Print this trip dossier

Journey Latin America asks you to accept cookies for performance and social media purposes. We use cookies on our website to personalise content, evaluate website traffic and enhance performance. You can delete or restrict cookies via your web browser. To get more information about these cookies and the processing of your personal data see our Cookie Policy. Do you accept these cookies and the processing of personal data involved? Find out more


Bolivia: Santa Cruz and the Oriente

Visit Us

Eastern Bolivia is little visited by tourists but it is brimming with variety, vitality and living history. Prosperous Santa Cruz, the dynamic, rapidly expanding capital of the region, can seem a bit more like Brazil (just a few hours away by road) than the Bolivia of the altiplano. Riches have been accrued from oil, cattle farming, agriculture, logging and, historically  drugs. You may see the wealthy élite's SUVs with darkened windows cruising round the sultry streets.

Outside the city, highlights are legion: the ecosystems of multi-altitude Amboró and Noel Kempff Mercado National Parks are among the most biodiverse on the planet. In the rugged hills, unspoilt, red-roofed Spanish colonial-style villages abound. The the Ruta del Che (Che Guevara Trail) takes you through wild mountain ranges and canyons to the places which feature in the narrative of the last days of the revolutionary's campaign.

Aside from Che's exploits, the region has been the theatre for other huge chapters of human drama, the vestiges of which remain. Wild tribes – fabled to have founded a sophisticated civilisation - repelled the conquistadores only to be subdued by Jesuit missionaries; there's a circuit of stupendously ornate restored Jesuit churches deep in the countryside. The rubber boom brought immense riches and sophisticated towns. Following the decline in the rubber industry abandoned missions, railways, mansions and mills lie alongside vast cattle ranches; but now eco-tourism has spurred a revival.

Our holidays to Santa Cruz and the Oriente

View all holidays
Laguna Colorada

Zampullin: Vistas of Bolivia

Group tour

13 days from £3,067pp

Market life in Bolivia

Signature Bolivia: The final frontier

Private journey

14 days from £3,854pp

Things to do in Santa Cruz and the Oriente

La Higuera

Follow the Ruta del Che: Guevara Trail

Visit the historic Jesuit missions


Bolivian orchid

Samaipata, El Fuerte and Amboro National Park

Our insider tips for Santa Cruz and the Oriente

Isabelle

Isabelle Mazille

Explore the vast Mercado los Pozos street market in Santa Cruz, just a few blocks from the plaza. Crammed with pawn shops, jewellers, electrical retailers, fruit and vegetable stalls and rails heaving with clothing, it is an authentic Bolivian sales experience.

Mary Anne

Mary Anne Nelson

Keep an eye out for Mennonites as you drive through the eastern lowlands. This conservative  Russo-German community of religious and political refugees keeps itself to itself but individuals appear in market towns to trade, identified by their clothing: dungarees and straw hats for men, voluminous skirts aprons and bonnets for women. 

Claire Milner

Claire Milner

Don't be put off by the hours of travelling on the route from Santa Cruz to Sucre via the Ruta del Che (Che (Guevara) Trail). The mountain scenery is so varied and stunning the time just slips away. You realise you are somewhere remote and special.  If making an overnight stop in the mountain town of Samaipata, include a visit to Amboró National Park, with its ancient giant palms.     

What our experts say

Visiting churches has never been one of my greatest enthusiasms, in spite of the glorious baroque architecture of the religious buildings peppering Latin America. But in over 28 years of travel on the continent, discovering the Jesuit missions one of the most intriguing, touching, and unexpectedly fascinating of trips I have made. See my article: Magical Missions in our online Papagaio magazine. 

Claire Milner

Claire Milner

Product and Marketing

Tailor-made holiday

Speak to an expert Travel Consultant or send us your enquiry today.

Our specialists have been expertly crafting award-winning tailor-made holidays to Latin America for over 37 years.
We would be delighted to create a truly personalised trip which perfectly matches your wishes and requirements.

97% of our clients rated their experience with us as Excellent or Good.

Feefo - Platinum Trusted Service 2020

Articles you may like

Browse our inspiration area of the site. It's packed with insider travel tips, Top5s, competitions, events, recipes and holiday ideas for Central and South America sure to whet your travel appetite.

More inspiration

Sign up to our newsletter

Sign up to our twice monthly newsletter and be the first to know about our latest news, offer and competitions.

Thank you for sign up

Error for sign up

Share this Page

Social share page will open in new window

Send a friend

reCaptcha_try_again

Page Full Path: /sitecore/content/JLA/Home/destinations/bolivia/places-to-visit/santa-cruz-and-the-oriente

Page ID: {7F8DBD63-48F4-4FB9-8EE7-CD6A8C871A5A}

Page Name: santa-cruz-and-the-oriente

Page Display Name: Santa Cruz and the Oriente

Page Template Name: T003-Destination-Place

Page Template ID: {8C284EC8-C1AD-40A3-AAE2-4B0E542D5D05}

Parent ID: {F41A9F01-F5A3-4334-A292-ADA18A896ECF}

Parent Name: places-to-visit

Parent Display Name: Places to visit

Parent Template Name: T005-PlacesToVisit

Parent Template ID: {509C1794-DF40-48BC-9CE0-C076B1945D40}