When you first arrive in Santa Cruz, Bolivia you may spend a day trying to figure out exactly what type of aesthetic and energy this modern latino metropolis is trying to convey.
With a population of about 1.14 million, there is plenty to do in Santa Cruz when it comes to eating, partying and enjoying all the perks of a modern-day city that is striving to project a vibe of a cosmopolitan city, yet really just comes off as a large neighborhood with a slight disconnect in culture. Despite its split-personality however, Santa Cruz has its charm, and what it lacks in culture it makes up with a great night scene and an interesting mix of gastronomy.
Tango Night and Hookah at Kiwis
Centrally located, Kiwis is a funky restaurant and hookah (shisha) bar that serves thoughtful dishes and has a fairly decent wine list. The decor is pleasing and the courtyard- which is pretty much the main dining area, is filled with bountiful plants, palm trees and Europeanesque art hangings on the wall. Sip on some imported Argentine wine, order a rich dish of Quinoa salad, and watch as the restaurant evolves into a local tango club as the night progresses.
Stay at Alojamiento Santa Barbara
This hip, yet laid back Hostal provides the perfect setting for a tucked away sleeping heaven in the middle of the city. The rooms are basic and the beds are not the most comfortable, but for the price tag of $30 Bolivianos a night (about $4 USD) you get more then what you pay for. The owner here is more than accommodating, so if you are looking to just stay one night but are interested in exploring the city the next day, ask him to store your bags in the Hostal´s closet until you return.
Party at Katura Bar
After you have finished up your delectable ¨cena¨(dinner) at Kiwis, head on over to party the night at Katura Bar, located centrally near the main plaza. When you first walk in you might feel as though you have time capsuled back to a typical sports bar in a westernized country, but as the night warms up so does the the jukebox, playing an assortment of top-ten pop songs and mixes it up with Latin reggaeton and a sprinkle of cumbia. The drinks are strong, and the energy is stronger, so make sure you are ready to talk, drink and dance until the wee hours of the night.
What do you think of Santa Cruz and the life?