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Trinidad. Travel Guide of Trinidad City, Bolivia

Welcome to our Travel Guide of Trinidad City. You will find here a comprehensive information over Trinidad, including Trinidad hotels, Trinidad history, Trinidad climate, around Trinidad, activities in Trinidad, festivals and events, travel companies and hostels.

Trinidad Travel Guide.

1. History of Trinidad.

Trinidad Travel Guide, Bolivia

The eastern side of the Amazon hides the spectacular Parque Nacional Noel Kempff Mercado, still considered one of least accessible parks of Bolivia and ironically easier to get to from Brazil. Trinidad, the main population center of Bolivian Amazon, is still very much a frontier settlement, though it is also an access point for dozens of smaller communities, wild rivers and remote jungle reserves.

Trinidad is the place you will come to if you are after a trip down the long and deep Río Mamoré, or on your way between Santa Cruz and Rurrenabaque. It is a modern town that is growing rapidly; its most notable feature is the massive, green, tropical main square (Trinidad is only 14 degrees south of the equator), once home to a population of friendly sloths.

The city of La Santísima Trinidad (the Most Holy Trinity) was founded in 1686 by Padre Cipriano Barace as the second Jesuit mission in the flatlands of the southern Beni. It was originally constructed on the banks of the Río Mamoré, 14km from its present location, but floods and pestilence along the riverbanks necessitated relocation.

In 1769 it was moved to the Arroyo de San Juan, which now divides the city in two.

2. Basic Information About Trinidad.

Emergency Police at main plaza.

Immigration The provincial immigration office (Busch) is on the 2nd floor of the FELCC building at the corner of the plaza and can grant visa extensions.

Internet Access Telephone cabins and internet access are on almost every block, with a notable concentration along 6 de Agosto near the plaza.

Laundry Lavandería Pro-Vida (T. 4620626, Sattori at Suárez, 8-12:00 and 14:00-19:00 Mon-Sat).

Medical Services General Hospital is available 24h for emergency.

Money Several Enlace ATMs near the main plaza accept international cards – this is a good spot to get some cash before heading out to the ATM-less San Ignacio de Moxos and Rurrenabaque. Moneychangers gather on Av 6 de Agosto between Suárez and Av 18 de Noviembre.

Post and Telephone Sercices available at main plaza.

Tourist Information The helpful municipal tourist office of Trinidad (T. 4624831, Joaquín de la Sierra at La Paz, 8:30-12:30 and 14:00-18:00 Mon-Fri) is tucked away inside the Prefectura – go into the courtyard via the gate next to the main entrance and ask for directions.

Electricity 220V.

3. Weather in Trinidad.

trinidad has typical weather of Amazon Basin. Temperatures easily arrives 40 degrees and rainy season from november to may.

Temperature in Trinidad, Bolivia Rainfall in Trinidad, Bolivia

4. The City of Trinidad.

a) Main Plaza

Trinidad Travel Guide, Bolivia

The loveliest feature of Trinidad is Plaza Gral José Ballivián, with its tall, tropical trees, lush gardens and community atmosphere. You can spend a pleasant evening eating ice cream and watching hundreds of motorbikes orbiting around the square with more urgency than would seem necessary. In the past, the traffic was refereed by a police officer who sat in a big wooden chair and conjured up red, yellow and green traffic lights by touching an electric wire against one of three nails. On the south side of the plaza, the cathedral, built on the site of an earlier Jesuit church, is an unimpressive building that doesn’t even have its own bells – the on-the-hour bell ringing is played off a tape.

b) Museo Etno-Arqueologico

Trinidad Travel Guide, Bolivia

The Spanish-funded ethno-archaeological museum (8:00-12:00 and 15:00-18:00) at the university, 1.5km north of town, exhibits artifacts from the Trinidad region, including traditional instruments and tribal costumes.

5. Around Trinidad.

a) Puerto Almacen and Puerto Varador

Trinidad Travel Guide, Bolivia

Puerto Almacén is best known for its lineup of rickety fish restaurants, which provide interesting lunch options. The only other reason to come here is to inquire about possibilities for river trips at the Capitanía. Continuing on 5km, Puerto Varador offers pink river dolphins in small Mamoré tributaries and more fish restaurants.

b) Santuario Chuchini

Trinidad Travel Guide, Bolivia

The Santuario Chuchini (The Lair of Jaguars), 14km northwest of Trinidad, is one of the few easily accessible Paititi sites. This wildlife sanctuary sits on an 8-hectare loma (artificial mound), one of many dotted throughout the surrounding forest. From the camp, you can take short walks in the rainforest to lagoons with caimans, other larger animals and profuse bird life.

