Looking for a tryst with nature but not away from a metropolis? Want to dig into history but not in the midst of present day modernity? Come to Santa Cruz, the largest city of Bolivia, a metropolis from where you jump off into the lap of nature, enjoy sun and sport on dazzling beaches, explore Inca ruins in the midst of mountain ranges, and rediscover Jesuit missions of the 16th and 17th centuries. A mere 15 minutes drive will take you to the Grand Paradise or Yuaga Guazu, a nursery dramatically transformed into a large botanical garden. Youll acclaim it a paradise as you stroll amidst the rich flora and fauna of the Amazon, and explore 750 different species of plants including the dizzying Mara hardwood tree, 15 different kinds of palm trees, and many a mango trees. The chirping of birds is the background music youll love to hear forever! Missed something in the garden? Dont worry! Just 3 hours away is the Amboro National Park. It is spread over 1.5 million acres and encompasses parts of the Amazon basin, subtropical forests, temperate woodlands, and the cool mountainous terrain of the Andes. The background music of the chirping of the birds continues here as Amboro is home to some 700 species of birds. Youll be witness to some rare species like the red-fronted macaw, Bolivian recurvebill, and rufous-faced antpitta. Slip into your hiking boots and discover some dark caves and refreshing waterfalls in the interiors of Amboro. Looking for sun and sand? Just 120 km away from Santa Cruz flows the Yapacani river that offers you dazzling beaches. Relax under the sun on a cushion of white sands, or try your luck with a fishhook and bait. Do you enjoy solving puzzles and mysteries? Heres one for you just 2 hrs away from Santa Cruz in the mountain town of Samaipata. Its the natural labyrinth at Chinkana. The 30m deep hole and its Inca carvings are mysteries still unsolved. If you love art and feel like digging deep into Bolivian history, visit the seven 16th and 17th century Jesuit Missions that brilliantly restored and preserved. Your wishes are diverse, and this place can cater to them all! Venture into the woods, enjoy the beaches, solve mysteries, and dig into history; you can do it all around the modern city of Santa Cruz.
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