Overview

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.

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Holidays Santa Cruz and the Oriente

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Uyuni Salt Flats

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Signature Bolivia: The final frontier

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Zampullin: Vistas of Bolivia

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Where to go when - our guide to Santa Cruz and the Oriente

Amboro National Park Bolivia

The weather in Santa Cruz and the Oriente is wide and varied

The dynamic city of Santa Cruz and the surrounding eastern lowlands enjoy a hot, semi-tropical climate year round, with lows of 15°C and highs of 31°C. You can visit stunningly bio-diverse national parks, follow in the footsteps of Che Guevara or explore historic Jesuit missions at any time of year, but for the driest and most pleasant weather aim for April - November.

View our Santa Cruz and the Oriente weather guide

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Meet our team

Real Latin american experts

  • Kathryn
    Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Expert

    Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.

  • Sallly
    Sally Dodge - Travel Expert

    A former Journey Latin America tour leader, Sally spent 7 years working, travelling and living throughout Latin America before returning to the UK to help people arrange their own adventures to this wonderful destination.

  • Ben
    Ben Line - Travel Expert

    Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.

  • Juliet
    Juliet Ellwood - Travel Expert

    After graduating with a degree in Anthropology and History and having been fascinated by Latin America since childhood by the book featuring photos of Nazca, Juliet first visited the region in 2003. Since then, Juliet has visited the majority of countries in Latin America but has particularly extensive experience with Peru, a country she loves for many reasons but not least, its incredible archaeological richness and delicious food!

  • Mary
    Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Expert

    Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tour sales team.

  • Charlotte
    Charlotte Daubeney - Travel Expert

    Charlotte's fascination with Latin America began with a family holiday to Belize. She went on to study Spanish in school and at university before spending a year living in Santiago, Chile.

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