Basílica de San Lorenzo (Cathedral)
The Basilica of Saint Lawrence stands out for its wooden vaults covered by beautiful pictorial decorations. It has been through many historical changes, and it is said that it was built by the Mercedarian Fray Diego de Porres, during the administration of Viceroy Toledo. In 1839, Marshal Andrés de Santa Cruz ordered the replacement of the old temple, entrusting this mission to French architect Felipe Bestres. The Basilica is located in Santa Cruz’s main square, Plaza 24 de septiembre.
Plaza 24 de septiembre
The main square of Santa Cruz. This was the starting point of the city over 400 years ago on the sandy land chosen by Lorenzo Suarez and Gonzalo Figueroa Soliz de Holguí; chosen after being the final location for this historic city, in the La Plata conquer. The first houses and streets of Santa Cruz emerged around this important location. Currently, the 24 de Septiembre Square, named after the liberating cry of 1810, is still encircled by historical buildings.
Paseo La Recova
In this promenade, eastern traditional handmade products (souvenirs) are offered for sale. Among these products, the public can obtain handcrafted leather products and bijouterie made out of seeds and wood. There are 51 stands, including an exclusive tourist guide stand and a snack bar, which offers Santa Cruz’s typical baked snacks and refreshments; also, the place has a stage where folk clubs and other artistic performances take place.
El Arenal is far from being an ordinary park. This promenade and its lagoon, located in the city center, just five blocks away from the main square, is a reminder of the old town, which encloses many reminiscences for Cruceños (the people of Santa Cruz). According to the chronicles compiled by R. Ferreira, during the 19th and part of the 20th centuries, the lagoon was part of a natural pond that collected rainwater; back then positioned in the city’s boundaries. It was a playground where children went swimming and fishing, and women washed clothes. Thirsty oxen were watered there too, as well as horses and mules that supplied the city from the neighboring provinces.
Bolivia is the thirteenth country with most biodiversity since it has a wildlife heritage recognized by eminent specialists in the world. An extraordinary example of this valuable natural resource is at the Municipal Zoo of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, an institution that embodies the principles of conservation, protection and study of the wealth of the fauna.
In order to preserve and exhibit the great floral, plant and animal diversity of Santa Cruz, the new Botanical Garden is projected as a outstanding ecological reference, which must have the support of all the friends of Nature. The plain humid forest and the seasonally floodable Chaco forest of Santa Cruz are the two major plant formations that come together in a 187 hectares garden, and represent the beauty of eastern Bolivia.
A 24 hectares natural paradise, surrounded by exotic plants, lush forests and native animals of the region. A place where you will find a beautiful variety of flora and fauna, natural areas, nature trails, ponds, pools and recreational activities for everyone. There is also a comfortable resort with cabins and luxury rooms with a rustic dab, and for the more adventurous, camping areas and various alternative therapies.
A beautiful ecological park and restaurant located on the west shore of the Piraí river, giving the opportunity to be in contact with nature and relax while enjoying the stunning gardens full of life and color, entertaining games for adults and children, and specially the delicious food that turns this place into a true paradise of flavors and landscapes. It is located on the road to Porongo, 7km (4.3 miles) away from Santa Cruz.
Museo Catedrático de Arte Sacro: Sculptures, paintings, silverware and religious objects used by the Jesuits in their evangelizing missions are exhibited in this museum, which is one of the most colorful and inclusive of all Bolivia.
Casa de la Cultura: The Municipal House of Culture manages the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Ethno-folkloric Municipal Museum. This institution is in charge of the Municipal Library and a network of 15 neighborhood libraries and 14 neighborhood cultural centers.
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo: This museum features permanent and temporary exhibitions of modern art from foreign and local artists, both paintings and sculptures. The History of Santa Cruz Art from the 20th century and from the colonial times, are also exposed. This cultural space contains six exhibition halls, a conference room, one of them specially designated for art workshops, ceramic treatment courses. Some artistic works are also on sale.
Espacio de Arte Manzana Uno: It is a non-profit art gallery located in the historic center of Santa Cruz. It was named Manzana Uno, since it is located in the first block of the city (in Spanish, the word manzana is used for both apple and block). This place, listed as a World Heritage building by UNESCO, was formerly occupied by the National Police, and after 13 years of abandonment, it was reopened as a cultural center on September 27th, 2005.
Centro Cultural Simon I. Patiño: The Simon I. Patiño Cultural Center of Santa Cruz was created in 2004, with the intention of opening a space dedicated to art and culture dissemination that supports the improvement of educational quality. In this regard, this Center organizes artistic events of various kinds and educational activities within the lines of action of the Simon I. Patiño Foundation.
Centro de la Cultura Plurinacional Santa Cruz: This center makes an important contribution to the cultural life of Santa Cruz, since this place offers artists, musicians, craftsmen and other creators, a space which allows the dialogue with the public about their accomplishments.
