Stunning little Bolivian town, surrounded by mountains and valleys. Great base for trekking, and would be possible to do so without paying for a tour if someone created some simple trail maps. This town could become the El Chalten of Bolivia, a perfect base for self guided treks, with local businesses generating income from services in the town. Visitors stay in El Chalten five, six days or more since they don’t have to pay for tours, thereby spending more on accommodation, food, alcohol …etc. Unfortunately in Samaipata it’s two or three days max and you’re off, since the only way to trek is one a tour.
And choose your tour carefully. The one I went on – Ben Verhoef Tours – mislead our group on our selected trek. We were sold on a circular trek of around 6 hours walking time to the Condor Valley, ending in a visit to a gorgeous waterfall we could swim in. Instead we trekked for around 4.5 hours (which should have been 4 hours but our overweight, unfit guide had to stop to rest overy 20 minutes), and backtracked to the vehicle to be driven to the waterfall. Majority of our group was very disappointed in the trek.
And too bad, as I said, a gorgeous little town, and I saw my first Inca ruins! They just need to sort out the trekking side of it for visitors.