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The small town of Camiri is known as the petroleum capital of Bolivia, as it is an important site for the national oil company, Yacimientos Petrolíferos Bolivianos (YPFB). In the 1920s, Standard Oil came to capitalize off of the oil that was reportedly bursting from the ground, and it wasn't long before the town was officially founded in 1935. Standard Oil has since moved out, however, and oil production is primarily controlled by the YPFB. That said, the area remains open to foreign investment, which has led to a slightly improved tourism infrastructure.

Aside from the plethora of oil (which is perhaps unlikely to attract most travelers) Camiri is a pleasant place to wander and observe the rolling hills, unique architecture and many statues that this town has to offer. The area is located on the Parapeti River, and is surrounded by rolling hills on three sides, with the Aguarague mountain range to the west. The town furthermore sits in the Chaco Region, making for a hot and arid climate, with dry forests and scrubby vegetation.

Of note to tourists, the area is a good place from which to embark on the southern leg of the Che Guevara Trail. The town served as a base for the Bolivian army in their efforts to chase down the famous rebel. It is also home to the Casino Militar, where French activist Regis Debray was held captive by the Bolivian army as a consequence of joining Che's movement. It is possible to visit the site, but only with the permission of the Bolivian army.

The following is a list of available Lodging in Camiri:

Hotel JR: Av. Sanchez 247, Tel: 952-2200.
Hotel Oriente: Ca. Comercio 78, Tel: 952-2564.
Residential Primer: Av. Busch 60, Tel: 952-2204.
Hotel Sun: Av. Busch 39, Tel: 952-4444.
Alojamiento Londres: Av. Busch 154, Tel: 954-2726.
Hotel Las Mellizas: Manchego 300, Tel: 952-2614.


Other places nearby Camiri: Vallegrande, San Javier, Santa Cruz, Parque Nacional Kaa-lya del Gran Chaco, Yacuiba, Villamontes, Buena Vista, San Rafael, The Bolivian Pantanal and San Ignacio De Velasco.

01 Mar 2010

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