Santa Cruz de la Sierra is the capital of its department in Bolivia. Unlike many of the other major cities in the country it is not located in the Andes Mountains; the city is at a much lower altitude and experiences a more tropical climate. This makes it a very popular destination with tourists attracted to the warmer weather.
Santa Cruz was founded in the mid-1500s but about 125 miles away from its current location. The city was moved over a period of time before it finally settled in its current position on the Pirai River.
The city has small town roots, but this all changed in the mid-20th century when the city grew to a thriving city. Over 1.5 million people now call Santa Cruz home, and it is still one of the fastest growing cities in the world. It’s now famed for its culture and nightlife, with a wealth of museums and entertainment venues.
If you are planning a visit to Santa Cruz, then you’re likely wondering what there is to see and do.
Here are the 15 best things to do:
If you want a unique stay in Santa Cruz, look no further than Guembe! The hotel was originally a butterfly sanctuary, but it now houses a huge variety of tropical creatures. There’s also a beautiful swimming area perfect for taking advantage of the tropical climate.
Even if you do not want this hotel as your base, there are many reasons to pay a visit.
2. Lomas de Arena National Park
There are many beautiful places in South America to see, and the Lomas de Arena National Park is one of them.
The stunning protected landscape is the ideal location for getting back to nature; the terrain is diverse, from sandy to rugged and everything in between. There are plenty of opportunities for hiking and watching wildlife.
3. Cathedral Basilica of Saint Lawrence
It is also known as the Santa Cruz de la Sierra Cathedral and is one of the most famous sights in the city, sure to delight anyone with a passion for architecture. Any traveler with a spiritual connection will find this a very satisfying location.
It has served the city for hundreds of years, although it was completely reconstructed in the late 1700s. The beautiful wooden vaults are one of its main attractions.
4. Zoologico Municipal Noel Kempff Mercado
The zoo is home to a great collection of native South American animals. There are a variety of birds, from macaws to toucans, making it an excellent visit for anyone with an ornithological interest. There’s also an aquarium and plenty of temporary exhibits, giving you plenty to see and do on your visit.
The zoo opened in 1979 and has since become a well-loved attraction for locals and tourists alike.
If you are staying in Santa Cruz with children, then a visit to this tropical themed waterpark is a fantastic and enjoyable day out. There are slides, a lazy river, and plenty of seating areas to relax. The wave pool is one of the most popular attractions at the waterpark.
6. Noel Kempff Mercado Natural History Museum
Santa Cruz is home to many interesting museums and the Natural History Museum does not disappoint. The museum has exhibits on local plants and animals, a stunning collection of stones and gems, and a library full of useful information.
The museum is ideal for families because it is an attention grabbing, educational visit for the children.
7. Contemporary Art Museum
Whether you are an art critic or admirer, the Contemporary Art Museum in Santa Cruz appeals to everyone. It houses an astonishing collection of modern art. The museum is free to visit and provides plenty of information about the art inside.
8. Diversiones Park
Diversiones Park is another great choice for families with children; there is so much to see and do. You can make a day of it by bringing a picnic.
There are rides and games which appeal to people of all ages, all set in pretty surroundings. The fun fair features traditional rides such as a ghost train, Ferris wheel, and dodgems for a family day.
9. Laguna Palmira
If you are looking for peace and tranquility, then look no further than the Laguna Palmira. It’s truly a breath-taking spot to enjoy some quiet time.
There are plenty of seating and picnic areas amid the gorgeous scenery. This is the perfect place for anyone looking to get back to nature for a few hours.
10. El Arriero
El Arriero is one of the highest rated restaurants in Santa Cruz.
The menu centers on meat dishes, so this isn’t a place for vegans or vegetarians. The food is hearty and filling, a real gem for anyone who loves comfort food. The staff are attentive and friendly. There is a brilliant selection of wines to compliment your meal.
11. Playland Amusement Park
If the first waterpark wasn’t enough to sate your aquatic desires, then how about a second one? This amusement park features a great selection of things to do including water slides and a lazy river. The park is excellent for entertaining kids.
Unusual for a waterpark, there are also animal exhibits.
If you are searching for somewhere to spend the evening, consider Maroon nightclub. The venue is highly renowned for its extensive list of cocktails. The lively atmosphere makes for a great place to dance the night away.
You may need to make a reservation due to the popularity of the night club.
13. El Cristo
This beautiful and intricate sculpture of Christ is a great attraction, especially for those interested in art.
Many local people use El Cristo as a gathering place in hard times, so it is both a masterpiece and a community focal point. If you want to get a feel for the city and its people, this is the place to visit.
14. Guapilo Park
This ecopark is great for escaping the noise of the city and gives its guests a chance to interact with nature. It is the perfect place to take a walk or simply bask in the Bolivian sunshine. The park is clean and well-kept and is ideal for taking kids to stretch their legs.
The beautiful views out across the lagoon make for an excellent photo opportunity and a keepsake to remember your time here.
15. Forestry Chamber of Bolivia
This nonprofit organization gives visitors the chance to explore the forest and learn about the ecosystems and life here. There are fun events throughout the year and plenty of activities to keep both young and old entertained all day.
If you are looking for a tropical getaway that offers culture, history, nightlife, and family fun, then there are not many places better equipped to deliver than Santa Cruz. No matter what you are looking to get out of your trip, you are sure to find it in this stunning Bolivian city.
Last Updated on February 28, 2023