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Santa Cruz, Bolivia: Hidden Gem? (Data Sheet)
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Papi Rico Online
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Santa Cruz, Bolivia: Hidden Gem? (Data Sheet)
Back in 2009, a German friend of mine, young, easygoing and well travelled, returned from his comprehensive South America tour with a shocking revelation. He had plowed his way through the continent, leaving no stone unturned from Cartagena to Buenos Aires. "Did you pull any 8's? If so, where?", I demanded to know. "Yes, I did, my friend. But I found them all in a place few men would think to look", he replied. "I went to Bolivia. To a place called Santa Cruz", he revealed. From that day Santa Cruz (SCZ) was firmly established on my list of bang mission destinations.

6 years later I had the chance to undertake my own mission to SCZ. Prior to my trip, I parsed the forum in the hope of finding some data. Nothing of significance was written, save for a couple of read-worthy contributions from comrade Jargonaut, who has since gone offline. He described SCZ as "one of the hidden gems of South America", an assessment in line with my German friend's experience. So I took some time to see if SCZ was indeed a place worthy of dozens of pages of discussion on RVF, like Medellin, Lima, or Rio de Janeiro. The question mark in this thread's title implies my verdict: maybe.

SCZ is not like Lima or Manila: you won't kill it by merely arriving and being white & exotic. Concretely, SCZ requires advanced social circle game (plus the requisite Spanish-speaking ability) and a very high tolerance for bullshit (Welcome to Bolivia!). If you speak zero Spanish, rely exclusively on online and/or daytime, or are short on time, try other destinations. In any event, reflect back on your experience as you read this and ask yourself: would I thrive in a place like this? If yes, get on the next plane to SCZ: the amount of model-quality PPC (poosy per capita) there is truly mind-blowing. If not, then avoid it, lest you'd like to surround yourself with ass that you will never tap.

Let me first lay down the main difficulties in executing a SCZ bang mission:

1) Getting there and getting in: Santa Cruz is one of the more isolated South American cities, helping to explain why it is a so-called hidden gem. If arriving to Bolivia from Peru, you would take a bus or flight in from La Paz, Cochabamba, or Sucre. If you're touring Brazil's Pantanal region, your option would be to enter Bolivia through Puerto Quijarro, and take an overnight bus into SCZ. I've seen direct flights to SCZ from Miami, Lima, Sao Paulo, and Asuncion, but these were all outrageously expensive considering their respective distance to cost ratios.

Apart from SCZ's geographic isolation, Bolivia's wonderful government requires tourist visas of citizens of most countries. And in some cases these are not cheap at all: 160 USD for US citizens for a mere 30 days!. Even after taking your official payment, border officers can be money-hungry first-class assholes. If you require a visa, make sure all required documents in order. Holders of EU member-state and most LatAm passports are good to go, however.

I imagine these initial burdens will be enough to eliminate SCZ as a destination for the vast majority of readers contemplating a bang mission in Lat Am. For example, Americans can fly Spirit to poosy paradises in Colombia and Peru for under 200 USD one-way from FLL. And they don't need visas for these countries.

2) City logistics/structure: Provided you're good to go on transport and entrance into Bolivia, it's time to figure out housing and logistics. Similar to certain European cities, SCZ has a ring (anillo) structure with gradually larger rings circling the city's center: September 24 Plaza. For short-term visits, look to settle as closely as possible to the plaza, thereby ensuring yourself proximity to much of the nightlife and sufficient food options.

While SCZ suffers from a severe lack of decent hotel/housing options, you do not have to impress local girls with your pimped out pad (there simply aren't many to be had). If you absolutely cannot accept substandard accommodations, I would check out Senses Hotel (80 USD), which is right on the Plaza. It professes to be 5-star, but is more like a 3.5 by international standards. All other hotels I visited in the center were complete dumps and not cheap at all. I did find one in the center that was sufficiently clean, decently priced, and gave no problems with overnight visitors (PM if interested). Short-term rentals are practically non-existent and AirBnb options are rip-offs. If staying longer term, I would get a place within walking distance of Ventura Mall (4th ring, to be discussed). Taxis are cheap in SCZ: for 1-4 USD you can get anywhere you need to go. I strongly recommend the EasyTaxi App to minimize your risk of getting ripped off or robbed.

Further, as a couple of RVF members commented, the city is not in good shape. Like certain parts of SEA, Bolivians use sidewalks as their waste bins. Thirdhand minibuses from the 1970s fill the streets with perpetual smoke. There are no beaches, no museums, and not many coffee shops/restaurants with service that will not make you want to gouge your eyes out. After hanging around nice areas in Medellin, Lima, and Rio, SCZ's sheer ugliness and lack of things to do by itself stands in the way of my re-visiting the place.

