Both historic and contemporary, Santa Cruz is a bustling metropolis with upscale restaurants, local street vendors, colonial architecture and a buzzing nightlife. Sitting in the foothills of the Andes, it also boasts outdoor activities, such as wildlife watching, sandboarding and hiking.
Things to do in Santa Cruz de la Sierra
Plaza 24 de Septiembre is the main plaza and gathering place in Santa Cruz, dotted with street vendors, historic buildings and camba bands playing oriente beats. Walk through Parque El Arenal, a green oasis where you can take boat rides around the lagoon or nap under the leafy toborochi trees.
Looking for some retail therapy? Give your credit card a workout at the shops in Ventura Mall, which also features a bowling alley and multi-screen cinema. If you want to mingle with locals, head to 7 Calles Market, where you can purchase tailor-made outfits or browse stores selling rich fabrics.
Explore Guembe Biocentro & Resort, a stunning natural park with three lagoons where you can go kayaking, swimming and fishing. It also offers a butterfly dome, orchid exhibition and horseback riding excursions. Observe sleeping sloths in the 186-hectare Jardin Botanico, see a jaguar in the wild at Kaa-Iya National Park or go sandboarding on the soaring dunes at Lomas de Arena Regional Park.
See displays of artefacts, such as musical instruments, weapons and clothing, at Museo Etno-Folklorico, which also showcases masks from Eastern Bolivia’s various ethnic groups. You can admire the modern art exhibitions at the Modern Art Museum or capture a bird’s-eye view of Santa Cruz from the top of the 400-year-old Catedral de Santa Cruz.
Getting around Santa Cruz de la Sierra
You can fly into Viru Viru International Airport, located 30 minutes from Santa Cruz’s city centre. Taxis and “micros” buses are the best means of transport within town, while long-distance buses are best for exploring further afield.