Museo Guaraní: In this museum, 150 recovered pieces of the Bolivian Guarani area are exposed. The public can observe ceramic vessels formerly used to bury the dead and household jars, among other objects. There is also a space designated to the earring products, the Guarani carnival party and musical instruments such as the Pinguyu or the Pinguyo Yamboi (Guadua flutes), masks and a large jar in which the corn chicha (beverage) is prepared. In addition: arrows, slingshots and batons can be seen.
Cotoca: This Sanctuary is located about 20 km (about 12 miles) away from Santa Cruz on the road that crosses the Rio Grande to enter the Chiquitanía area and, further on, the Beni Department. It is a town known for its excellent work in ceramics, for the sonso (yucca and cheese typical dish), and most of all for the Mamita Cotoca, affectionately revered as the Virgin Mary in the Shrine. The Sanctuary is currently served by the Dominican Fathers. The Shrine Parish, named after the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin, also embraces numerous rural communities.
Porongo: Founded on the 22nd February 1710, as one of San Juan Bautista’s Missions, this town retains its Jesuit church in which the baroque art is apparent in its architecture, altarpieces, altars, bells and others. Porongo has a Tourism and Cultural Interpretation Center, as well as a comfortable food court where delicious dishes and traditional fruit juices, such as achachairú, tamarind and various citrus, can be tasted.
Buena Vista – Parque Nacional Amboró: The town of Buena Vista is 100 km (62 miles) away from Santa Cruz. This place is ideal to connect with nature, go across its missionary historical center and enjoy all the typical and international food variety. Its excellent hotel capacity allows exploiting the tourism, especially of the adventure kind. Buena Vista was established as the gateway to the north of the Amboró National Park and Natural Area of Integrated Management.
Samaipata: The archaeological area of Samaipata, popularly known as “El Fuerte” is a ceremonial and administrative complex of outstanding universal value, standing out as the prototype of architecture and pre-Inca rock art. It is located in the valley region of the Santa Cruz Department. Due to its privileged location, Samaipata was the first Ceremonial Center for local and Amazonian peoples, such as the Arawak-Chané from the Grigotá Plains, the embattled Guarani, among others. Samaipata was subsequently a territory to contact the Inca empire, and finally, in the Spanish colonization, it was designated as milking yards and fort, in order to ensure the route from Asuncion, Paraguay to Lima, Peru. For these reasons, Samaipata was and will be known as “the meeting place”.
Las misiones Jesuíticas: During the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries the “reductions of Paraguay” were founded by missionaries of the Society of Jesus, thus forming 44 towns of which 14 belonged to Bolivia. The Chiquitos missions are still standing today as “living towns” and its customs, traditions and art forms, express their own Chiquitana culture. The towns in this tourist circuit are San Xavier, Concepción, San Ignacio de Velasco, San Miguel, Santa Ana, San Rafael, and San José de Chiquitos, among others.
FOOD & ENTERTAINMENT
Casa del Camba:
Santa Cruz Traditional Food
Av. Cristóbal de Mendoza #1365
Coffee, cake shop, patisserie and traditional bakery.
Calle Libertad N° 918 esq. Canada Strongest.
Av. Paraguá N° 2500 esq. Calle 6.
Av. Piraí N° 442.
3322198 – 3602626 – 3200010
Steakhouse & Pasta
Hotel Los Tajibos, Av. San Martín 3º Anillo
2º Anillo y Av. La Salle
Hard Rock Café:
Ventura Mall, 4º Anillo Av. San Martín
Av. Viedma #586
Coffee, cake shop, patisserie and traditional bakery.
Av. San Martín N° 154 Frente Al Colegio Alemán
3362903 – 3448885
Colombian Coffee Shop
Ventura Mall, 4º anillo Av. San Martín
Aeropuerto Viru Viru
Folk dance bar restaurant
Calle La Paz, esq. Ballivián
Steakhouse, pasta, fish and seafood
Calle Chuquisaca #502, esq. Manuel Ignacio Salvatierra
Steakhouse & Poultry
Calle Libertad #1000
Coffee, cake shop, patisserie and traditional bakery – Steakhouse, Pasta and Salads.
Av. Cañoto Esquina Florida – Telf: 333-5333
Av. Monseñor Rivero – Telf : 311-1239
Centro Comercial Las Palmas – Telf : 311-9000
Ventura Mall – En el Boulevard – Telf : 4023100
Alexander Coffee Shop:
Av. Monseñor Rivero Nº 400, tel: (591-3) 3378653 – (591-3) 3121344
Calle Junín Nº 3 esq. Libertad, tel: (591-3) 312888 – (591-3) 3122615
Av. Busch #548