The camp has shady, covered picnic sites, trees, swings for childrens and a variety of native plants, birds and animals. There is also an archaeological museum displaying articles excavated from the loma, including bizarre statues as well as a piece that appears to be a female figure wearing a bikini (it is actually thought to be an identification of and homage to specific body areas rather than an article of clothing).

Unless you organize a tour, which will include transportation, you will have to negotiate with a moto-taxi driver. The road is not great, so you will have to be very persuasive and expect to be charged a bit more than usual. It is also a good destination for those who have rented motorbikes. If you are not staying, exotic dishes are available in the restaurant; the food is great but pricey.

c) Reserva de Vida Silvestre Rios Negro y Blanco

Trinidad Travel Guide, Bolivia

This 1.4-million-hectare reserve, created in 1990, occupies the heart of largest wilderness area of Bolivia and contains vast tracts of undisturbed rainforest and cerrado with myriad species of plants and animals. These include giant anteaters, peccaries, tapirs, jaguars, bush dogs, marmosets, river otters, capuchin monkeys, caimans, squirrel monkeys, deer and capybaras. The diverse bird life includes curassows, six varieties of macaw and hundreds of other bird species.

The area is only settlement, the privately owned estancia (ranch), Perseverancia, is 350km north of Santa Cruz. It started as a rubber production center in the 1920s, working until the last siringueros (rubber tappers) left in 1972. When the airstrip was completed, professional hunters went after river otters and large cats. By 1986 the estancia had again been abandoned, and it remained so until tourism – albeit scanty – began to be promoted in 1989.

In the mid-1990s Moira logging concerns began encroaching on the eastern portion of the reserve and USAID recommended that loggers clear a section of the forest rather than cut selective trees. Things have calmed down in recent years, though it is the difficulty of access to most of the park that has been the reason for this, rather than a more effective program of protection.

6. Tours and Activities in Trinidad

a) Bird Watching

Trinidad Travel Guide, Bolivia

With over 1200 bird species inhabiting the country, Bolivia is a paradise for birdwatchers. But it is not just the sheer quantity of species that makes Bolivia such an attractive destination for bird lovers; it is the quality of the birds you can see.

Asociacíon Armonía, the Bolivian Birdlife International Partner, has developed a series of community-based conservation programs designed to protect the most threatened birds of the country, principally by creating a feeling of pride among the locals.

The gorgeous Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis), endemic to the unique Beni savannas, numbers, according to the most optimistic of estimates, just 250 individuals. Known to the Bolivians as Barba Azul (Blue Beard), this charismatic bird has become a flagship species for Armonía, which runs a superb, community-orientated conservation program aimed squarely at making sure the bird is around for future generations to appreciate.

Threats to the species are numerous, but one of the most unusual is indiscriminate killing for the sole purpose of harvesting the tail feathers. This practice affects all macaws, but because of the similarity of species to the common Blue and Yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna) and a lack of public awareness of its plight, this species has suffered at the hands of hunters who collect the tail plumes to adorn ceremonial headdresses for regional celebrations like the famous Moxos festival.

The response of Armonia has been rapid, effective and ingenious. It has worked on an extensive public education campaign designed to teach locals how to distinguish between the two similar blue macaws that occur in the area and, crucially, to instill a sense of pride in the citizens of Beni for their emblematic bird. An agreement with local indigenous leaders not to hunt live macaws, but to instead fabricate artificial feathers for headdresses has not only been a huge success, but has led to the creation of a small and very lucrative local manufacturing industry. Perhaps most important of all has been the purchase of a small reserve dedicated to the conservation of the bird, which Armonía hopes to develop for ecotourism, bringing much-needed foreign income to the area.

The endangered Red-fronted Macaw (Ara rubrogenys) known locally as Paraba frente roja reflects its Bolivian specialty status in its red, green and yellow plumage – the colors of the national flag.

Found only in dry inter-Andean valleys in the Vallegrande area, this handsome bird has a world population of just 1000. Thanks to an extensive public awareness campaign, Armonía was able to raise the funds to purchase a small reserve dedicated to the conservation of the bird, and with the construction of a superb and comfortable lodge they are now encouraging tourism as a means of sustainably supporting the reserve.

