Santa Cruz

Travel Guide South America Bolivia Santa Cruz



Plaza 24 de Septiembre

Plaza 24 de Septiembre

© KoalaGirl

Santa Cruz de la Sierra, or Santa Cruz for short, is one of the biggest cities in Bolivia, located on in the central part of the country on the transition zone between the high altiplano and the lower Amazon Basin.



Sights and Activities

Santa Cruz de la Sierra offers many places for the tourists. The most visited are the Metropolitan Cathedral, Museo Catedratico de Arte Sacro, Iglesia de San Andrés, Iglesia de San Roque, Parque El Arenal, Municipal Zoo, las Cabañas del Piraí, Santuario de Cotoca, Lomas de Arena del Palmar and Los Espejillos.

The recently inaugurated Guembe Biocenter is a natural paradise of 24 hectares, located only 10 minutes away from downtown, where the Butterfly House, the Aviary, the Orchid Exhibit Center, the Apiary and the Island of The Monkeys are among its main attractions. Furthermore, the Yvaga Guazu Ecological Park, located 12 kilometres from Santa Cruz de la Sierra, is a paradisiacal site with 14 hectares of exuberant natural beauty.

Of cultural interest, Santa Cruz holds the Jesuit Missions, recognized as a Unesco World Heritage Site, where since the beginning of the second half of the 17th century and with the influence of the Jesuit missionaries, the natives built beautiful chapels. The cultural tourism of this location focuses on the architectural originality and ornamental designs of the Mission churches, which have been restored:

  • San Xavier, a baroque style church, built between 1749 and 1752, belonging to the first Jesuit Mission of Chiquitos founded in 1691
  • Concepción, a Baroque style Jesuit Church, built between the years 1752 and 1753. Its doors are open to contemplate the beauty of its construction in the three naves, lines of columns carved in wood, altars and hand paintings produced by the natives.

Further away but equally beautiful are the Noel Kempff National Park (also a Unesco Site) and the Amboró National Park, a park with the most species of birds in Bolivia, the Bolivian Marshland, a great reservoir full of wildlife.
Santa Cruz forms the base from where to explore these parks.



Events and Festivals

Bolivia Traffic

Bolivia Traffic

© KoalaGirl



Getting There

By Plane

Viru Viru International Airport (VVI) is where all planes arrive and depart. LanChile, LAN Peru, Aerosur, Aerolíneas Argentinas, Gol (to Brazil), TACA Peru and TAM Mercosur (to Paraguay) all have connections to and from Santa Cruz. Destinations include Lima, Buenos Aires, Asuncion, Santiago de Chile and many domestic cities. Also, American Airlines, Copa Airlines, Avianca and Aerolineas Argentinas fly from Miami, Panama City, Bogota and Buenos Aires respectively. Aerosur also has flights to Washington, D.C. and Madrid.

By Train

Santa Cruz is the starting point (or terminal) for the famous Death Train, travelling east towards the border with Brazil. There are several ways of getting from Santa Cruz toward Puerto Suarez and vv. Connections are daily and there are a number of trains you can take: normal, express or ferrobus services.

The Santa Cruz train station is co-located with the long distance bus station on the corner of Avs Canoto and Irala.

By Bus

Santa Cruz Bus Station

Santa Cruz Bus Station

© KoalaGirl

Long distance buses arrive at the terminal on the corner of Avs Canoto and Irala, a 15 Bs taxi fare from the centre of town. From this busy, chaotic bus station you can purchase reasonably priced tickets to almost anywhere in Bolivia as well as onward international connections.

There are direct daily bus services to La Paz, Sucre, Cochabamba, Yacuiba (on the Argentina border), Foz do Iguacu, Asuncion in Paraguay, and Trinidad. The Bolivia Vice-Ministry of Tourisum has a bus schedules on their website, however bus timetables are constantly changing, so often your best to check at the bus station the day before you plan to leave.

Although you can take a bus to almost any destination from Santa Cruz, be warned - Bolivian roads are amoungst the
worst in South America. Less that 5% of the roads in Bolivia can be considered 'paved' and the remaining 95% are often in poor condition, closed in wet weather and make for an extremely rough journey.





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Keep Connected


There are internet cafés practically everywhere, they typically cost about 3Bs/hour, or about $0.50 per hour. Wifi is not as common as in many other Latin American countries, but more and more places offer it now, either free (sometimes for a limited amount of time) or at a cost. Avoid using your cellphone (with your home SIM card) when there is no wifi, as that's extremely expensive.


See also International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Bolivia is: 591. To make an international call from Bolivia, the code is: 0010. Emergency numbers include 110 (police), 118 (ambulance) and 119 (fire). Note that 911 forwards to the police (110).

Bolivia has three cellphone companies, Entel, Tigo, and Viva. If you are staying for a while, consider buying SIM cards for your cellphone. They are quite cheap and you get good network coverage in all main cities and towns. Entel sells good-priced international call possibilities for their SIMs. For example, you can buy 10 minutes for Bs20 (to be used in one day, disconnects automatically after expiration). You will need to register the SIM card at a local office of the telecom. You will need a photocopy of your passport and the mobile phone that you will use.

Practically every single town in Bolivia has an Entel office (almost always located in the main plaza). From here, you can make local, long-distance, and international calls. It's actually much more economical to make your international calls from an Entel office than to use an international calling card. To make local calls from a public phone, you need a phone card. You can buy them at any Entel office or any kiosk on the street. The average local call costs about Bs2 for 3 minutes.


Correos Bolivia is the national postal service of the country. It offers a wide range of services at very reasonable prices. Services, speed and reliability are not up to the level it should be though and it can take several weeks for a simple card to arrive in Europe or North America. Most post offices in Bolivia are open Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 8:00pm, Saturday from 8:30am to 6:00pm, and Sunday from 9:00am to noon. It costs Bs5 to mail a letter to the United States, Bs7 to Australia, and Bs6 to Europe. From time to time, you can buy stamps at kiosks and newspaper stands. There are no public mailboxes, so you'll have to mail your letter from the post office. If you want to send packages overseas it's best to use an international courier company like DHL, TNT, FedEx or UPS, as they offer fast and reliable services at competitive prices.

Quick Facts


  • Latitude: -21.75
  • Longitude: -65.3166667

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