Samaipata is a very relaxing place and you will quickly slow to the pace of life there. There are no angry car horns though you may well not escape the Bolivian love of firecrackers in the plaza. It is very easy to go with the flow and do nothing except relax and enjoy the surroundings and the quality of the food available. If you do wish to do certain things in Samaipata you will need to be organised about it.
The better hostels will give their guests ideas and/or maps for some self-guided hikes in the area rather than merely trying to sell them tours. Failing this, cafe La Chakana in the main plaza has a folder with details of 8 such walks, though the maps are very basic and you will need to copy out this information yourself as you wait for your food. However none of these trails are actually marked on the land. A hostel which laid these trails would surely have a huge advantage over competitors.
Samaipata is far from a twee tourist village – two streets away from the plaza (on Calle Arenales) is the covered market offering fruit and vegetables, cheap meals in the comedor and a wide range of clothing. I’d managed to forget spare socks and was presented with an array of options. The street also houses shops offering animal feeds, household goods and jewellery repairs.
Alison Donald traveled to Samaipata to get a fresh view of this town that is so popular among tourists and expats, having first visited in June 2010. Read about Samaipata Bolivia
from her perspective as a returning local, no longer a tourist.