Presentation of the destination
Yapacani is a quiet city that is beside a navigable river by the same name, River Yapacani. This city is about 175 kilometers from the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia. Situated in a pristine location with lush green forests, and on the banks of the river Yapacani, this city offers hours of entertainment to the adventure sports enthusiasts who will enjoy the fishing and the boating on the river Yapacani that flows into the Amazon. Strategically located on the northern side of Amboró National Park and Forest Reserve, this city gives access to the 'The Chore' intact forest, and lets the visitors take the trail through the forest into the lakes that are there inside the forest. A beautiful city to spend a weekend in nature throughout the year as the weather is semi-arid and hot. The currency used is the Bolivian Boliviano.
Points of interests / things to see
Amboró National Park is about 30 kilometers from Yapacani. This is a bio-diverse park that is part of the Vilcabamba-Amboró corridor that begins in the Vilcabamba mountains in Perú and extends all the way into Amboró National Park in Bolivia. Covering an area of 637,000 hectares with peaks that rise from 300 meters to 3,200 meters above sea level, this park is home to over 2,659 species of flora. Visitors will be fascinated to spot any of the 127 mammals, 73 amphibians, 105 reptiles or the 812 species of birds that call this park home. An amazing Eco-system that has different climatic conditions at different parts of the park, the annual rainfall is between 600mm to 3,400mm in the wettest areas of this park. Many of this regions water source begins at this park and it is the main source of water to the communities that have settled around the rivers. The municipalities that are around this protected area are the Yapacaní, Porongo, Mairana, Pampa Grande, Comarapa and Samaipata. Buena Vista, San Carlos, and El Torno. Visitors can pick one of the many trails on offer, depending on the fitness levels and time available. Explore the natural pools and the high waterfalls that are around this park. Website: http://www.bolivia-online.net/en/santa-cruz/134/amboro-national-park
This beautiful resort has a fully equipped camping site and rustic cabins near the Ichilo river in the municipality of Yapacani. It has a highway link until San Germain, but the terrain is unpaved for the rest of the 20 kilometers. Run by the Ichilo Colorado community, this resort has been planned to encourage eco-tourism aimed at conservation of the forests and protecting the local endangered turkey hen, Copete de Piedra that makes it home in the forests. The turkey hen is close to extinction due to hunting and deforestation. With basic facilities for camping and the cabins, visitors can enjoy roughing it out in the jungles! The local guides will take you into the forest for an educational and adventurous trek. As you walk through the forest, notice the giant ferns and exotic flora along the way. Wild orchids are everywhere, admire their splendor on the tree branches and rocks in this forest. Enjoy the pristine rainforest with the natural canyons, waterfalls with their natural pools, and mountain streams, where you can cool off after the strenuous trek. The locals use many medicinal herbs from these jungles and you will learn the properties of some of the plants that could help relieve pain and improve blood circulation. Website: www.bolivia-online.net
The Missions of Chiquitos is the House of God of the chiquitanos and it strives to maintain a balance between the two cultures of the Europeans and the Americans. A popular religious following, the chiquitano baroque music is one of the examples of the success of this culture as it has over 5,000 original scores and it is also involved in the International Festival of Baroque Music Chiquitana that it promotes every two years. There are seven villages that are part of this rich cultural heritage, they are Santa Ana de Velasco, San Ignacio de Velasco, Conception, San Javier, San Miguel de Velasco, San Rafael de Velasco, and San Jose de Chiquitos. The main attraction is the churches that are cared for by the locals after the missionary era. Festivals like Easter have been given its own unique festivities like the crucifixion ordeal that the indigenous people enact. They are an example of the American Baroque that shows people and temples being the living heirs of this native missionary culture. An unusual sight in the middle of dense terrain, the seven villages have been embraced by historians and architects who are committed to restoring the churches. It has been declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Yapacani is a picturesque city that has an air of colonial past. Begin the tour of this city from the main plaza. Walking is the best way to explore this city as it lets you appreciate the local sights. The Jesuit museum is in the plaza and it offers an insight into the religious culture of this region. Explore the stalls that have souvenirs made from a natural fiber called the Jipi Japa. Proceed northwards and you will be at the shores of the Yapacani river. This river is navigable throughout the year and it has a lagoon called the Laguna Madrejones that offers beautiful views of this majestic river and opportunities to indulge in water sports. Take a break and have lunch at the shores with its white sands and the adventurous can taste the armadillo or the wild boar meat, prepared in the local style! The Balneario is a swimming and spa that is just a short distance from Yapacani on the Surutú River. Visitors can bathe in the warm waters and walk on to the nearby eco-resort to play billiards, soccer or ride a horse into the forest. Yapacani offers a holiday with nature, spent fishing, swimming and exploring the forest's flora and fauna.
