Making Samaipata travel plans? It’s known as the Little Switzerland of Bolivia. Use this checklist of things you need to know about Samaipata when planning your trip. Use the links above and below for more information on hostels and hotels, tours, photos, maps and more.
What you need to know before you go
1. Samaipata is a small town nestled in a valley in the foothills of the Andes. It’s a 2-3 hour trip by car from Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia’s largest city. Read more about the origins of it’s main attraction, the Samaipata Fort here.
2. Samaipata is a favorite weekend spot for locals too. Make your reservation at Samaipata Hostels and Hotels a few days in advance.
3. When it rains the drive to Samaipata can be foggy and slippery. Drive carefully or ask your driver to do the same.
What to take on Samaipata tours
1. Sunglasses. Although Samaipata has a temperate climate the sun can be harsh at midday.
2. Sun block. On sunny days, even if it feels cool, you can get a sunburn.
3. Bottled water. You can also purchase bottled water easily in stores. However, take some for the drive and especially if you take any of the walking tours. Once you get out of town there is nowhere to purchase water.
4. Warm clothing. As you go up in altitude the weather cools and since Samaipata is in the mountains, it cools quickly when the sun goes down. Although it may be warm during the day, nights are cold. Dress in layers.
5. Insect repellent. In Samaipata most attractions involve hiking, trekking, horseback riding, biking, and other outdoor activities.
6. Cash. Samaipata has a credit union called Cooperativa La Merced where you’ll be able to use your credit card but there is no ATM (automatic teller machine).
7. Rain jacket. Samaipata does get fog and rain quite often, especially during the rainy season (roughly November to March). The town is located at just over 1600 meters above sea level in the cloud forest.
8. Proper cellphone. If you plan to bring your international cellphone, you should know Bolivia uses a different system than many countries. Read more about that below. In addition, cellphone signals are sometimes weak in Samaipata.
9. Cameras, batteries, battery chargers, cellphone charger, electric current converter and if you use a digital camera, extra memory cards.
When is the best time of year to visit
Samaipata is located at 1650 meters above sea level. The weather is cool in the morning, can be warm to hot at midday, and cools off again at night. Air conditioning is almost never needed here. During the rainy season rain and fog can be sporadic or last for days. The average annual temperature is 21ºC but temperatures can vary between 25ºC and 15ºC. During the winter (June and July mostly) the climate can be colder, as Bolivia sometimes experiences “surazos” which are bone-chilling winds that blow north from Argentina dropping temperatures by 10-15 degrees overnight.
Click here to see the weather in Samaipata today and for the next 15 days. Click here to see more about the climate in Bolivia.
General tourist information for Samaipata
1. The electricity in Samaipata is 220V.
2. There is only one bank (a credit union) in Samaipata. It accepts credit cards but there is no ATM. Here's more on Bolivian money.
4. There is an ENTEL international calling center with fax and internet service and an internet café on the main plaza in Samaipata. Here's how to place phone calls in Bolivia.
5. Samaipata is generally safe. However, women should be cautious when alone. Also, by law you must carry your documentation at all times.
6. Most tour operators speak at least language other than Spanish. Because so many hostels and tour operators are foreign-owned you’ll find someone who speaks, Dutch, German, French or English.
7. Samaipata has a small hospital, several dentist, pharmacies, doctors, and a veterinarian.
8. There is a Tourist Information office right on the main plaza.
9. Samaipata has a large foreign resident community and lovely hospitable locals. You will always find someone to help you out or inform you.
10. If you need to do laundry, contact the Tourist Information office on the main square or call them at 944-6293 locally. Michael Blendinger Tours also offers laundry services. Contact them at 944-6227 locally.
How to Get There from Santa Cruz
How to get to Samaipata by taxi or by bus - How to drive to Samaipata.