Lovers of the outdoors have been hit hard by the lock-down measures taken all over the world, their souls itching to get back on the trail, climb a mountain, explore a river in an unknown jungle, bathe in a pristine waterfall after a hike in the forest. Bolivia is one of the best countries in South America to travel to if you love ecotourism, nature and the outdoors, named in the New York Times as one of the places to visit in 2020.
In this post, we tell you all about the best places in Bolivia to travel to if you are looking for a post-lockdown immersion in the Great Outdoors.
Samaipata is a small town about three hours away from the city of Santa Cruz, on the foothills of the Amboro National Park, a natural reservation known for its biodiversity and amazing, contrasting landscapes. The town itself is very quaint and offers an array of restaurants and lodging to fit every taste and budget.
The town is rife with tourist agencies where you can book all kinds of experiences, from hiking to the waterfalls, to climbing up to the Condor´s Nest, to exploring the Amboro National Park or The Fort, an Incan archeological site that was named Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
San Ignacio de Velasco
San Ignacio de Velasco is a town on the Chiquitos Missions Circuit in the department of Santa Cruz. It is one of the towns founded by Jesuit priests in colonial times, which have become famous for the blending of indigenous and western cultures, the architecture of its amazing churches, named Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, and traditions in music, dance and fabrication of classical instruments that are still alive today.
Best of all, San Ignacio is the entry gate to the incredible Noel Kempf Mercado Park, a pristine natural reservation so off the beaten path that many travelers recommend it as the only one in South America where you can actually hike for days without meeting another soul. Incredible wildlife, waterfalls, mountains and jungle, all in one amazing destination.
You can travel to San Ignacio de Velasco by train from Santa Cruz easily and afordably, online with the most reliable payment platforms, and book a tour to the Noel Kempf Mercado park from there.
Riberalta is a town on the departmento of Beni, a tropical region of Bolivia known for its rain forest tropical climate and many options for eco-tours through the tropical rivers and jungle. Riberalta is the place to go if you don´t flintch from tarantulas, like to see pink dolphins as well as alligators and will enjoy sleeping under a mosquitoe net.
Traveling to Riveralta is not as easy and affordable as the first two options, but very much worth it. To travel to Riberalta, you have two options; either do it bu bus or plane. To travel to Riberalta by plane, you will take a plane from one of the major Bolivan cities (La Paz, Cochabamba or Santa Cruz). It is unlikely that you will find a direct flight, so you will probably make a scale in Trinidad, the department´s capital, before arriving in Riberalta. It is even possible you will need to change planes, depending on where you are arriving from.
If you choose to travel by bus, you can take one from the Bus Terminal of Santa Cruz or La Paz. Be aware that the highway conditions are very poor, making the trip very long, even though the actual distance between Riberalta and any major city is not that big (La Paz and Riberalta, for example, are separated by 922 km, but the trip takes about 30 hours). If you don´t mind a long bus trip, the views are gorgeous.
Meet you on the trail!