Las Cuevas (Samaipata)    

Image for Entry 1197414222 Our last day in Samaipata started out OK but a strong wind swept in and soon it was pouring. By the time we'd visited the small local museum, it had stopped, so we headed off by taxi to Las Cuevas.

The waterfalls are on private land, shut off from the street by a huge gate. At the gate stood a skinny kid who demanded 10 Bolivianos from each of us. My first thought was, "Yah right! This is how the local kids make some extra cash, hanging out in front of the gate charging tourists." However, it was private property so it would make sense that the owner would charge. The kid didn't have change, or a ticket, or even a receipt. He offered to take our 50 Boliviano note and then when we returned to the gate on our way out he'd give us change and a receipt. We took our money and told him while we were in the park, he could go find change and receipts and we'd pay him when we came back out.

We walked in. We were the only people there. The weather had become a mix of sunny and slightly rainy. The waterfalls were gentle falls, over reddish rock and spiky green plants. Below were shallow pools and soft red sand. Other paths led to 2 more waterfalls.

The third was located down a quiet emerald forest path.

There were butterflies, birds and we even saw a flock of parrots. We played around in the waterfalls for a bit.

We could have continued on a path that led along the river but I was worried about finding a taxi back into town (20km). As we were leaving, we passed a large group of people coming in. The kid at the gate had a handful of cash. We paid him and he gave us change. Then he asked if we wanted a receipt. I said sure. With a serious air, he walked over to a cart and produced a receipt pad. Very professionally, he filled it out, sneaking glances at previous receipts to make sure he was doing it right, writing Bienti Bolivianos (I found it encouraging that native Spanish speakers can't tell the difference between the 'B' and 'V' sounds either).

My worries about catching a taxi were unfounded and soon we were back in town with a lot of time to spare.

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