3) Barriers to game: in one sentence, Santa Cruz society is highly insular with an emphasis on traditional dating. SCZ society is run by a small number of landowner families, each of which are constantly vying for relative gains in power, wealth, and influence. Naturally, gossip is rampant and SCZ inhabitants (cruceños) are always up in one another's business. SCZ is a bizarre collection of immigrants from places as disparate as Yugoslavia, Lebanon, and Japan. In practice, this has created some stunning female creatures, but has also contributed to a kind of horizontal segregation whereby ethnic groups continue to live in colonies (e.g. Japanese) or socialize primarily amongst themselves (e.g. Crotian Club) even after gaining political and/or material standing.

The Cruceños' somewhat obnoxious obsession with tradition most burdens us in the area of casual dating. Actually, no such concept exists in cruceño society. In most cases of the Spanish language, you become the boyfriend (novio) of the girl whom you are consistently dating, provided mutual commitment or the appearance thereof. But novio in Cruceño Spanish actually means fiance. The term for boyfriend there is cortejo, meaning "one who courts", because it is presumed that if two young people are publicly dating (e.g. seen together at a restaurant), then they are well on their way to a lifetime of commitment. Thus, high society girls will often require you to go on various group dates, whereat her friends will vet you for worthiness as her suitor.

In view of the above, Tinder and other online dating tools are largely out of the picture. No cruceña of value will risk her precious reputation for some mysterious foreigner she has never seen in person. Yes, you can get a lot of matches, but girls will talk in circles and do everything possible to avoid an actual meeting. The one time I convinced a girl to meet me off Tinder, she came directly to my apt for the bang.

There is an increasing awareness of the backpacking lifestyle and CouchSurfing, and this has led to a rise of white cock-hungry 6's in SCZ. There are also quite a bit of Brazilian exchange student 6's, whom are all very eager to sleep with anyone not Bolivian or Brazilian. But would I travel all the way to SCZ, take out a Bolivian visa, and settle for substandard housing to bang 6's? Most definitely not, so let's re-focus our attention on those model-types.

So you've got the access and you've got the smooth playboy demeanor and Spanish-language ability. So where can you find Santa Cruz's first-tier ass?

Nightlife: places here fall out of favor at an alarming rate. Reading through the 2011 data, I could not recognize a single venue. And I visited 2 decent places that closed within a month of my departure. But as of today's writing, the two hottest places are OGA (next to September 24 plaza) and Pallet (Republiquetas #81). You'll see plenty of 8's and up standing around at tables and sipping whiskey at these 2 places. Bring your A game. Other places in the center worth hitting are Kukaramakara (Warnes/Potosi) and Duda (Florida 228, beware high numbers of gays). In any event, get informed as fast as possible of current hotspots.

Daytime: by far the highest concentration of 8s and up can be found at Ventura Mall (4th ring). Often, girls just go to the mall to do nothing but simply be seen in their latest outfit. If you're presentable, approach one and invite her on an instadate to the Starbucks or Juan Valdez on the first level. She will be taken aback, as it very well could be the first time in her life she has been approached during the day.

I mentioned that restaurant service in Santa Cruz is generally horrendous. The food is also bland in most places. However, the restaurants Jardin de Asia (Tajibos hotel), GOSS (open 24 hours), and Republica all have excellent service and food.

Carnival: If I ever return to Santa Cruz, it will be for Carnival week (Feb or March), which I didn't do this time around. It is basically the one week of the year the entire city gets shitfaced. You sign up for a comparsa (team) and pay the fee (200 - 400 USD), which gives you the right to drinking unlimited beer with a bunch of Bolivians. Relationships are torn apart, reputations are ruined, and paint splatters everywhere. Quite often, otherwise "stable" cortejos will go on break for the duration of carnival. So pretty much anybody participating is fair game.

Conclusion: despite SCZ's great potential for love tourism, there are far too many drawbacks, whether cultural, geographic, or otherwise, for a large-scale RVF invasion. If you're looking for a Lat Am destination that is a bit off the beaten track and doesn't suffer from SCZ's drawbacks, I'd check out Arequipa, Peru.

But if you've got the will, determination, and Latino social circle game, by all means go for it: the top-shelf poon is definitely up for grabs in Santa Cruz.

