Bolivia - The lookout around Santa Cruz

The climate and temperature change are remarkable when coming from Argentina's Buenos Aires. Even though it's just a 3-hour flight, the heat and humidity are drastically increased up here in Bolivia. 

I didn't have a big program and also at home when figuring out a specific itinerary, I realized most visitors going to Bolivia are the ones who either are seeing the salt flats in Uyuni or are the freaks who spend a few weeks in some kind of jungle. 

Around the cities is not that much to do, but at least I found a place to visit that serves as my memory of Bolivia.

Surprisingly modern

I didn't expect such a nice airport in a country where tourism and international business aren't the main sources of income.

The airport in Santa Cruz is modern, the border guards friendly and the entry went quickly. At the airport, got a sim card, changed money, and took a 20-minute cab ride to Equipetrol, the most modern district in Santa Cruz not far from the central old town.

Day 2 - Around Santa Cruz Old Town

Did not expect much from my visit here in Bolivia.

What I have read and heard so far about Santa Cruz was very sobering, but I was convinced that there is something exciting to see here, something that gives an impression of how Bolivia works and how the locals live.

My focus today was dedicated to the old town only. 

As in other South American cities, there is a square park in the total center of the city with government buildings all around, a cathedral and many coffee shops. That's also how it was here, too, as in most Latin American cities. 

Every street and corner looks similar to the one before, but it is fun to walk around each square as behind each corner there are new stores, Bolivian commerce, or just more locals going about their daily business.

Watching this is fun.

What to do around Santa Cruz?

My "main" goal today was to find an activity for tomorrow. Since I didn't have anything planned I asked around and the hiking area "Samaipata" was "the recommendation". 

There are not many places to go for such tourist information here in Santa Cruz and so I was directed by several people to a bus station that offers a special minivan for transportation to Samaipata. There is only one small specific place where the minivan leaves. 

Finding the place though was not easy as different people pointed me in different directions or didn't know the place at all. Nevertheless, even though I walked in a zigzag through the squares, I had to chance for more sightseeing.

Samaipata. How to visit Samaipata?

Including the return transport after a 2-hour stay in Samapiata. 

Whether this full delivery and pickup service really works and the drivers then surely show up to pick me up is questionable, but the people there and the driver made a relatively reliable impression. For 160 pesos (about 20 dollars) they would drive me 3.5 hours to Samaipata and pick me up in the afternoon to get back to Santa Cruz. The only thing was that I had to be at the station tomorrow at 6:00 am.

So this was my plan for tomorrow.

Day 3 - Changing the plan to visit "El Guardia" Mirador

Actually, I wanted to go to Samaipata today to see a green authentic picture with a lot of Bolivian landscape. Unfortunately, I missed the bus early this morning. This one left at 6:00 am. I've been told there are indeed no other bus connections to Samaipata and so this topic was also done for me.

Had to find something else for today.

Also not too far from the city,  is the lookout area on the place "El Guardia". The ride took about 1 hour from Santa Cruz. 

At the elevated viewpoint is a great view of the whole area around Santa Cruz. Very good to see is the landscape in which Santa Cruz was built. It looks like an oasis in the middle of a thick green jungle.

Once arriving at the parking lot of El Guardia, it was only a 10-minute walk to the top.

Day 4 - Getting ready for Paraguay

My flight to Asuncion, the capital of Paraguay will leave in the afternoon. Paraguay is still one of the few countries that require a covid test for entry.

This was the only thing I had to do today.

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