Santa Cruz may surprise you using its small town feeling, lack of high-rise blocks and a lightly buzzing, relaxed tropical atmosphere.
Santa Cruz de la Sierra is the capital of the Bolivian tropical low lands, region bordering with Brazil and Paraguay with tropical climate and people. The city is situated between the green Amazonian jungle and the savannahs; it’s a cosmopolitan and progressive city that provides all the services of a modern city.
Santa Cruz has geographic, historical and cultural characteristics which differ deeply from the Andes region. We have an average temperature of 23º C and above 30º C in the summer.
Why travel to Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz lies not even close to the Altiplano, in the huge eastern lowlands of Bolivia. It’s one of the largest cities in Bolivia and is rapidly being a hub of economic growth. However, the swift economic development here hasn’t affected the charming colonial character of the old city center and its back streets. In a height of just 1,365 feet above sea level (416 meters), the city includes a tropical climate and ambiance, and is really a relieving retreat from a lot of Bolivia’s high-altitude cities.
Santa Cruz mainly attracts visitors because of its international airport and its train connection (tren de los muertos) with Brazil. Also, the nearby Amboro National Park and the town of Samaipata (with the pre-Columbian fortress ‘El Fuerte’) are touted destinations that Santa Cruz is an ideal stopover.
When you should visit Santa Cruz
Because of its low-lying location, Santa Cruz enjoys a semi-tropical climate by having an annual average temperature of 73°F. It rains the most in January and February, and those interested in visiting the nearby national parks must be aware that the rivers rise dramatically during this time period and there are significantly more mosquitoes. Santa Cruz also experiences dramatic cold wind patterns (suazos) that blow in from Argentina and can suddenly drop the temperature by as much as 30 degrees, though the fronts only serve you for a few days at a time.
Weather in Santa Cruz
The climate of the Oriente is tropical, but since it occupies the transition zone between the Amazon rainforest, the highlands and the dry Chaco plains, Santa Cruz enjoys more sun and less stifling temperatures than the humid Amazon Basin. Winter rainfalls mean nothing more than 10-minute downpours, but a single summer deluge may last for days. At times during winter, surazos (chilly winds) blow in from Patagonia and the Argentine pampas and the temperature plummets.
Things to do in Santa Cruz
City tour. Whenever you explore this sprawling city, you might be surprised by its modernity. Start at Plaza 24 de Septiembre, the city’s main square. Here you’ll find the massive, main cathedral-be certain to climb up to the bell tower for any great view of the city below. Directly behind the cathedral is Manzana Uno, a block focused on art and cultural exhibitions. Stroll to Parque El Arenal to savor the lagoon and visit the small but interesting Museo Etno-Folklórico with traditional art displays.
The rain doesn’t threat to anybody:
The children play, jump and laugh, while the adults “attack” succulent plates of “majao” (rice, dry meat and paprika) or locro (soup with rice and hen). The afternoon perspires heaviness and fatigue in the Cabins of Piraí, one of the many charming corners in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, the tropical paradise of Bolivia.
Forest, rivers and prairies:
Hallucinated places of exuberant vegetation, rural and suffocating corners conform the territory of the department of Santa Cruz de la Sierra located in the oriental a part of Bolivia. Its capital -of the same name- was founded in 1561 by the Spanish captain Nuflo de Chavez.
Until the 17th century, the city was between not evangelized native groups; for which became the starting point of the missionary Jesuit expeditions that sought to catechize the inhabitants of the regions of Moxos and Chiquitos.
Plaza 24 de Septiembre and Museo de Historia Nacional:
The main plaza of the city works as a lush tropical space in which you will see locals lounging on benches and strolling, camba bands banging out their tropical rhythms and families bringing their kids to experience. Once there were resident jaywalking sloths here, however they were relocated to the zoo in an attempt to protect them from electrocution and increasing traffic hazards in the city center.
A block away along Junín is the little Museo de Historia Nacional (8:00-12:00 and 15:30-18:00 Mon-Fri) which houses a lasting display of Chiquitania art and photographic exhibits explaining the customs of the littleknown indigenous group.
Home to the world’s largest butterfly sanctuary, the Guembe Biocenter is situated 20 minutes away from downtown Santa Cruz de la Sierra. This 46-acre park also offers a large collection of exotic orchid varieties and an aviary with bird species which include peacocks, scarlet macaws, toucans and other tropical birds.
There’s a resort hotel with bungalows and tent camping facilities to remain and enjoy kayaking in the area’s lagoons, swimming in 16 natural standard water pools and horseback riding or hiking designated hiking trails.
Prosperous town of modern shades, Santa Cruz (437 m.a.s.l.) is becoming the economic heart of the country. A large number of Bolivians decided to tempt fortune in the hot Orient attracted by the vertiginous commercial and agricultural development and the borders extended and the old urban helmet was encompassed by showy buildings and very transited avenues.
Take a look at the Lomas de Arena, a wayward patch of sand dunes somehow isolated amongst the tropical forests of Santa Cruz. No one knows quite the way they got here, but the sand is the just like is found in portions of Africa. If you play golf, like kayaking or simply want to hang on a hammock, spend the weekend at Santa Rosa de la Mina that will soon be South America’s largest golf resort and is situated on the way to the Jesuit Mission towns near San Javier and Concepcion.
Visit our section on self guided city tropical tours for those the best sites in our capital city, Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Due to the privileged tropical location and the enormity of the department itself, there are lots of sites to see. Eastern Bolivian culture and individuals are completely different from what you might find in the Western or Andean 1 / 2 of the country, so be prepared to be amazed.
Sensual and festival. Warm, modern and agitated. That’s Santa Cruz de la Sierra, the tropical paradise of Bolivia.