A Travellerspoint blog

Surprising Santa Cruz de la Sierra

sunny 35 °C

After 2 weeks at altitudes above 12,000 feet with temperatures barely touching the mid-teens we have come back to earth with a bang in the tropical lowlands of Santa Cruz de la Sierra. We are still in Bolivia, but on an entirely different planet. Gone are the chaotic teeming streets of La Paz; gone too are the rotten roads and the dilapidated houses of Uyuni...
Santa Cruz is the commercial centre of Bolivia and it is a thriving modern city surrounding an elegant colonial core of colonnaded boulevards...
The people of Santa Cruz are as chic as their city and they would be at home in any southern European capital, but, just like many of their Latino cousins, drivers absolutely refuse to give way to pedestrians – asi es la vida!
In the late afternoon sunshine, when the temperature finally falls below 30, the public square in front of the majestic Basilica is filled with promenaders seeking shade under the palms while meeting friends and buying coffee, milk or cortadito from one of the smartly dressed official vendors...
This is the Basilica at a quiet moment...
One thing that sets Santa Cruz apart from similar cities in Spain are the prices. With daytime temperatures reaching the mid-thirties the folks in Santa Cruz tend to follow the Spanish custom of siesta and take a very long lunch break. So here is a question for you. How much did we pay for a three course lunch of soup and baguette, grilled chicken breast with rice and vegetables, all-you-can-eat salad bar, raspberry mousse and coffee? Anyone correctly answering within $1 will be treated to a Canadian meal of equal value. Good luck.

It's mid-summer here and the tropical plants in Santa Cruz's botanical gardens are putting on a show...
We had hoped to see a sloth in the jungle area of the gardens but the best we could do was this very colourful tortoise...
...and these enormous weaver bird nests...
Now we are leaving Bolivia for the Chilean seaside and must say farewell to the llamas, alpacas, guanacas and vicunas of the Andean altiplano.. This is a vicuna - we think....
We will forever carry with us unforgettable memories of the Uyuni salt flats. Many people visit the biggest salina in the world but the conditions are not always perfect. We were very fortunate to visit when the water level and the weather conspired to give us an amazing display. Here we are on the salina with the salt monument that marks the starting point of the South American Dakar Rally...
Bye-Bye Bolivia. You are not always beautiful, though you have some very pretty parts, but you are certainly very interesting.

Posted by Hawkson 16:02 Archived in Bolivia

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents


Can't tell the temperature from the photos. Spring is just around the corner her even though we just had a sprinkling of snow. On to your next adventure. Can't wait.

by Sue Fitzwildon

There’s even a spring like break in the Ontario winter. Cardinals have started to sing!
Any talk of lithium - which will transform our world—hiding around the Uyuni salt flats? So beautiful there!!

by Alison Fitzgerald

Hmmm. I'm thinking $25 which would just cover similar lunch for two at McDonalds up here (minus the salad bar).
Nice contrast: photo one vs the rest.

by R and B

Hola intrepid travellers! We're enjoying your beautiful pictures and commentaries and will be interested in what you will have to say about Argentina/Patagonia, to compare with our own experiences there. The little fella in the last photo could possibly be a guanaco - very similar to the vicuna and quite visible in Argentina, too.
Shelley and Tom

by Shelley Tillemans

If you get to keep the white boots, it’ll truly be the pinnacle of your travels! Keep the photos coming. To hazard a guess - $10. For two.

by Tom

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.