Over 1,000 years ago, a group called the Chane lived in the Andes Mountains, in what is now Bolivia. They lived in densely populated villages, farmed and created some rather extraordinary rock art. Most of the villages are long gone, but the rock art is still visible today at El Fuerte de Samaipata, this week’s featured UNESCO World Heritage Site.
To the Chane, El Fuerte de Samaipata was a religious site. It was destroyed when a rival group, the Guarani, conquered the Chane. The Spanish also built a settlement there, and the Incas, who allied with the Chane against the Guarani, also had a settlement nearby. So, when you visit El Fuerte de Samaipata you can actually see architectural ruins from all three cultures.
However, it’s the Chane rock art that really steals the show. On a stone hill, the Chane carved a panoply of figures, including the jaguars and snakes that are so common in Pre–Columbian art. They also built a water tank out of stone and carved seats for participants and spectators. SacredSites.com has a great picture.
Here’s how UNESCO describes the site:
Samaipata bears outstanding witness to the existence in this Andean region of a culture with highly developed religious traditions, illustrated dramatically in the form of immense rock sculptures.
To visit these ruins, you will need your passport (of course) and a Bolivian visa. Bolivian visas can be obtained on arrival as long as you enter the country at an official border crossing, or you can apply in advance if you would prefer to have one in hand before you leave the US. However, if you choose to apply for one arrival, make sure you have $135 cash on hand to pay for it!
For more information about how to get a Bolivian visa to explore these ruins, see Bolivian Visa Requirements for Tourists.
RushMyTravelVisa can expedite your Bolivian visa, as well as any other visas you may need for your trip. We’ll research your itinerary, help you with the paperwork and deliver your visa application to the correct embassy or consulate for the fastest possible processing.