October 8-9, 2016
As I’m driving the truffi back home, I can’t help but smile. I greatly enjoyed my weekend getaway to San Jose de Chiquitos. I’m really glad Kelly, a teacher friend from SCCS, joined me. She booked our hotel the night before we headed out and rested up for our 3 hour drive in the morning. We got at the terminal just in time when the truffi was heading out, super luck and it was only 60 bs. It’s first come, first serve so we were in the third aisle. It was a nice country ride there. We shared stories of ex-boyfriends along the way.
Once into town, we hitched a taxi ride to the other side of town where Hotel La Villa Chiquitana was. It’s #1 on tripadvisor for a reason. This was a charming and peaceful place to rejuvenate from work. I loved the little details all over the place. We walked to the plaza to grab some veggie soup from the first restaurant we saw. Delicious!!! 14 bs for each of us with a bottled water. We took photos of the beautiful church right after. We also bought a few nicknacks from the locals. Cute little coin purses for me and a bag for Kelly. I found out that an abuelito mask takes a week to make. It’s a special kind of wood called topo, which is really light material. This tradition has been around for over 300 years.
We then headed to the museum to learn more about the history of San Jose. The entrance is 10 bs and that included a tour guide. They are college students that are working on their degree for a career in tourism.
It was pool/ hammock time for us so we headed back to our hotel and enjoyed the sunset view over green pastures and tropical birds chirping in the distance. It was then time for snacks and cold beverages. Be prepared like us and always carry bug spray. It will make your evenings more enjoyable.
We went back to the plaza to eat dinner (fried chicken- super common). Then finally saw the men dressed in the masks, which is called “abuelito dance,” dance to local music in front of the church. All the beauty pageant ladies were there. We sat behind them in the second row. Best seats in town. We even shook hands with the mayor when he came by.
The following day Kelly and I went back to the plaza to see the parade. We took plenty of pictures of happy Bolivians dancing to Viva Santa Cruz that the tune got stuck in our heads and we kept singing it over and over. We asked a drunk guy if we could wear his mask. I ended up buying a mini version of one as a shot glass with a necklace for Jason. I learned that the string is actually from a plant called garata and the process it takes to make that and their local alcoholic drink-pomello. It’s like wine, the longer they leave it to sit out the better and stronger it tastes. I love learning about interesting stuff like this. I love Bolivian culture and keeping traditions alive. I hope you take a bold step into the unknown and learn something new today. Cheers!
Helpful tips for your travels:
- You can call ahead of time so you can book your seat on the truffi from the Santa Cruz terminal at 73616326 or 73615145.
- I would recommend going the 2nd weekend of the month since they have a traditional dance on Sunday mornings. It’s called Kuritee, which means “come again.”
- You should totally check out their orchestra. They play at the church on certain days when they aren’t traveling all over the world.