ACROSS CENTRAL BOLIVIA (WEST TO EAST).

SECOND PART: COCHABAMBA – PUERTO QUIJARRO

This route crosses the country for its Ecuador from one end to the other leaving behind landscapes and populations of all colors. In the western zone we have the Andes and the altiplano, then the yungas or high jungle, and finally, to the east, the jungle... Some of the most interesting points of the eastern part are the following:

  • Cochabamba

  • Santa Cruz de la Sierra

  • Samaipata

  • Los Hervores, Aguas Calientes (Roboré)

Cochabamba

In the center of the country at 2500 meters above sea level is this interesting and lively city (university city), capital of the department of the same name. It is one of the oldest cities in the country, with a colonial layout of beautiful buildings, squares and wide avenues. The nature of the surrounding area is remarkable, including several relatively close National Parks: Tunari, Carrasco and Torotoro (the latter not so close).

Santa Cruz de la Sierra

The capital of the jungle, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, located right at the end of the Eastern Cordillera, does not stand out for its beauty, but for its chaos and for how big it is (largest city in Bolivia). However, there are some nice spots, such as the colonial center (Plaza 24 de Septiembre and the surrounding area), and it is a good base for excursions to places like Samaipata, the Amboró National Park (jungle northern section, from Bonavista), the Che’s Route, the Jesuit Missions, go deep into the jungle... Or even set course to Brazil, towards the Pantanal. This is what I did (you can go by road or train).

Samaipata

Meeting place for travelers, also known as Samaitrapa (it is a pun that means getting stuck in that town), offers fun, nature and relaxation (perfect climate). In my particular case, it has an even more special value: it was the birthplace of my pup Cocaí. Over there it all began! The village, floating on a Yungas type ecosystem, is small, with dirt roads, with a few markets and a nice central square. Among the treasures of its surroundings we have the Amboró National Park (yungas southern section), the Cuevas Ecological Center with beautiful waterfalls and exuberant flora, and the pre-inca site El Fuerte.

 

For those seeking to settle for a while in a place this is a good spot, since you can easily find small jobs or volunteering in exchange for room and board. The place really encourages you (again, good weather, fellow travelers, nature...).

Los Hervores, Aguas Calientes (Roboré)

This small oasis, remote and little known (for now), is a luxury. A river of volcanic thermal waters and, according to many, with healing properties, runs with hot water along five kilometers in the middle of the jungle. It is neither more nor less than the most extensive hot spring river in Latin America. No need to say more, come and discover... And swim in paradise.

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