Equally endangered, the bizarre Horned Currasow (Pauxi unicornis), has been styled the Unicorn Bird by the popular press on account of the weird, bony growth on its forehead. The species stronghold is in Amboró, but with a world population estimated to be as low as 1000, and a dependence on dense, undisturbed humid forest, it is in imminent danger of extinction. A rustic, community-operated eco-lodge (B$280 full board), supported by Armonía, has been set up in an effort to conserve the bird.

Strangely beautiful, the Palkachupa (Phibalura boliviana), is endemic to the Apolo region of the Bolivian Yungas. It was considered extinct for 98 years until its remarkable rediscovery in 2000. Though the entire global range of this species is within Parque Nacional Madidi, it occurs within the zone designated a management area where loosely controlled agricultural activity is permitted. With a world population of fewer than 200, the species is far from safe.

Visit the Armonía office (T. 3568808, Lomas de Arenas # 400, 8:30-12:30 and 14:30-18:00 Mon-Fri) in Santa Cruz for more information about its conservation programs and details on visiting the lodges mentioned above.

7. Festivals and Events.

January 1: New Year 's Day.

February or March (changeable date): Carnival.

April (Changeable date): Easter.

Palm Sunday: The Saturday before Easter. People enter temples with branches which the clergy bless.
Holy Thursday: It is a tradition of the people to visit 12 temples of the city, one for each apostle, in this day.
Good Friday: Procession of the Holy Sepulchre.

June (mid June):

The mid-June founding fiesta of the town is a big, loud, drunken party at the Plaza de la Tradición, and features the climbing of greased poles for prizes and a jocheadas de toros (teasing of bulls).

June (Changeable date):

Corpus Christie: Commemoration of the Body of Christ.

August 6: National Day.

Independence Day This lively public holiday sees lots of gunfire in the air, parades galore and mortar blasts around the city center.

September 21: Day of Spring. Youth and Students of Bolivia.

November 1: Todos Santos (All Saints Day).

This is a pre-columbian tradition when the people go to visit the Tombs prepared at home by the relatives of the deceased and where the friends are offered the same food and drink liked by him.

November 2: Difuntos (Day of the Deceased)

The tombs are dismantled and the people celebrate in the memory of the deceased.

November 3: Alma Cacharpaya (Soul of the Calypsobreakers)

Those in charge of dismantling the tombs show up in the home of the deceased with an orchestra so that the soul of the deceased will be happy.

November 18: Anniversary of Beni.

December 24 and 25: Christmas Eve and Christmas day.

8. Travel Companies and Tour Operators in Trinidad.

Turismo Moxos (T. 4621141, 6 de Agosto # 114) organizes three-day cruises on the Río Ibare, visits to Sirionó villages, four-day canoe safaris into the jungle and one-day horseback trips into remote areas.

9. Hotels and Hostels in Trinidad.

Hotel Aguahi (Bolivar corner Santa Cruz, Website).

Hotel Campanario (5 de Agosto # 80, Website).

10. Restaurants and Bars in Trinidad.

Churrasquería La Estancia (Ibare near Velarde) Ask anybody in Trinidad where to get a good bit of beef and you will be sent here. With its palm roof and coal fire barbecue hamming up the ranch-house setting, the succulent and juicy cuts will make you wonder how other restaurants even dare to call themselves churrasquerías.

Maderos (La Paz near 18 de Noviembre, dinner only, closed Mon) If you are a Mexican food fanatic you will have been scouring the continent for a place like this. Top-class burritos and all the rest are served in this palapa-roofed hangout. Key to its success is that it gives you the ingredients and lets you fold up your own fajitas.

La Choza del Pescador (Bolívar at Velasco) There is not much on the menu here, just fish cooked in about five different ways, but if you are feeling fishy then this is a good place to drop anchor.

11. Getting There and Away.

Air Small aiport offers daily flights to La Paz, San Borja, Santa Cruz with Amaszonas, TAM and Aerocon.

Bus The main bus terminal in 10 min wlaking from main plaza.

  • Santa Cruz-Trinidad-Santa Cruz: (500 Km paved road) Daily departures from 19:00-22:00, 10 hours trip (80 to 150 BOB).
  • Beni Area-Trinidad-Beni: (paved and unpaved road) Departures to San Borja and Rurrenabaque, on rainy season departures are not available.

Boat Over Rio Mamore to Guayaremerin (East of Bolivia in border with Brazil) or south to Puerto Villarroel with Rio Mamore and Ichilo.

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