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Santa Cruz & the Southeast

In contrast to La Paz, Santa Cruz lies at the centre of the country in the eastern foothills of the Andes. It is much larger at around 1.5 million people but it doesn’t feel like a big city. It is cosmopolitan and one of the fastest growing cities in the world, but modern and traditional still mix freely here. Although this is not the Bolivia you see on the postcards, there is more than enough here to fill a few days sightseeing. There is an exceptional blend of peoples and you can join the better off residents and tourists in the famous upmarket Equipetrol District or chill with the locals in one of the many relaxed plazas.
 
The traditional centre is downtown Plaza 24 de Septiembre, where unusually you can climb to the tops of the cathedral towers for an extraordinary view of the city. Take your pick of museums but don’t miss the small but unique Museo Guarani. It is run by the Guarani people, who represent the ancient inhabitants of this part of Bolivia and Paraguay and is dedicated to their culture. Look out for their masks and especially the tinjas, the huge clay pots used to make chicha, their traditional corn based alcoholic drink. They were also used to bury their dead!
 
The average annual temperature is 23°C, ideal for exploring some of the parks and reserves that abound. The Bicentro Gwembe Mariposario offers a fun day out swimming or relaxing with monkeys, birds, turtles and butterflies - and of course sloths. Santa Cruz is the unofficial sloth capital of the world and these gentle and charming creatures can also be seen in the trees on the outskirts of the city. About a three hours trip from Santa Cruz, the San Miguelito Jaguar Conservation Ranch is the ideal place to see jaguar and a visit here helps to support the conservation work of this eco project.
 
ALL OUR SANTA CRUZ HOLIDAYS ARE FINANCIALLY PROTECTED wherever in the world you live. Selling holidays for over 15 years.
 
Santa Cruz is also a base for exploring the magnificent Amboró National Park. It covers 1,700 square miles and is one of the most botanically diverse in the world. Even by Latin American standards it is exceptional with over 3000 plant varieties, 900 species of birds, 180 mammals, 170 amphibians, 135 snakes and 100 fish! The giant ferns here are hundreds of years old. One of the main reasons for this unbelievable abundance is the park’s unique confluence of many different climates, habitats and topography. This varies from high Andes to Amazon lowland and open pampas and every kind of forest. The elevation changes from 300 to 3500 metres!
 
The Carrasco National Park is adjacent and together they constitute a truly outstanding conservation project. Exploring this wildlife wonderland is exciting, surprising, dramatic - and relaxing. With its beautiful walks, stunning rugged landscapes, luxuriant vegetation and intriguing archaeology, the park really is a national treasure.
 
To the northeast of Santa Cruz, in the country’s remote interior, there are many impressive Jesuit churches, dating back to the time of the conquistadores. Unable to dominate the indigenous tribes, they asked the missionaries to move into the area, where they set about building impressive wooden and traditional adobe churches. These eventually fell into disrepair but have been carefully restored in modern times and are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
 
Essential Bolivia - Private Tour
WPB9L
9 NIGHTS
FROM £2,495
International flights quoted separately
Experience the highlights of Bolivia on this private tour. From the high-altitude city of La Paz, fly to Villa Mar for an overland tour to the spectacular Salar de Uyuni salt flats - the largest in the world. View the dramatic colours, geology & landscapes of the REA Reserve, Pampas de Dali & Siloli Desert before heading to Lake Titicaca, with a boat ride to Sun Island. English speaking guide & all sightseeing included.
Bolivia Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats Photo Lake Titicaca Sun Island
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La Paz
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Tiwanaku & Moon Valley
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Train Cemetery
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Eduardo Avaroa Andean Reserve
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Siloli Desert
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Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats
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Polques & Sol de Mañana Springs
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Isla Incahuasi
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Lake Titicaca
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Sun Island
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La Paz
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Tiwanaku & Moon Valley
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Train Cemetery
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Eduardo Avaroa Andean Reserve
• 
Siloli Desert
• 
Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats
• 
Polques & Sol de Mañana Springs
• 
Isla Incahuasi
• 
Lake Titicaca
• 
Sun Island
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