Dinosaur Tracks

Photo by Jenny Mealing

I think just about everyone goes through a dinosaur phase growing up. Even if you’re a girl, hate reptiles, and have no interest in history, it doesn’t matter because the magic of the seemingly mythic dinosaur overcomes all boundaries.

Now a lot of places around the world have done a pretty good job of creating life-sized replicas of dinosaurs, and of course, you can see their bones in many of the world’s major museums.

But you know what’s really cool?

Dinosaur footprints.

Big, three-dimensional imprints in the earth that will get your imagination running wild and have you feeling like you’re five years old all over again.

A great place to see them is in Bolivia, because the country is home to one of the longest tracks of dinosaur footprints in the world. While there are a number of ways to see these ancient imprints in the Bolivia – including several-day treks that will take you out to some of the more remote footprints – the most straightforward (and certainly child-friendly) way to see them is to visit Cal Orck’o, a dinosaur museum/park about six kilometers from the center of Sucre.

The main attraction is evident as soon as you arrive – a massive vertical mudstone face baring thousands of footprints – more than 6000 in fact – cast by about 150 different species of dinosaur.

The tracks were uncovered in 1994 when local workers were clearing the area to build a cement factory, and experts have since dated the footprints to about 68 million years ago. It’s believed back then, the area looked very different than it does now – home to a lake and a forest, the tracks would have been left by dinosaurs trudging through the mud on their way to the local watering hole.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, from a preservation perspective) the rock-face has now been fenced off so you can’t get up close and do a human hand/dinosaur foot size comparison. So it’s a good idea to bring along some binoculars (or rent them from the museum) in order to see the detail.

Cal Orck’o is about 6 kilometers from Sucre on the road heading to Cochabamba. You can take the “dino-truck” from the Plaza de Mayo or visit by taxi.