Bolivia’s largest and most cosmopolitan city, the colourful Santa Cruz in the Bolivian tropics acts as a gateway into the country for many international flights.
Despite its size, the charm of its colonial architecture gives the city a small-town vibe and a relaxed, sunny atmosphere. Highlights of a few nights in this booming city include time spent exploring the vibrant town centre, a visit to the 400-year-old colonial cathedral, boasting a fabulous exhibition of religious art, the Museum of Ethnography & Folklore, the Museum of Modern Art, and the charming, verdant Botanical Gardens.
Further afield, aficionados of political history travel to the sleepy Bolivian town where Che Guevara made his last stand; and lovers of South America’s exotic wildlife can explore the Amboró and Kaa-Iya National Parks, the latter famed for its population of the elusive jaguar.
An intriguing mix of laid-back locals, Cuban emigrés, Brazilian immigrants, Mennonite colonies and international business-people, Santa Cruz is boundlessly energetic and might just surprise you.