Santa Cruz may be a commonly visited area among backpackers but this is not often by selection. House to Bolivia’s largest international airport, loads of travellers visit however often treat the town as a connecting level, quite than an area worthy of exploration in its personal right.
What these backpackers don’t know, is that they’re truly lacking out on discovering a few of Bolivia’s most lovely landscapes. Keen to take advantage of our time in Santa Cruz, my boyfriend Tim and I reached out to responsible tour agency Nick’s Adventures to see simply what this area has to supply.
Lomas de Area
A number of emails later and we had arranged a trip to Lomas de Area with Nick. This protected savannah space is situated simply 25 km outdoors of Santa Cruz and boasts 3000 hectares of sand dunes. This makes the spot an excellent place for sand boarding!
In addition to the sand dunes, forests surround the desert, providing not only spectacular views as two ecosystems collide but in addition fabulous wildlife recognizing opportunities. In the surrounding areas, it’s attainable to see monkeys, sloths and even caiman!
The terrain was tough so we have been grateful for a reliable driver!
Visiting Lomas de Area Independently
It is attainable to visit Lomas de Area independently from Santa Cruz. You possibly can organize a taxi for round 200 bolivianos or take one of the communal minibuses from the centre. This can value around 3 bolivianos per individual. Ask your hostel for details of which one to get.
The path into the protected space is just about unattainable to traverse by automotive until you will have a 4×4. Subsequently, travellers visiting independently should brave the 7 km stroll from the doorway to the dunes. The entrance charge is 10 bolivianos for adults and 5 bolivianos for youngsters.
Although tours to Lomas de Area are a costlier means through which to see the world, exploring with a guide comes with an enormous quantity of advantages. Firstly, travellers can keep away from the long trek to the dunes which gives little in the best way of views and gets very popular.
Sand board rental is included within the worth of most tours and means your gear is transported to the location for you. The area is very large so in an effort to discover the perfect views, you will want to be ready to seek for hours or go together with somebody who knows the format nicely.
The hike gives little in the best way of shade so ensure you have your solar cream!
Although loads of wildlife calls this space house, they’re good at hiding from individuals. The educated eye of a information will allow you to to see excess of you’d be capable of spot on your own.
Our Journey Begins…
We have been picked up that morning by a driver and Nick who can be our guide. As we made our means in the direction of Lomas de Area, we stopped at the Palmasola Prison whereas Nick explained some of its histories. Bolivian prisons perform very in a different way from their European counterparts and learning concerning the justice process on this country was fascinating yet sad.
After some sobering perception into the prison’s past, we continued on our strategy to Lomas de Area. We paid our entrance fees into the protected space and continued the journey down the hilly path in the direction of the sand dunes. It was a bumpy journey so I used to be very grateful that we have been travelling in a 4×4!
Both Nick and our driver pointed out totally different chook species along our journey.
Nick introduced that the first part of the tour can be spent on the lookout for sloths within the close by forests. We arrived at a small river and waded by way of the water to realize entry to the sting. Nick pointed out the kind of timber that the sloths are almost certainly to inhabit and all of us stored our eyes peeled as we walked around. Although sloths are generally noticed in these elements we didn’t see any right here. As with all wildlife spotting outdoors of zoos, nothing is guaranteed so visitors are suggested to not get their hopes up an excessive amount of!
The walk was not a waste although. We saw an entire variety of birds which Nick was capable of give us numerous details about. They have been all brightly coloured, with very distinctive calls. After the brief stroll, we headed again to the automotive to continue on our approach to the dunes.
All through the journey, Nick continued to point out fascinating wildlife. We had nearly given up on seeing a sloth when instantly the driving force stopped and Nick pointed out of the window excitedly. Right in front of us, at the prime of a close-by tree, was a sloth. He was chilling out, utterly tired of our presence. It was a wonderful moment and all of us stood staring up at considered one of nature’s laziest creatures.
We have been fortunate to have seen the sloth as wildlife recognizing isn’t assured.
We finally managed to tug ourselves away and piled back into the four×four, all giddy from the thrill of getting seen a sloth within the wild. After another ten minutes or so, we arrived on the sand dunes. It was superb how shortly the panorama changed!
A Scenic Hike
Nick reminded us as soon as extra about applying sunscreen and we obtained ready to embark on our hike. The amount of water within the protected space varies yr spherical, owing to the climate and weather. Throughout our visit, there have been small lagoons all over the place. The only method of crossing them was on foot. I had worn trousers however fortunately I might pull these as much as keep away from getting too wet.
There was plenty of water but we managed to keep away from getting too moist!
