Suggestions for short stay at Hotel Cortez in Santa Cruz?

We are staying at Hotel Cortez in Santa Cruz the end of July. Due to flight schedule changes, we are now arriving much earlier than expected (1:44 am). We have a meeting at 5 pm that day at the hotel. We will be 11 women and 1 man--most with little to no Spanish and little experience traveling abroad.

1. Besides catching up with some sleep, and hanging by the pool, any suggestions for safe sightseeing for a few hours?

2. Any good places for saltenas, cunapes, or other good food in walking distance of the hotel? Need vegetarian options.

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May 21, 2019
Fun things to do in Santa Cruz, Bolivia
by: BoliviaBella

Check out our page on Things to do in Santa Cruz. At the Hotel Cortez, you’ll be half a block from Avenida Monseñor Rivero (lined with dozens of places to eat) and within walking distance of the city center, called the "Casco Viejo" because it’s the original, historic part of the city. Scroll down our "things to do" page until you get to the section titled CASCO VIEJO – DOWNTOWN.

When you exit your hotel, turn right and follow the sidewalk to the end of the block. At this, our city’s busiest intersection, you’ll see a tall statue of Jesus. This is the beginning of a boulevard called Monseñor Rivero. Turn right and begin to walk down Monseñor Rivero. This boulevard is just 3 blocks long and is lined with cafes and restaurants, many of which serve salteñas (keep in mind that salteñas are served only in the mornings) and cuñapés (which are considered a teatime food and served in the afternoons).

After enjoying something to eat, you can either take a taxi or continue walking to the Casco Viejo (about 10 blocks straight down Monseñor Rivero (which changes names to 24 de Septiembre Street). It is literally a straight line to the city center.

In our city’s downtown area you’ll find our central plaza called Plaza 24 de Septiembre with cafes, shops, restaurants, and souvenir stores on all 4 sides, including the beautiful cathedral. Inside the cathedral is a small museum of centuries-old relics called the Museo de Arte Sacro where you can see relics and artifacts, jewelry, paintings, carvings, robes and other items that are 300-500 years old from the Spanish colonial era. At the back of the cathedral there is a smaller quieter plaza where you’ll find an art gallery called Manzana Uno and more souvenir shops.

Also at the cathedral, just to the right of the front door (at the base of the right side tower), you’ll find a smaller door, which is the entrance to the Cathedral Clock Tower. For about $2 per person entrance fee, you can climb the spiral staircase up to the top of the clock tower. There are 2 landings prior to reaching the top from which you can take rest and overlook the entire city.

A tourist from Panama posted this short 2 minute video of the cathedral and plaza area. It will give you a brief view of the places I’ve listed:

There are many great restaurants for lunch all around the plaza. There is a Facebook page specifically for Vegans and Vegetarians in Santa Cruz. They should be able to point you to a lot of vegetarian options. You could message them with something like "Nos pueden recomendar restaurantes vegetarianos en Santa Cruz?" Your hotel offers one of the best breakfast buffets in Santa Cruz with lots and lots of tropical fruits.

If you’re looking for something more tranquil or the city center is too hectic and loud for you, you’re not far from the Santa Cruz Zoo, considered one of the best in South America.

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