Updated: Jul 17
The department (state) of Santa Cruz occupies almost the entire Eastern and South Eastern section of Bolivia and is the largest of the country's nine departments. It borders Brazil to the East and Paraguay to the South and is mostly tropical and sub-tropical containing parts of the amazon basin and rainforest to the North, desert-dry forest Savannah's to the South, and the temperate foothills of the Andes Mountain range to the West. You can truly enjoy any type of climate or topography somewhere in Santa Cruz. Here, agriculture, animal husbandry and ranching are the main industries, as are timber, mining, oil and natural gas.
The department of Santa Cruz has the second largest population with 2,655,084 people, but has the largest city in Bolivia called Santa Cruz de la Sierra. The people from this department are nicknamed Cruzeños. This department is also home to the world's largest butterfly sanctuary and is a spectacular place to spend some time while you're in Bolivia's beautiful tropical region. Santa Cruz is really diverse with less indigenous residents, very modern with big chains of American-style restaurants and shopping malls.
I had the opportunity to visit Santa Cruz and see for myself what the city was really like. I enjoyed my time there and it was great to attend a church that is preaching the Gospel! However, the need there is still great. The people are religious, but lost. Pray for Santa Cruz and that there would be more churches planted all through out department.