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Santa Cruz and the Oriente: Fact file

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When to go

The weather is hot and sultry all year round, with daytime temperatures rarely falling below 20°C. The drier season is most pleasant, falling between April and November. Crucenos love to party however and Carnival (the four days prior to Ash Wedneasday) is celebrated enthusiastically throughout the city with street festivals, musuc and parades

Language

Spanish and indigenous languages, Some immigrants, eg Mennonites, speak their own language.

Getting local currency

Peso Boliviano. Notes in local currency and in some cases US dollars can be withdrawn from the many ATMs in prominent avenues of Santa Cruz, eg Bolivian National Bank and Banco Mercantil de Santa Cruz; there are many money exchanges (casas de cambio) and banks which exchange US dollars. (a few accept euros or sterling but the rate may be poor).

When withdrawing money from an ATM using a debit card, you are offered a choice of account type from which to make your withdrawal: select 'credit card' (ie NOT Current account or Savings Account options).

Time difference

GMT -4 hours.

Getting there

Santa Cruz is Bolivia's main airport hub, with flights arriving from The US, Europe, other Latin American countries (eg Miami, Lima, Madrid, Buenos Aires, São Paulo, Cochabamba, Tarija, La Paz, Sucre)There's a good new paved road from Brazil, offering links with Corumbá and the Pantanal, and paved road links with other cities in Bolivia, though land journeys are necessarily long.

Combines with

Well connected by air with La Paz (1hr), Lima, Miami, Buenos Aires and São Paulo, Santa Cruz is easily combined with a visit to some of the continent’s greatest cities. If you love wilderness and history, combine the remote mountains of the Che Trail  or the circuit of isolated Jesuit missions in the Oriente with the high altitude puna of Argentina – a staggeringly other-worldly  extension of the Atacama desert specked with just a handful of tiny traditional subsistence villages – using a direct  flight from Salta in Argentina’s northwest.



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