The Botanical Garden of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia (known as the Jardin Botanico) is a beautiful place to put aside your frantic touring for a day and enjoy a piece of paradise.
Covering over 186 hectares for well-preserved forest, it has approximately 6 kilometers
of hiking paths and a small lagoon and is filled with tree and plant species. It's a great place to learn about native Bolivian flora. It also has a cactus garden, palm tree stand, scenic overlook, orchid collection, and much more. Botanists continuously study and work to conserve species that are native to Santa Cruz.
In addition, there is a campground you can stay at if you call ahead. The Botanical Garden has an auditorium that seats 80 with sound equipment and air conditioning for seminars, a playground and soccer field, and a picnic area complete with "churrasqueras" (barbeques).
Mosquito repellent is a MUST during summer months, and even if it's hot, light long sleeves and pants are recommended, as are comfortable shoes, a hat, and sunblock. In other words, don't let the mosquitoes stop you from enjoying a peaceful day in this beautiful place - just come prepared.
Upon arriving at the entrance you'll purchase your tickets and will be directed where to park. To your left is a large map that shows you where everything is in the park, but you can also request a brochure at the ticket booth. There is also a soccer field to your left. If you plan to use the barbeque and picnic area, you'll be charge an additional flat fee of Bs. 20 for that. You have to bring your own wood or brickets for this.
JARDIN BOTANICO DE SANTA CRUZ
Carretera a Cotoca Km. 8
(on the right side of the road you'll see the sign above)
Santa Cruz - Bolivia
Tel: (591-3) 362-3101
Hours: 8:00 to 5:00 every day including holidays
Ticket price: Bs. 3. (about USD $0.40)
Santa Cruz Municipal Government webpage with info on it:
The Botanical Garden was originally located on the banks of the Piraí River where "Las Cabañas" are still found today (up Avenida Roca y Coronado past the fourth ring). However, in the mid 1980's the river overflowed and flooded a great part of the city, destroying the original botanical gardens completely.
Bolivian botanist Noel Kempff Mercado (after whom the
Noel Kempff National Park
Noel Kempff Museum of Natural History
are named) also founded the
Santa Cruz Zoo.