5 Remarkable Things to do in Santa Cruz Bolivia
September 24th marks the regional holiday of the department of Santa Cruz Bolivia. Situated in the tropical lowlands of the Andes, the city of Santa Cruz is Bolivia’s most modern city, yet it preserves the colonial flare from the 1500s. A cosmopolitan city in its own right, you’ll enjoy great food and shopping, however for those with an adventurous spirit, the treasures lie beyond the city walls. Here we recommend five very special travel experiences in and around Santa Cruz Bolivia.
1. Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos Circuit:
Only a few hours from Santa Cruz, these Jesuit missions—six of them—have survived from the colonial period. Established by the Jesuit missionary order to Christianize local tribes in the region, the missions’ architecture is a testament to the unique fusion of both cultures. Their intricate baroque-style embellishments are truly remarkable, and their history is just as amazing.
These are the only missionary settlements to survive in South America and have been declared a UNESCO Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
2. Guembe Biocenter Nature Park:
Situated in the city, the Güembé Biocentro provides a respite from busy life in Santa Cruz.it. It is a natural paradise surrounded by exotic plants, tropical forests, and wildlife. It features three artificial lagoons where you can swim, fish or kayak, as well as a large butterfly dome, aviarium, orchid exhibit, Monkey Island and more. In addition, there are magnificent gardens, trails, pools, and playgrounds for the whole family to enjoy.
3. Day trip to Samaipata Fort:
You’ll find the beautiful countryside town of Samaipata at only 120 kms from the city of Santa Cruz. A popular vacation spot for locals, you’ll feel reenergized as you breath the fresh air, take in the scenery and marvel at the cave waterfalls of the area. You can also visit the Fuerte de Samaipata, a pre-Hispanic ceremonial fortress, among the largest in South America, and a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site.
4. Ruta del “Che” – Che Guevara Tour:
La Ruta del Che is a popular tour circuit that retraces the final days of famous communist revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara as he launched a guerilla campaign against the Bolivian elitist government in 1966-67. The tour begins in the town of Samaipata, only 2 hrs. from Santa Cruz, and ends in the village of La Higuera where Guevara was held captive and eventually executed.
5. Amboro National Park:
Amboró National Park is one of the most botanically rich national parks in the world. Yet it is only 40 km. west from the city of Santa Cruz, and lies at the bottom of the Andean Mountain range. It boasts 3,000 plant species, 912 species of birds and 177 mammals, including the puma and the spectacled bear. The park covers an amazing 4,425 square kilometers and includes three ecosystems with abundant flora and fauna to explore. The terrain is rough, but you won’t experience this abundance of nature anywhere else.
- Why Santa Cruz Offers a Different Perspective on Bolivia (Along Dusty Roads)
- Guembe Biocentro
- Che Guevara spawns tourism industry with “Che Trail” (The Telegraph)