- Santa Cruz is a very active and developed city. You’ll find all the classic Europeans shops.
- Clinidad Prosalud is a very good place to go if you have a medical emergency.
- It’s a good location for a base camp to explore the jungle surroundings.
- Equipetrol area is very safe with all you need.
We stayed at the Veronique Boutique Hotel in Equipetrol and that was fantastic. See more below.
🚲 Getting there
We stayed in total 10 nights, but by intermittence because of the Amazon expeditions.
Nick’s adventures 🗒
During our time in the city, we let Nick’s adventures agency plan three multi-days expeditions and one of half-day:
- Amboro National Park for 2 days.
- San Miguelito for 3 days.
- Chuchini for 3 days.
- Lomas de Arenas for half a day, see below.
Nick and his team literally took care of everything for us, including guides, hotels, lunches, flights, pick-ups, drop-offs (even from airports), and so on. The total price was 3200£ for two persons, for the whole itinerary. It’s quite expensive for Bolivia, but after looking the prices online of the places where we went, we both agreed it was good.
The best part of booking with them, is that they brought us to fantastic places we never heard of based on what we were interested to do. They’re local experts, and they know where to go and when, so if you like expeditions in the wild, make sure to contact them.
One thing we would have done differently, is to have relaxing days between expeditions. The itinerary was great, but very sporty and tiring. Having a day to relax and do the laundry between two expeditions would have been better.
Lomas de Arenas ⛱
Our last early pick-up of the Amazon expeditions, at 8AM by Nick himself and Jose the driver. After 30 minutes drive, we’ve stopped by the Palmasola prison where we learnt a lot of funny and dark stories about the Bolivian prison system, after what Nick bought us some coca leaves and we’ve headed to the park. Upon arrival, it looked like we were in Africa or Texas. There was massive sand hills, mixed with green vegetation, 40 minutes drive from Santa Cruz, crazy.
We started our 2 hours hike on the sand hill, learning about the history of the area. Pro-tips: bring flip-flops, short trousers and sun block, it’s the desert after all. After hikking for one hour, we arrived at the top hill and were shocked by the view. A massive jungle on the other side of a pretty steep sand hill. The best part, we were completely alone, not one tourist miles away, it’s Nick’s secret spot.
On the way back, the exciting part, sandboarding! Nick waxed the boards, and we’ve been going up and down the hill, sitting or standing for a good 30 minutes. Beware that is quite tiring, but you can do it longer if you want! We then headed back to the lovely Veronique Boutique Hotel to spend a chill afternoon napping closeby the swimming pool.
Basecamp and Hospital 🏕
Between each expeditions, we went back to Santa Cruz for the night in our basecamp Veronique Boutique Hotel. The room, staff, breakfast and decorations was fantastic. They also have a swimming pool for the hot days, and a cheap laundry service. The area, Equipetrol, is also very nice and super safe, full of restaurants (from fast food chains to high-end), ATMs, 24h pharmacy, making it perfect to relax between two trips. There’s also a good and super friendly barber if you need a last minute haircut called La Creme Barber Club.
They staff was also very accommodating and helpful with us. During our many expeditions, they hapilly kept our extra luggages safe at the hotel, and always made sure our room was ready when we were back. We also faced a dramatic food poisoning during our stay, and they helped us to find the right clinic, Clinidad Prosalud, and called us a cab to get there as soon as possible.
The clinic was fantastic, better than most of London’s hospitals. After 5 minutes wait, we received a brief medical examination, ecography and IV. Four hours later, time for the IV to finish, we came back to the hotel. We paid around 50£ for everything, a good address if you have a problem. The only thing is they don’t speak english, so get your google translate ready.
A day in the city 🚶
We mainly relaxed in the Equipetrol area, enjoying the multiples nice restaurants. We didn’t really had time and energy to explore the city, but we heard of some nice places to go by locals:
- Biocentro Guembe: A lovely park with swimming pools, plenty of butterfly and apparently a tapir somewhere.
- La Rinconada: Green area in the city center, ideal to relax.
- La Gaira: Real good and big burgers with fresh ingredients for 30Bs.
- La Sfizieria: Lovely little italian serving classic pizza, pastas and paninis.
- El Rancho: Cheap empanadas fast food.
- Piegari: Fancy italian restaurant but not super expensive for London standards (50£ for two).
Overall Experience 🤓
We saw so many animals, met incredible and unusual people, and also a lot of fun. Honestly, make sure you visit Santa Cruz on your next trip of Bolivia. While the city itself doesn’t offer much besides a good base camp, the excursion in its surrounding are astonishing.
Even if you’re not that much into wildlife, it really worth every penny of it. Make sure to book with Nick, we don’t have any affiliate whatsoever, but he seriously built us a super tailored experience, where we were the only ones in place we would have never went, and took care of everything for us. GO SANTA CRUZ!