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Altitude: 685 m
Population: 3,000

The people of Villamontes are primarily of indigenous Guarani descent, as the natives came over from Paraguay during ancient times and settled in the Chaco regions of modern day Bolivia. In later years, the town was an important site during the Chaco Wars between Bolivia and Paraguay. In the 1934 Battle of Villamontes, the Bolivians achieved victory over the Paraguayans, which allowed them to further expand and regain possession of valuable oil fields.

Modern day visitors be warned, this town is hot. Some even say that it's the hottest town in all of Bolivia, so take care to stay hydrated and don't spend to much time in the sun. Aside from the blistering heat, however, Villamontes does offer a number of activities for the passing traveler. Shoppers will enjoy browsing the locally produced basketwork and cane furniture, while history buffs should certainly stop by The museum of Military Heroes of the Gran Chaco, a museum dedicated to the soldiers of the Chaco War, with various photos, medals and other memorabilia.

Travelers may also want to consider coinciding their visits with one of the festivals that this town is known for. During the Festival de Pescado (August), for instance, locals fish in the Río Pilcomayo and hold parties with music, dancing, storytelling and of course, drinking. The Cattle Fair in late August/Early September has similar festivities, along with rodeos, parades and tons of food.

Those looking to stay a night or two in Villamontes should consider the following options:

  • El Rancho (ROOMS: $8 and up) is arguably the nicest place in town, offering private bathrooms, air conditioning, cable TVs, refridgerators, a swimming pool and a restaurant/bar. Located across from the train station. Tel: 684-2049.
  • Residencial Raldes (ROOMS: $4 and up) has basic clean rooms with shared bathrooms. The hotel also has a swimming pool and a small (pricey) convenience store. Located on Ca. Cap. Machengo 171. Tel: 672-2088.
  • Hotel Gran Avenida (ROOMS: $12 and up) has rooms with private bathrooms, air conditioning, cable TVs and refrigerators. Located on Av. Mendejarco, between Ca. Ismel Montes and Av. Ingavi.Tel: 684-2297.

To satiate your appetite, Parillada El Arriero (near the main plaza) is probably one of the cheapest options, serving mostly local fare. Churrasqueria Argentina (also near the plaza) is a great place to go for pizzas and grilled meats. Top it off with ice cream for dessert at Heladeria Noella.


Other places nearby Villamontes: Parque Nacional Kaa-lya del Gran Chaco, San José de Chiquitos, San Javier, San Miguel de Velasco, Amboro National Park, Camiri, Buena Vista, Samaipata, Yacuiba and Santa Cruz.

By Emma Mueller
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry...
20 Nov 2009

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