Samaipata is a beautiful village (1650m) 2.5 hours from Santa Cruz. The Bolivians use it as a weekend get-away, but tourist are slowly but surely discovering it as well. This peaceful village in the foothills of the Cordillera Oriental has lots of nice foreign-run, stylish hostels and restaurants.
I stayed in Hotel Paola which has a nice balcony overlooking the beautiful plaza and spent my days reading, going to the used clothes and vegetable market. I also went to visit El Fuerte – the ancient mystical site.
If you’re coming from the lowlands, it’s also a good place to begin altitude acclimatization by degrees.
Very recommended for a relaxing time.