Home » capucinecogne » My Blog » Blog » Travel Adventures » Hippie town, mototaxis, and stopping the bus on a main road

The beginning of a two-month adventure in Latin America, travelling Bolivia and Argentina.


We arrive in Santa Cruz, Bolivia at 4am, and ask a taxi driver to drop us at the cathedral. Predictably, we gave a little too much for our first taxi ride in the continent. We observe the cathedral not yet open, and meander streets of closed shops. On a whim, we decide to go to Samaipata – known as a trendy oasis hidden in the hills South of Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz Cathedral in the morning light

The Hippie Town

Samaipata, which we simply knew as a pleasant town from the guidebook, turned out to be very international and the “hippie town” of Bolivia. We take a break, have a mediocre lunch – though with a beautiful vista on the square, and jump on some moto taxis to visit the Fuerte, a pre-Inca site around the corner. I get along well with my driver: he tells me about Samaipata, his childhood, his studies in the big city, Santa Cruz, the Fuerte, the vineyards in the area… here began my endless stream of questions to understand the fascinating country that is Bolivia.

Graffiti just off the main square

Bus Ride

The locals tell us “just take your 20kg backpacks, and hand luggage, and wait on the main road in the dark; put your hand out, the bus will stop.” Having mainly experienced Europe and China, the idea of not booking a ticket for a 10-hour bus ride was peculiar and worrying to me. What if we stayed on the road all night, with trucks whizzing past?

Ten minutes later, we stopped a bus: they had space. Lucky! Not quite high-end comfort: booming TV and kids. But all good: sleeping pills, sleeping mask, earplugs… LET’S SLEEP!

Blurry-eyed, blurry photo

We get to Sucre at 4am – a spooky walk to the hostel whilst the town is asleep. Then, I get some admin done whilst Elliot passes out on a sofa. Elliot has grown up. He is no longer my baby cousin. In the four years I was in China, he became the mature, kind, caring, artistic man he is today. I’m so lucky to be able to get to know him.

A rough idea of where Samaipata is

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