Located 2½ hours east of Santa Cruz, Samaipata is near Amboró National Park between the Andes foothills. Best known for the pre-Columbian ruins El Fuerte, this lush hideaway is also home to waterfalls Las Cuevas and La Pajcha and serves as the gateway to the Cruceño Valleys, where historic cave paintings are found. Unpaved village roads are lined with shops selling fresh bread, organic vegetables, local honey, and various
types of cheese and sausage. Framing the main Plaza Principal are art galleries and a small museum explaining the region’s history. Samaipata still lacks an independent tourist office and money exchange, so bring enough bolivianos if you plan on staying awhile. Between April and September, south winds make for cold nights.