Last month my wife and I spent 2 weeks in the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, a city founded 450 years ago in 1561. In the last 50 years, the city has changed both dramatically and quickly. However, many wonderful things from the past are still preserved. But with over 2 million inhabitants, the city has also inherited the problems of other large cities.
The blue skies and the lush greenery in this tropical city are still alive, expressed by many different chirping birds in the early morning. The people are still very friendly and hospitable.
There are many places to visit and a wide variety of activities for all ages. A few of the attractions that we especially enjoyed, I will share with you.
The Mariposario Güembé
Butterfly Park, is the largest butterfly exhibit in the world. It is also a unique example of environment blending with the tropical setting of Santa Cruz. There are also lodging, swimming pools, horseback riding, kayaking and interesting museums for all ages. There is a beautiful display of orchids and other tropical plants. The price is very affordable for families with children and seniors. A buffet meal is quite tasty and also very affordable. The setting is attractive, ecologically sound and it shows the old style of colonial architecture of Santa Cruz.La Rinconada
, not too far away from the Mariposario, is a restaurant in a very attractive setting. Its floating gardens show the beauty of many flowers with a variety of palm trees.
The modern Santa Cruz now has many restaurants
with all types of food, as well as various museums
of historical and native subjects. As any large city, the hotels also have good restaurants. Two restaurants, not in hotels, which we enjoyed were El Candelabro and El Aljibe. El Candelabro serves all types of food, but the surubi, a large river catfish, is deliciously prepared. El Aljibe is located in the center of the city and reflects the style of the old houses of the old city. The 'aljibe' is in the center of the patio surrounded by the house. The 'aljibe' is a structure which collects rain water from the roof, and on the outside it looks like a well. Even though the food in this restaurant is not of a high quality, the atmosphere makes up for it, because it reflects the Spanish influence of centuries ago, with many old artifacts.
The main plaza called Plaza 24 de Septiembre
is a must to visit at night. The romantic full moon shining among the palm trees and the white columns of the buildings surrounding the plaza is still the main attraction for visitors.
The people in Santa Cruz, the Cruceños, at any time are ready to celebrate the happiness which they feel in their hearts and their souls. For more details see 100 Things to See and Do in Santa Cruz
on the Boliviabella blog.