The richest city in Bolivia, Santa Cruz is a suitable place to start a trip in Bolivia. In this city in the tropics at an altitude of 400 meters you can spend a couple of days resting from a long flight and acclimatize.
Santa Cruz was founded by the conquistador Newflo de Chavez in 1561, 220 km east of its present location. The region’s fertile lands allowed for an excellent harvest of rice, cotton, fruit, and sugar cane – the Spanish conquerors needed food. Soon after the founding of the first settlement it was discovered that the site was not a good one – Santa Cruz was constantly attacked by Indians. The city was moved several times before settling in its present location.
Santa Cruz flourished and developed until the nineteenth century, when transportation between La Paz and the Peruvian coast was opened. It became unprofitable to ship products from Santa Cruz, and hard times came for the city. But in 1954 they finished building roads that connected Santa Cruz to other cities and brought the city back to life. To this day it is the most prosperous city in Bolivia.
Santa Cruz is a relaxed place to spend time. There are no important landmarks but there is a unique atmosphere that is very pleasant to be immersed in. The pace of life is very leisurely for the crucenos, as the residents of Santa Cruz are called. So leisurely, in fact, that until recently you could see sloths leisurely crossing the streets. Increased traffic and power lines became dangerous for the animals and they were placed in the zoo.
- Tap water: No, not drinkable
- Religious government: Non-religious
- Population: 1,100,000 people
- GDP: $3,105 / year
- Foreigners can own real estate: Yes
- Power outlets: 230V50Hz
- Internet: 5 Mbps
- Best wireless: Entel
- Tipping: Tipping is discretionary in Bolivia. Restaurants rarely include a service fee in the bill. With that, a 5-10% gratuity is warranted for good service. Tipping is not expected in bars, but you may opt to leave small change. Taxi drivers do not usually receive tips. An exception is if you hire them for several hours or a day, in which case a 10% tip is suggested. Hotel porters are typically given 4 Bs to 8 Bs. Housecleaning staff are tipped 7 Bs a day.
- Apartments: Airbnb
- Hotels: Booking.com
- More hotels: Hotels.com
- Best taxi: Uber
- Best short-haul air carrier: BOA
- Best intl air carrier: BOA
- Monthly costs for expat: $750
- Monthly costs for family: $1500
- Monthly costs for local: $440
- Meal: $3
- Small Cola: $0.5
- Beer 1 Pint: $1.5
- Coffee: $1
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