Santa Cruz de La Sierra is the largest city in Bolivia, capital city of the Santa Cruz department (in the eastern region of the country). The municipality’s population is 1.4 million inhabitants, but jointly with the metropolitan area (Cotoca, Porongo, Warnes, La Guardia and El Torno) it amounts to 2.1 million inhabitants, according to the 2012 Census. Its demographic growth is among the fastest in South America.
Santa Cruz is not only the most populated city in Bolivia, but the department is also the richest, with over 30% of the national GDP. The city is a major center of petrochemical production in Bolivia, especially because the production of natural gas that exports to neighboring countries (Brazil and Argentina). The main sectors that drive the regional economy are oil, forestry and agrobusiness firms.
Photo credit: Sergio Baltz
The city of Santa Cruz is located at 416 meters above sea level and it has a warm subtropical type of climate, where the highest rainfall months are January and February. The warmest month is January, the coldest month is July, and the temperatures fluctuate between 23° C and 33° C between October and March.
The official currency is the Boliviano (BOB). The official exchange rate is 1 USD= 6,96 BOB and 1 BOB= 0,14 USD.
The safest way to change foreign currency into Bolivianos is through a bank (open Monday to Fridays from 09:00 to 16:00; Saturdays from 09:00 to 13:00).
You can also exchange euros, dollars and other foreign currency at authorized exchange agencies or at your hotel counter. Exchange agencies offer exchange rates closer to the official exchange rate (around 6.95 BOB per USD).
Payments in U.S. Dollars are accepted in most of the shops and restaurants, yet generally at a lower exchange rate.
You can exchange on the street in specific parts of the city. However, we do not recommend this type of transactions.
If you are planning to travel to the lowlands, use insect repellent. You will need your yellow fever vaccination, which has to be administered at least 10 days before your trip.
If you are planning to travel to the highlands, you can avoid experiencing altitude sickness by following these instructions: on your arrival day, take a rest, have light meals and drink plenty of liquids.
Do not eat anything that is uncooked or sold by street vendors and only drink bottled o boiled water.
As in any other big city, we strongly recommend for your safety that you don’t leave your bag or belongings unattended. Always keep your passport, air ticket and other valuable items in a safe place and avoid carrying high amount of money.
Do not wear expensive looking jewelry and watches. The same applies to large amounts of money; try to separate previously the amount you need for small expenses.
Precautions when withdrawing money from an ATM
- If possible check whether there´s security personnel nearby, or that there aren´t any suspiciously-acting people near you.
- It there is a line and someone tells you to take their place, do not accept it. Leave the establishment.
- Before inserting your card, verify there is no suspicious material stuck in the ATM slot
- Never share your password with anyone offering help.
- Avoid counting your money at the ATM
- Do not accept help from strangers.
- If you have to leave the ATM before finishing your operation, due to an emergency or risky situation, cancel the operation by pressing the key “cancelar”
- Never allow other people to see you typing your password.
- If the ATM retains your card, immediately report it to the bank. If you do it on the phone, do not accept help from strangers.
Precautions when using a credit card
- Never lose sight of your credit card
- If you see any unusual manipulation on your card, report it to the manager or person responsible at the establishment, and then report it immediately to your bank.
- Never sign an empty receipt.
- When paying with a credit card, take your ID with you. Showing and original ID is mandatory when using your credit card.
LACEA 2015 Secretary
For any assistance you may need, please contact LACEA local organizers from October 14th in the Conference Venue in Santa Cruz, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Taking a Taxi
- It is recommended to request a taxi at the hotel counter, or telephone one from the place you are at. The city of Santa Cruz is the first one in Bolivia to include taximeters in the taxis.
- Avoid using mass public transportation, especially during rush hours.
Coffee break and lunch will be served at the conference venue.
In case of emergency
Police in Santa Cruz: 110
Red Cross: (591-3) 3331965