Reporting on underreported travel destinations: Da Nang (Vietnam), San Salvador (El Salvador), Arequipa (Peru), Santa Cruz (Bolivia)
03-29-2015 02:49 PM
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RE: Santa Cruz, Bolivia: Hidden Gem? (Data Sheet)
(03-29-2015 02:49 PM)Papi Rico Wrote:  SCZ is a bizarre collection of immigrants from places as disparate as Yugoslavia, Lebanon, and Japan. In practice, this has created some stunning female creatures

Damn, I can only imagine. Mix that with the native and Latin stock, and you've got a prescription for some of the most unbearably luscious pussy in the world. I'm fully convinced of what you say about it, sight unseen.

Excellent post, and I hope someone here is in a position to take advantage of it.

same old shit, sixes and sevens Shaft...
03-29-2015 03:24 PM
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RE: Santa Cruz, Bolivia: Hidden Gem? (Data Sheet)
Pics of Bolivian girls?

90% of bolivians I've meet look like evo morales.

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Game is the difference between a broke average looking dude in a 2nd tier city turning bad bitch feminists into maids and fucktoys and a well to do lawyer with 50x the dough taking 3 dates to bang broads in philly.
03-29-2015 03:29 PM
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RE: Santa Cruz, Bolivia: Hidden Gem? (Data Sheet)
(03-29-2015 03:24 PM)The Lizard of Oz Wrote:  Damn, I can only imagine. Mix that with the native and Latin stock, and you've got a prescription for some of the most unbearably luscious pussy in the world. I'm fully convinced of what you say about it, sight unseen.

Excellent post, and I hope someone here is in a position to take advantage of it.

Thanks man, and I too encourage the right guys to go down there and kill it.

Quote:Pics of Bolivian girls?

Here's a link to the facebook page of the venue I cited: OGA. This place will give you an idea of what you can see on a night out in Santa Cruz.

Quote:90% of bolivians I've meet look like evo morales.

That's because close to 2/3 of Bolivia's population is indigenous.

But there's more to Bolivia beyond the Altiplano, just like there's more to Brazil beyond the Amazon. Different human populations thrive in different environments [see Guns, Germ, and Steel by Jared Diamond].

By the way, even La Paz has some nice looking fair-skinned mestizas and full Europeans. Most of them live in the city's south zone, well beyond the reach of most backpackers.

Reporting on underreported travel destinations: Da Nang (Vietnam), San Salvador (El Salvador), Arequipa (Peru), Santa Cruz (Bolivia)
(This post was last modified: 03-29-2015 04:16 PM by Papi Rico.)
03-29-2015 03:52 PM
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RE: Santa Cruz, Bolivia: Hidden Gem? (Data Sheet)
Through the graces of What's App, I can attest to some of the talent Papi Rico claims to have graced with his presence in Santa Cruz. I was truly baffled when he told me the chicks were Bolivian.

Would a Cusco to Sucre to Santa Cruz to Asuncion trip be ideal, sans the high visa fees in Bolivia and Paraguay (involved in a larger Lima to Rio trip)?

Also, another great report man!
03-29-2015 10:24 PM
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RE: Santa Cruz, Bolivia: Hidden Gem? (Data Sheet)
I am skeptical about Santa Cruz, because if someone said all you need to do well ....is social circle game, then why would SC be better, [/u]than Belo Horizonte, Buenos Aires or Belgrade.
Social circle game is the hardest and most complicated.
03-29-2015 10:42 PM
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RE: Santa Cruz, Bolivia: Hidden Gem? (Data Sheet)
SC may be a good place to find a traditional, marriage material woman. I was there a few years back, just for a day and a half since I needed to catch a flight out of Bolivia. I second everything papi rico wrote about the city being run down and boring, but with some stunners. This shocked me even more than one would expect, since I had come on an overnight bus from La Paz.

(03-29-2015 10:24 PM)MasculineProfiles Wrote:  Would a Cusco to Sucre to Santa Cruz to Asuncion trip be ideal, sans the high visa fees in Bolivia and Paraguay (involved in a larger Lima to Rio trip)?

I hope, for your own sake, that you're looking into flights, not buses. From Cuzco until you come down from the Altiplano nearing Santa Cruz you're travelling through some of the highest mountain roads on Earth. Then comes the sweltering heat and humidity of Eastern Bolivia, so you're waking up sweating bullets after falling asleep with your coat on since it's quite chilly at 4000m. Last but not least comes dry, desertic Chaco once you're near the Paraguayan border, almost the whole way to Asuncion. If you're on a bus there, bring plenty of water and pray to god your vehicle doesn't break down.

But wait, there's more!