Cotaca is a famous destination for its festival honoring the Virgin of Cotoca, The Patron of Eastern Bolivia. A beautiful city that is a two hour journey from Yapacani on paved roads through the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra. This city has a diversity in traditional food and visitors will enjoy tasting the local cuisine during the festival that occurs every December between 8th-15th, when the faithful carry the image of the Virgin Mary through the streets. According to local myth, the image of the Virgin was found by two runaway peasants when they took shelter in the mountains. There was a glow from the trunk of the tree on the 15th of December and they discovered this image and took it to the church of Cotoca, but the image disappeared at night again and it was found miraculously in the trunk of the same tree. The locals shifted the image with the tree trunk, so that the image would not disappear again. This was the origin of this festival. The main square is the location of the church and visitors will find interesting souvenirs on display, especially on Sundays.
Yapacani is a small city with about 27,000 inhabitants, there are many farms around this city that cultivate mandarin oranges, rice and sugarcane and other smaller farms that grow vegetables. Rice is the largest cultivated crop in this region. Take a trek on the Faja Norte road to the farms around this city and explore the traditional farming methods used by the locals even today. The roads are muddy and during the rainy season, it is advisable to hire a taxi to visit these small communities that lie on the north of Yapacani. Villa Imperial, Cascabel, Challavito and El Comandito are some of the rice producing communities.
Cross the Surutú river into La Chonta that is about a 23 minutes drive from the city of Yapacani. There is accommodation given by the local community and local guides to take you into the park. A beautiful region with exotic local flora and fauna. Explore this pristine park on horseback. There are trainers who will help you through the dense forests and the opportunity to observe the ancient trees, medicinal plants, ferns and local flowers are excellent. Take a hike through the park along the many marked trekking circuits like the 'Las Palmeras'. Admire the lush greenery on foot or on horseback for memories of a lifetime.
The beautiful Laguna Verde offers spectacular views of the legendary green lake at the San Carlos municipality. The local Oriente Chichas community have developed a quaint eco-resort that has comfortable rooms to accommodate a group of twelve people. This resort offers excellent guide service and transportation by four wheel vehicles. The journey to this site is specatuclar as visitors will cross the rivers Yantatá, Mataracú, Yapacaní, and Isama. Trek to the 50 meter high waterfall and the natural pools that welcome bathing. The Green Lake is the main attraction in this municipality and trekking is breathtaking through pristine and dense forests. It is quite easy to spot animals like the caimans here.
The Cajones del río Ichilo is one of the most spectacular sights at Cajones del Ichilo close to Yapacani. This is a narrowing of the river that forms a natural series of pools around the course creating a picturesque location. Visitors will be enthralled with the swimming that is on offer in these small natural pools in the midst of the riverbed. This is an excellent spot for fishing and sports enthusiasts will enjoy the canoeing, rafting and kayaking along this river. The Guacharos Cavern is close to the river and visitors can explore the cave that is home to the Guacharos. These are nocturnal birds that live in colonies inside the cavern like bats.
Vacation rentals in Yapacani (Santa Cruz Department)
How to get there ?
The Yapacani Airport (SLYI) is the airport closest to the city of Yapacani in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. There are taxis available from the airport or visitors can take the bus from the old bus terminal. The buses will leave the terminal only when they are full and the journey will take over three hours as it stops frequently along the way. Shared taxis or trufis as they are called are also available at the bus terminal. The journey will take about two hours, but these share taxis will move only when they are full. The trufis or micro are convenient, but do fix the rate before sitting in one. Cars can be hired from the airport, the roads are good into the city center, but maneuvering the vehicle in the outskirts is difficult as the roads can be muddy and treacherous. Getting around There are many agencies that offer touring options around Yapacani and your hotel will be able to guide you. Water sports like kayaking or canoeing require special equipment and these agenices will hire them for you. Fishing trips are the most popular at Yapacani, the agencies will take you to the perfect spot on the boats! Seeing the city is best on foot, the city is small and does not have much to offer culturally.
Hotels in Yapacani (Santa Cruz Department)