About Santa Cruz de la Sierra
Santa Cruz de La Sierra is the largest city in Bolivia, capital city of the Santa Cruz department (in the eastern region of the country). The municipality’s population is 1.4 million inhabitants. Jointly with the metropolitan area (Cotoca, Porongo, Warnes, La Guardia and El Torno) it amounts to 2.1 million inhabitants, according to the 2012 Census. Its demographic growth is among the fastest in South America.
Santa Cruz is not only the most populated city in Bolivia, but the department is also the richest, with over 30% of the national GDP. The city is a major center of petrochemical production in Bolivia, especially because the production of natural gas that exports to neighboring countries (Brazil and Argentina). The main sectors that drive the regional economy are oil, forestry and agribusiness firms.
- Piraí River: The riverbanks are ideal for weekend picnics
- Plaza 24 de Septiembre: Ideal for relaxing and watching sloths hanging in the tall trees.
- The Cathedral: Located on the Plaza 14 de Septiembre, the cathedral dates back to the early 1600's. The cathedral museum displays religious art work, gold and silver artifact from the Jesuit missions.
- Museo de Historia Natural: Displays a collection of flora and fauna of the region.
- Lomas de Arena de El Palmar: Located 16 Km south of Santa Cruz these large sand dunes and fresh water lagoons are ideal for weekend picnics and swimming.
- Parque Nacional Noel Kempff Mercado: Really worth seeing, this spectacular natural park, about 440 Km northeast of Santa Cruz, has an incredible scenery of waterfalls, rivers, rainforests and a wide variety of flora and fauna (alligators, pink dolphins, caimans, river otters, tapirs, spider monkeys, etc.).
- Jesuit Missions: Group of Jesuit missions located east of Santa Cruz, across the Río Grande. Founded between 1696 and 1760, composed by the missions of San Javier, San Ramón, San Ignacio, Concepción, San Rafael, Santa Ana, and San José de Chiquitos. The missions were declared "World Heritage Sites" by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in 1990.
- El Fuerte de Samaipata: (Fortress) 120 Km southwest from Santa Cruz. The entire Inca ruins complex of around 40 hectares was declared a "World Heritage Site" by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in 1998.
- The official currency is the Boliviano (BOB).
- Exchange foreign currency exchange at banks (open Monday to Fridays from 09:00 to 16:00; Saturdays from 09:00 to 13:00), authorized exchange agencies or at your hotel counter.
- Payments in U.S. Dollars are accepted in most of shops and restaurants, yet generally at a lower exchange rate.
The city of Santa Cruz is located at 416 meters above sea level and it has a warm subtropical type of climate, where the highest rainfall months are January and February. The warmest month is January, the coldest month is July, and the temperatures fluctuate between 23° C and 33° C between October and March.
Emergency Telephone Numbers
- Police in Santa Cruz: 110
- Firefighters: 119
- Red Cross: (591-3) 3331965
- If you are planning to travel to the lowlands, use insect repellent. You will need your yellow fever vaccination, which has to be administered at least 10 days before your trip.
- If you are planning to travel to the highlands, you can avoid experiencing altitude sickness by following these instructions: on your arrival day, take a rest, have light meals and drink plenty of liquids.
- Do not eat anything that is uncooked or sold by street vendors and only drink bottled o boiled water.