"Human Slaves In An Insect Nation, ArrrrrAhhhhAhhh!" Top 5 Page for this destination Santa Cruz de la Sierra by Totakeke

Santa Cruz de la Sierra Travel Guide: 39 reviews and 76 photos

The Gran Chaco.

Several hours after the crazy ATM search has ended, so now we´ve bought our tickets and we´re about to board our coach, it`s 8.30 pm. We`ve got our sleeping bags at the ready, a supply of water and food, and plenty of toilet roll (Always bring toilet roll! ALWAYS!!!!). A queue forms and we join in, hand our packs to the baggage packing man, relinquish our tickets to the driver, and clamber into our home for the next possibly 30 hours. Soon we´re both asleep, trying to stay warm as for some reason the windforce summoned by the speed we´re going keeps creeping a few of the windows open further and further. A voice jolts me awake and someone says "Immigracion!!" so Phil and I pull our shoes on and stumble sleepily off the bus with everyone to have our Passports checked and obtain our exit stamp. The official immigration office that we´re in is a shack on a farm surrounded by goats. Five minutes later we scramble back into our places on the coach and enter The Gran Chaco, a massive wild frontier between Paraguay and Boliviar, this ain´t no nice tarmac road we´re heading onto, oooooh no. This is hardcore, no holds barred, rock covered, ditch filled, dirt track, that goes on for miles upon miles upon miles. If you ever do this trip into Boliviar, bring padding!! Easily the craziest road trip Ive ever been on. Neither of us can comprehend how we stayed on the road and how we stayed upright. The coach drivers must be very skilled! After hours of going on the road, off the road, into holes, and out of holes, the sun begins to rise over the Gran Chaco to reveal its plentiful types of bird. I think I saw some Eagles but Im not sure.
We arrive in Santa Cruz 21 hours after departure with many a bruise from being flung about whilst on the coachs toilet.

The Centre of Santa Cruz.

We get a taxi from the middle of nowhere (not the bus station as the coach companies are protesting and now not using the station at all) to Alojamente Santa Barbara, the cheapest place our book recommends, its roughly 2.50 a night and has toilets and hot showers, hoorah!
After a small rest we set out to explore the centre and find an ATM to get some Bolivianis. The banks are situated near a lovely Plaza which we have fallen in love with, its so clean and beautiful, with nice shady trees, lots of benchs, and marble chess tables set up around the circumference. Right round the corner from the Plaza is an Icecream parlour called Picolos, which does the NICEST icecream ever as well as some very nice Empanadas! Empanadas are now my staple diet. Found a supermarket and bought sandwich making stuff as there are no fridges at Santa Barbara so we need stuff that wont go mouldy in the heat. Unfortunately the ants here are very persistant so we chucked the bread and meat out today as theyd found a gap in the knot that I tied in the food bag... ewwwwww. Theres also a very nice craft market nearby and a lagoon that you can hire paddle boats on (which we just partook in) :) The museum on the lagoon had some scary masks in. Phil has bought some Bolivia tshirts and I am eying up an Alpaca Poncho which is beautiful.
We´ve both had bad stomachs the last few days. Had to happen sooner or later :(
We´ll probably stay here another few days or so as it is cheap and the weather is good and the surroundings are beautiful. Plus La Paz will be cold.

The Stomach Rebels....

Well the bad stomach went badder, possibly to the baddest level of bad stomach. But only with Phil, possibly due to the slight cold he was getting over that he´d acquired in Paraguay depleting his immune system. All I know is that bacteria was loooooving his insides so much so that he couldnt move away from the hostel for over half an hour at a time. It became my new mission to buy him new bottles of water, packets of paracetemol, and rolls of loo paper for 4 days straight until I started to get very worried about him. So I headed to the Wonderous Oracle known as the internet and looked up what to do (I know antibiotics doesnt seem the right thing for an upset stomach but I looked at several government/ health organisation websites and that is what they recommended). Phil is now chipper after being pumped full of drugs and drinking lots of water. :) We headed out again over the last two days to check out the cinemas and the museums. No luck there. One is closed for refurbishment, the other has become a church. The museum has closed down, and the water park was shut when we went with no explanation. Tomorrow we move on to La Paz, if only for something to do.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Picolo, Plaza, Poncho.
  • Cons:Ants...... Achey belly.
  • In a nutshell:Beautiful. Gotta love the Coffee men.
  • Last visit to Santa Cruz de la Sierra: May 2006
  • Intro Updated May 22, 2006
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“Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I will be happily infected til the end of my life.”

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