We left our driver in the automotive and then Nick, Tim and I began climbing. As quickly as we passed up and over the first sand dune, they have been all we might see, proper up till the horizon line. It actually was superb that we have been so close to Santa Cruz and yet, I couldn’t assist however really feel that we have been one million miles away.
As we trekked by means of the sandy landscape, Nick advised us that there are some snakes in the space that are harmful. In consequence, we stuck intently in his footprints as he pointed out different passing wildlife. Despite having been advised that Lomas de Area is off the crushed monitor, I couldn’t consider how quiet it was. We have been the one visitors!
The trek was straightforward enough however the warmth and lack of shade made us very tired. We hiked for around two hours, discussing further things to do in Santa Cruz and Bolivia as an entire. Finally, Nick announced that we have been coming close to the perfect viewpoint in the whole area. There was a brief however sandy climb up one other dune after which the panorama revealed its true majesty.
Taking within the lovely surroundings of Lomas de Area.
All of the sudden, the sand dunes stopped they usually have been met by dense jungle. It seemed peculiar, seeing these two several types of terrain so close collectively however there was no denying the great thing about the scene. We appeared out around us, making an attempt to identify monkeys which commonly play in the timber there.
Sadly, this landscape is changing rapidly, with agriculture destroying extra forest daily. It was a very peaceable spot but one I worry is probably not round in years to return. I used to be so glad I had the chance to visit this unimaginable place.
By now, the wind had obtained up and the blowing sand was stinging my naked legs and arms. Nick explained that this was why the trip didn’t run on very windy days. We braved the stroll back, preserving our heads low and our sun shades on.
Luckily, the facility of the wind eased off and by the time we had made it again to the automotive, issues had settled down rather a lot. We drove a short approach, before leaping out of the four×four to seize our sand boards.
We had a great time sand boarding, despite the fact that our method wanted work!
Carrying our sand boards, we shuffled to the top of the dune. Nick demonstrated the normal sand boarding positions, the Superman, the Sitting and eventually the Standing. We had plenty of enjoyable trying to sand board despite the fact that both Tim and I have been pretty dangerous. After a number of runs, we started to feel drained from the morning’s hike in the sun and packed up, prepared to go back to Santa Cruz.
Reflections From A Step Off Of The Gringo Path
Our trip to Lomas de Area with Nick was great. The tour delivered excess of we expected and we have been even fortunate enough to spot a sloth within the wild! The entire morning, Nick was professional and actually helped us to get probably the most out of our trip, stating wildlife and preserving us protected from the sneaky desert snakes!
All the tours offered by Nick’s Adventures have a huge eco focus and the company does numerous conservation work to preserve Bolivia’s unimaginable setting and its wildlife. Whilst many businesses declare to be responsible on this regard, we saw it first hand with Nick who collected litter throughout our hike.
Our driver was additionally very proficient and we felt very protected braving the chaos of Bolivia’s roads with him! Although each Tim and I have been horrible at sand boarding, we had a very good snigger enjoying about on the dunes. Santa Cruz actually does have extra to supply than individuals assume and so far as I’m concerned, this can be a must-do trip, not simply in case you are in the city but in addition in case you are in Bolivia.
There isn’t a method we might have discovered the most effective viewpoints with no tour with Nick’s Adventures!
A Extremely Customisable Journey!
This tour is definitely customisable to your personal tastes and combines a mixture of climbing, sand boarding and animal spotting. As Tim and I are eager hikers, we opted for a longer trek with much less sand boarding time. This allowed us the opportunity to succeed in probably the most impressive viewpoint in Lomas de Area.
These tours last around 4 hours and might be arranged for either the morning or afternoon (although the afternoon is beneficial as a result of the climate is extra favourable). Transport, entrance charge, consuming water, English guide and sand board rental is included within the worth.
There are 3000 hectares of sand dunes at Lomas de Area!
Issues To Put on
- Snug clothes (you’ll have to wade by means of water so quick-dry shorts are highly beneficial)
- Flip flops
- Small day backpack
Issues To Put In Your Backpack
- Sun shades
- Insect repellant
- Digital camera
The strange surroundings of the Lomas de Area sand dunes.
Know Before You Go
- Though widespread, wildlife recognizing isn’t assured on any of the journeys provided by Nick’s Adventures. Not one of the animals are in captivity, which suggests all sightings occur within the wild. Owing to the nature of this, the animals and their whereabouts could be troublesome to foretell.
- Tour costs are cheaper, the larger the group. To avoid wasting money, try to gather a gaggle of associates out of your hostel and organize a visit collectively.
- The Lomas de Area tour will probably be postponed and rescheduled whether it is too windy. It’s because the wind makes for a very uncomfortable expertise and travellers will wrestle to benefit from the journey to its full potential.