Santa Cruz de la Sierra to give it its full name, is Bolivia’s largest city by population and the main gateway in the east of the country. Situated in the lowlands, it enjoys a pleasant, warm climate, is a centre of culture, and has easy access to historic Jesuit Missions and national parks. It is near the eastern end of the Andes Mountains, and their peaks are visible from some areas of the city.
The city was founded in 1561 and remained a small colonial outpost right up till independence in 1825, and was little developed until after the second half of the 20th century when land reforms stimulated growth. Today it continues to thrive, predominantly as Bolivia’s premier business and financial hub, and is one of the fastest growing cities in the world. It’s an interesting mix of old and new in terms of architecture with colonial buildings and modern offices, fashion with traditional costume and the latest international styles, and cuisine with traditional street vendors alongside on-trend restaurants.
Reasons to visit Santa Cruz include:
Santa Cruz and the eastern lowlands have a semi-tropical climate with warm weather all year round and an annual temperature of 23°C, and can be visited at any time of year. The dry winter months (April to October) are the most pleasant, although at this time the cold southerly Surazos winds can lower the temperature considerably for days at a time. The rainy season (November to April) brings more humid weather and higher temperatures with some days reaching 30°C. December and January have the highest rainfall.
Time: Bolivia GMT -4 hours
approximately 21.5 hours (no direct flights from the UK)
Language: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara
Visas – not required for British nationals for stays of up to 90 days
Yellow Fever vaccine should be given to travellers 9 months of age and upwards if travelling to areas below 2,300m east of the Andes Mountains. These areas include the whole departments of Beni, Pando and Santa Cruz, and parts of the Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, La Paz and Tarija departments. No other vaccinations are compulsory.