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Santa Cruz has a split personality: while it is the most Westernized of all Bolivia's cities with international restaurants, hotels, and a thumping nightlife, the city's laid back, Brazilian flavor challenges the Bolivian stereotype. The city's sights are limited to its pretty colonial core and several art galleries, but because of its location in the tropical lowlands, this is a recommended alternative arrival point to lofty La Paz. From here you can do the circuit of the extraordinary Jesuit Missions with restored 18th-century churches, hike in stunning wilderness and among pre-Inca sites around Samaipata, or head to Brazil on the luxury ...

Santa Cruz has a split personality: while it is the most Westernized of all Bolivia's cities with international restaurants, hotels, and a thumping nightlife, the city's laid back, Brazilian flavor challenges the Bolivian stereotype. The city's sights are limited to its pretty colonial core and several art galleries, but because of its location in the tropical lowlands, this is a recommended alternative arrival point to lofty La Paz. From here you can do the circuit of the extraordinary Jesuit Missions with restored 18th-century churches, hike in stunning wilderness and among pre-Inca sites around Samaipata, or head to Brazil on the luxury ferrobus (intrepid folk might try the "Death Train"). Organized trips chase the trail of Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara or trek into the pleasantly accessible Amboró National Park, remarkable for its ecosystems and spectacularly abundant wildlife, including jaguars, otters, monkeys and prolific bird life.

Kate Armstrong
About the Expert

Kate Armstrong is coauthor of Lonely Planet's Bolivia, South America on a Shoestring, Mexico, Greece, and South Africa.

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Kate Armstrong for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: eastern central Bolivia
  • Language: Quechua, Spanish, Aymara
  • Currency: Bolivian Boliviano
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Daylight
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Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Any time, but it can get hot and humid in the wet season.