growing city, maybe in S. Am., well at least Bolivia. With such growth they do need a larger airport! Things are still cheap here but you can find large homes for $500,000 and malls or stores like LACOSTE (expensive). For me this city is important because it is growing in terms of exercise. South America is experiencing a spur in exercise as it is becoming fashionable to run and go to the gym. S.C. is maybe the first city in Bolivia to join this trend. In fact NB recently began selling there!
So the entire trip was 10 days and about half was in S.C. while the other were trips around the Provence or state of S.C. Blog about side trips here.
This part is time spent in S.C itself (by the way S.C, is not a tourist city but the surrounding areas are very nice and worth a look!) and in Samaipata. I spent 2 days in Samaipata, a cute town about 3 hrs from S.C. by trufi (collectivo or shared taxi). The first day I went to El Fuente by taxi 40B or a bit less than 6 USD…10 km ride. Then walked back to town 1) because I had time and 2) to actually see the scenery slowly. Hotel was also 40B a night but could be 100 or more.
Any who the fuente is magical or so they say I would not agree exactly but the area is beautiful, very peaceful, and relaxing. I spent two hours exploring the site.
After speaking with a tour agency to see if there were any hikes or scheduled trips worth my while I went the next day to Cuervas – 30- 40 min from Samiapata (toward S.C.) to see the waterfalls. There were three gorgeous but small falls. worth the trip and from the third one i started my hike following the map drawn on a small sheet of paper up the ridge of the hillside up up and up I went with the river and mountains at one side and the road at the other. I got to the path i thought i was supposed to turn at but went straight anyway…yep should have turned…I walked back to the obvious path and headed down…breaking through a farmers gate, scaring cows, and making my way back to the river. I hiked the hills following cow track paths and eventually just walked back using the river. great way to end the hike, followed by lunch at the third waterfall and a quick shower under its power :D.
I somehow managed to get a ride back to S.C. with a family who happened to be leaving when I was. Free but only to the 6th anillo….the city has 8…rings and my friend is in the second. From there I took a micro (small bus) to the 3rd anillo and waited for my friend to get off work. All the while taking photos of el cristo.
Oh yes and my last adventure was to La Rinconada to see…Las Reina Victoria..de the Amazon where the largest lily pad was recorded! Unfortunately August is the best time to go there were few there when we went but they were building a new commemorative monument with a replica of the largest pad….3.20 meters in Diameter! Woah like nearly double of me! The best part was how we got there…we decided to walk from the house because no micros go there, it is across the river where rich homes and resorts are…booo. So from the house we walked to the 4th anillo…20 minutes ok…then onto the highway and across the river…at least 3 km. Then from there it was like 7 more…wooo fun times under the sun and now beer along the way! Good thing we brought H2O!