My day in Santa Cruz – Bolivia

     A couple of years ago I made a great choice, visiting Bolivia as my first international destination, best choice ever…! not far away from Peru, inexpensive, culturally rich, very similar to my country, and beautiful.

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On the shuttle from the airport and with the only tour guide that fits on a backpack

The first destination of my journey was to Santa Cruz de la Sierra, or just Santa Cruz city, located on the eastern part of Bolivia. Hot as the Caribbean cities, with so many green areas that sometimes look more like a forest than a city (especially for a dessert girl like me) was a great surprise. Located 433 m.a.s.l., is rich in culture and history and quite not the classical picture of the Bolivia most of the people imagine.

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A hot city

We arrived early from Lima feeling really excited to see the city, (there is a direct flight from Lima to Santa Cruz landing at 5 am) due to our early flight we had to wait for a while at the airport until the first shuttles to the center arrived, then we headed first to our hotel and minutes after we were ready and off to see the nearby market to get breakfast there (our the first choice was a Saltena, the local empanada) and to see the main square of this city called  24 de Septiembre (September 24th) where the Cathedral, City Hall, and all the official buildings are located.

A view of the main square

Detail of central monument at the square dedicated to independence hero Ignacio Warnes

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The main square is so green, it looks like the forest! I love it.

The Cathedral impressed me a lot, called Basilic of Saint Lawrence (San Lorenzo) is the highlight of the square, with a neoclassic style and designed in the 19th century, was finished only until 1915, it is the of the gem of the city.

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Cathedral of Saint Lawrence
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The city was getting hotter and hotter

We were constantly needing refreshments and cold things, (temperatures reached over 30 C with high humidity) our best ally during the day were the ice-creams, we even tried a new flavor to us from the local fruit called achachairu, we got it at a place called YUCATAN Paletas Mexicanas.

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Wondering around the city we noticed the architecture, the houses were well adapted to the heat, and most importantly to rain that in this latitude is constant, the rooftops were made basically on cane, covered in plaster

…rooftops made on cane and plaster…

We keep walking and saw a series of parks and more houses, then we went to the bus terminal to get our tickets for the day after, we were planning to cross the border with Argentina for a while and return to Bolivia later, we were literally prepared for all kinds of climates.

Bus Terminal
Busy but well organized

Next more walking, we had no time to waste. We spent the afternoon at the Arenal Park, a huge green area with all kinds of public entertainment for locals and foreigners, it was afternoon so we just sat and enjoy the view there.

Afternoon stroll
El Arenal Park, Highly recommended
Time to chill down
Food and artisans markets
skate park
Street comedy

We saw markets, children playing, street comedy… and most importantly, we learned about the beauty of this part of this less known part of this country, a place that lays in between the forest and the modernity.  What else could we ask as a perfect end on our first day in Bolivia?

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