Samaipata, El Fuerte and Amboro National Park
Discover Samaipata, congenial the mountain resort 2-3 hours from Santa Cruz, the archaeological site El Fuerte and the dense cloudforest of Amboró National Park.
Just a couple of hours’ scenic drive up a forested valley into the cool mountains above sultry Santa Cruz, you’ll reach the pretty little colonial-style town of Samaipata, popular among Cruceños as a retreat from the heat of the big city as well as adventurous international visitors. It has a completely different vibe, with a covered market bulging with the kaleidoscopic colours of tropical fruit and vegetables, literary cafés, congenial bars and streets lines with red-tiled houses with wooden doors featuring street art.
Spend a couple of days here, during which you can choose from a selection of relaxed guided excursions into the delightful surrounding countryside. Visit el Fuerte, a hilltop archaeological site where pre Inca peoples carved animals and birds in the sandstone, subsequently occupied by the Inca and Spanish Empires: vestiges of all eras remain.
Don’t miss Amboró National Park, accessible by a bumpy dirt road. This park extends over a range of altitudes, from 300m to 3,300m, and embraces habitats for a huge variety of highland and lowland plants, over 700 species of birds and many mammals, including jaguar, puma and spectacled bear though you are unlikely to spot these on your short incursion into the cloud forest section park. You will see, however, giant fern trees some of which are hundreds of years old.
Santa Cruz and the Oriente
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Alex Walker - Travel Expert
A globetrotter since her childhood, Alex spent a year studying abroad in Guadalajara and has returned to Latin America countless times since then.
Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Expert
Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.
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Maggie visited Latin America on her first backpacking trip when she was 19. Since then, she has taken every opportunity to travel, and has managed to explore a lot of the region in subsequent trips.
Lina Fuller - Travel Expert
Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba (Argentina) to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.
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A former Journey Latin America tour leader, Sally spent 7 years working, travelling and living throughout Latin America before returning to the UK to help people arrange their own adventures to this wonderful destination.
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Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.