There are dozens of sites to see in the department of Santa Cruz, Bolivia's largest state. Some are considered adventure destinations (ecotourism), some are not, and others could belong to both categories. On this page you'll find popular tourist attractions in Santa Cruz that are not exclusively ecotourism sites.
There are many interesting sites to explore in Santa Cruz, the largest of the country’s nine states (called "departamentos"). Located in Eastern Bolivia, its capital city, also called Santa Cruz, is the fastest growing city in terms of
and has become the nation’s business, financial, and agricultural capital as well. In this section we'll tell you about some of the more interesting regional attractions, so when we make reference to Santa Cruz, we're talking about the entire State of Santa Cruz.
If you don’t plan to venture out of the urban area, visit our section on self guided
for all the best sites in our capital city, Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Because of its privileged tropical location and the enormity of the department itself, there are many sites to see. Eastern Bolivian culture and people are completely different from what you might find in the Western or Andean half of the country, so be prepared to be surprised.
In Santa Cruz you can learn about life in the region’s many small colonial-era towns like Samaipata and the
listen to a children’s choir in
or attend a
concert. Observe as artisans use skills handed down over centuries to fashion intricate musical instruments in
Learn to create pottery in
from some of the best artisans around. This is the town "cruceños" flock to when they've purchased a new car. They take their new vehicles to the church in Cotoca to be blessed by a priest. Visit the site where the famed Che Guevara was captured by taking the
Ruta del Che
tour which makes stops in places like Vallegrande and La Higuera.
Attend a coffee festival in
or dance in honor of a local patron saint. Visit
one of the towns where brave soldiers fought Paraguay in the Chaco War or
in the same region, which is Bolivia's oil and gas capital.
Just a little closer to the city visit the Santa Cruz Zoo. Take a short drive to the
Orange Festival, or just enjoy the town for what it is. Spend the day among giant Amazon water lilies at our favorite restaurant/resort/nature preserve
or take a tour guided by a real biologist at
Ecological Park and learn about more than 650 varieties of plants at this beautiful garden/park/restaurant and hidden paradise just 15 minutes from downtown. Into plantlife? Visit our Santa Cruz Botanical Garden, which is on the way to Cotoca.
Spend a day or a night or a week at the
which specializes in "Health Tourism" (spas, yoga, etc.) and houses the world's largest butterfly sanctuary in addition to dozens of other amazing amenities! Just 30 minutes from downtown you'll find one of the prettiest local getaways. Or for a perfect for a romantic evening, family weekend or business retreat spend some time at Quinta Victoria!
Check out the Lomas de Arena, a wayward patch of sand dunes somehow isolated amongst the tropical forests of Santa Cruz. No one knows quite how they got here, but the sand is the same as is found in portions of Africa. If you play golf, like kayaking or just want to hang on a hammock, spend the weekend at
Santa Rosa de la Mina
which will soon be South America's largest golf resort and is located on the way to the Jesuit Mission towns near San Javier and Concepción.
See our Things to Do section for many more parks and gardens, museums and galleries, events and sites, plus tourist attractions and destinations in the Ecotourism and City Tours sections. Our Entertainment page lists many more attractions and you can request much more information and brochures from the Tourist Information Office.
There is a never-ending, amazing variety of things to do in Santa Cruz. Because the department is so large, you are free to choose your preferred landscape depending on how long you will be here, the type of accommodations you prefer, or how much energy you have. Try this region’s delicious food or enjoy our nightlife too. Ruta Verde Bolivia is our preferred tour operator for sites in Santa Cruz.