We have been waiting for a few days to leave Sucre. The buses can’t pass through the roads that are blocked by 100 trucks or more. This has been going on for some time now, as I later discover.
We manage to get a great deal with BOA – a new airline here in Bolivia. I wake early and pack, but online check-in and internet problems cause us to delay. We then wait for the taxi and as we head for the airport, we get stuck in traffic behind a truck. But then better than blocked by 100 trucks on a road out of the city I realize.
I am now so stressed as this is the one flight we could get to Santa Cruz de la Sierra, and I fear we will miss it. But to our relief we are OK.
Also, we have too much luggage even though I had bought an extra bag yesterday.
We queue up at the airport, and it is apparently busier than usual as flights are the only way out. Our line up to the desk is blocked by many eager passengers, and I stress we will not get our flight.
When we get to the desk there are no worries, as the friendly staff doesn’t even check out bag weight.
We walk towards the plane, but suddenly an airport groundsman steps forward and we are blocked by a petrol tanker coming through. It is only a brief delay and we are free to go.
We are in a bit of a shock when we arrive at Santa Cruz de la Sierra even though we are still in Bolivia.
A Long And Hot Way
Firstly we discover that the airport at Santa Cruz is a long way out of town. Then we also discover the hostel is a long way out of town too.
What have we done, I ask myself? It is so hot too, but at least we are now out of Sucre.
As soon as we are in, Explorason strips off and he is happy in the cool room having a rest. I notice how skinny he still is from being ill and as a mother I will make sure he gets lots of rest and healthy food.
Swimming Pool And Jacuzzi
But we chose Hostelling International as it has a good report on the facilities, and it also has a spa and pool. We book the most expensive private room we have yet checked into. There is, however, no private bathroom, and the room is pretty tiny too. We miss our lovely spacious room in Sucre.
I hope my son uses that pool a lot! But I am sure he will, as it really IS hot!
Clean And Modern
I love the fact that the hostel is very modern, super clean, and the guests are friendly. We meet a lovely couple in the outdoor lounge area.
My son enjoys the outdoor space, while I catch up on emails. We still do not have our funds back from our skimmed credit card and it is nearly 3 months ago – and it is very frustrating. This means I can’t book nicer accommodation, and I have to watch every amount we spend.
Children In Hostels
Having a child in a hostel can be tricky sometimes, but here we seem to have hit the jackpot. We have a lovely walkway to the back rooms and it is quiet and away from the party places in the hostel.
I am able to do all our washing here, and there is an undercover area to hang it, so this is great too.
It is away from where guests gather for BBQ and drinks at night. We might join them for a BBQ but not late night drinks.
One of the great things they have is a neat kitchen. In it, there is a cupboard where you can leave any food you no longer need after your stay. Someone has left a half a jar of Vegemite! We are so excited since our Vegemite (an iconic Australian spread) was confiscated at US customs when we first arrived in Hawaii. My sister had even tried to send us some to Panama, but the postal service returned it. We have even walked the streets of Chicago at New Year to try and get some more.
So this is such a treat! We make sandwiches for lunch. My son insists on 4 slices of toast and Vegemite for breakfast. As it is full of vitamin B I think this will help him in his quest for health and vitality.
How Low Do You Go?
One thing that mystifies me is the toilet roll. I understand they don’t want it to get wet but why is it so far from the toilet and so low? It is quite a feat to reach the paper whilst still on the toilet.
Walking To Town
We decide to walk into the old part of town. Along the way, we pass a girl with the longest hair! We have a chat with them and it is nice to meet other traveling families.
We try to head down a side street but it is blocked by barricades, so we have to turn back.
This is our only day here and the weather has turned foul. We haven’t bought rain jackets or a knapsack cover with us today. So we hide out in a café and have a fab cappuccino. I feel like I am back in Adelaide, Australia and we like the relaxed and modern feel this city has.
Gone are the traditionally dressed ladies, the market stalls, and the cheap food and the colonial feel we had in Sucre.
Here coffee and cake is the same price as Australia, and it is targeted to the wealthier folk.
Catedral de Santa Cruz Bell Tower
We do find a lovely town square and see a fun guy being interviewed for TV.
The square has a bell tower you can climb t the side of Catedral de Santa Cruz, so up we go. We then discover that it costs a total of $2.50 for both of us to climb one of them. The tower we select has a lovely little shop downstairs. We get a great view over the city, but it is a shame about the cage wire.
The rain forces everyone inside but my boy decides the pigeons need a bit of attention. It is a shame as right before this photo, about 100 took off. I was not fast enough with the camera. But those are memory moments – clicked forever only by the blink of an eye.
I really loved the buildings in this area. Some had restaurants inside too. This one was lovely…. right on the side of the square. Siesta had kicked in – even on a rainy day and so the town was half dead.
This coconut tree had a sculpture of a monkey with a baby on the trunk. Quite a classy city we think as these are the little things to look for. Well spotted by Explorason.
We wandered through town as we needed a keyboard for my sons iPad mini. After a while, we find a shopping center. Inside we are shocked to find about 200 stores – all with technology. There are mainly phones and phone accessories, but still many are for computers.
It felt like this is Bangkok or Hong Kong. Floor after floor of technology, and not at all what we expect to find in Bolivia. Finally, we found two stores and realized we were getting tourist prices and we needed to haggle. So YES, you can barter in Santa Cruz technology stores 🙂
We give up shopping after a while as it’s getting late and still rainy.
So much for having a hostel with a pool. We walked home to the hostel via the lovely flowering square.
Grabbing some food at the local store (which by the way was about the same price as that of a huge supermarket we went to the night before) and we wander back to the hostel.
We found a great bottle of red wine Kohlberg for $3 which awesome! We can’t buy too much food as we travel onward tomorrow.
Fun With Other Guests
Tonight we had a great time. I meet so many lovely Israelis as I cooked dinner and we chat around the stovetop. I can imagine what it would be like visiting Israel. My son was made to feel like a star with the attention he gets from the Israeli guys. When his ball is blocked by another, they let him climb on the table to take shots. They lift him up, and give him second chances, and cheer him on and the laughter is just beautiful. It really is nice and I give them ten points for their effort. From this Mum to you, thank you!
This again has been another hostel that has been great for my son. Hostels can be great places for kids to stay at, so if you are traveling as either a single parent family or as a family, you might find they are worth booking.
If you are reading this and considering travel with a child. There are many safe ways to go about it. I have discovered that hostels are wonderful. Many have safe and enclosed areas. Free computers and really you avoid the loneliness. This has been the case for me, despite being older.
You also get to talk to people about what to see and do.
Forget hotels if you are on a budget unless you want one that might be way out of town, or not as clean as you like, plus you can be very alone. Hostels are wonderful for meeting people of all ages and having fun.
Not all, but most are very clean, often quirky, and affordable.
Questions And Comments
If you are a family, do you only ever stay at hotels and resorts, or do you stay at hostels also?
What do you like or dislike about them?
For us, who are usually luxury travel writers, why do you think we would select this as an alternative?