Cuzco to La Paz is an overnight bus (over 10 hours), as is La Paz to Santa Cruz. Sucre is off in the mountains to the South, out of the way if you're going straight La Paz-SCZ, so going there doesn't save any time. Tack on another overnighter if you decide to see the capital. Santa Cruz to Asuncion is 18 hours, it's flat, but hot as balls. That's plus border controls in the night, stops for food, toilet, pickups, dropoffs, people coming on to sell you food, water, etc. It's doable, but rough. Keep in mind you probably won't be feeling 100% to begin with due to food/water issues, motion sickness, difficulty sleeping on a bus, stress of travel, etc. Also there's certainly a risk of having your bags stolen or stolen from while you're asleep.

Personally, having been to Bolivia, I see no reason to return. Even without having to pay the outrageous visa fee, and speaking fluent Spanish, it was not an enjoyable place for me. There are so many other places on the continent that are easier to access, cleaner, more interesting, and overall better places to spend your finite time on this planet. Santa Cruz also has endemic malaria, unlike the Andean region's highlands, which is another negative you may want to consider.

Having said that, Santa Cruz does have some fine ass and is the only place in the country that I would consider returning to at this point.

A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.

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(This post was last modified: 03-29-2015 11:58 PM by getdownonit.)
03-29-2015 11:34 PM
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RE: Santa Cruz, Bolivia: Hidden Gem? (Data Sheet)
(03-29-2015 11:34 PM)getdownonit Wrote:  I hope, for your own sake, that you're looking into flights, not buses. From Cuzco until you come down from the Altiplano nearing Santa Cruz you're travelling through some of the highest mountain roads on Earth. Then comes the sweltering heat and humidity of Eastern Bolivia, then dry, desertic Chaco once you're near the Paraguayan border, almost the whole way to Asuncion. If you're on a bus there, pray to god your vehicle doesn't break down.

Cuzco to La Paz is an overnight bus (over 10 hours), as is La Paz to Santa Cruz. Sucre is off in the mountains to the South, out of the way if you're going straight La Paz-SCZ, so going there doesn't save any time. Then SCZ to Asuncion is 18 hours. That's plus border controls in the night, stops for food, toilet, pickups, dropoffs, people coming on to sell you food, water, etc. It's doable, but rough. Keep in mind you probably won't be feeling 100% to begin with due to food/water issues, motion sickness, difficulty sleeping on a bus, stress of travel, etc. Also there's certainly a risk of having your bags stolen or stolen from while you're asleep.
Thats very true, people usually go from santa cruz to asuncion going through argentina first. The road (if you can call it a road) is shit.
Why would anyone even want to come to this place?

Also im sorry but im not buying this hidden gem in bolivia thing. Just because 1 in 10000 girls is hot and the rest are indigenous people with barely any teeth doesnt make any trip worthwhile.
03-29-2015 11:51 PM
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RE: Santa Cruz, Bolivia: Hidden Gem? (Data Sheet)
(03-29-2015 11:51 PM)dog24 Wrote:  Thats very true, people usually go from santa cruz to asuncion going through argentina first. The road (if you can call it a road) is shit.
Why would anyone even want to come to this place?

I suppose you could go through Argentina, but that would entail actually getting to the south of Bolivia, which is another overnight bus from SCZ, then cross the empty Argentine Chaco to get to Asuncion. There are a few places to check out in northwestern Argentina, around Salta and Jujuy, though I haven't been to that region. From there to Asuncion is just as empty as the northern half of Paraguay and quite far away.

(03-29-2015 11:51 PM)dog24 Wrote:  Also im sorry but im not buying this hidden gem in bolivia thing. Just because 1 in 10000 girls is hot and the rest are indigenous people with barely any teeth doesnt make any trip worthwhile.

Bolivia is definitely not a hidden gem, but within Bolivia, SCZ is a shining beacon of hope. The indigenous peoples are just so unattractive that a city full of mestizas, with a very different vibe, climate, and culture that feels almost Brazilian hits you instantly upon arrival. I certainly don't think the women there are the hottest in Latin America, but no question they're way, way above anything else you'll find in Bolivia.

If anyone is actually interested in going, you can find flights within the next few weeks from NYC for $655 or Miami from $560. Godspeed.

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(This post was last modified: 03-30-2015 12:09 AM by getdownonit.)
03-30-2015 12:08 AM
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RE: Santa Cruz, Bolivia: Hidden Gem? (Data Sheet)
Another rock solid Papi Rico datasheet

Looking forward to the next LatAm installment...

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03-30-2015 02:37 AM
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RE: Santa Cruz, Bolivia: Hidden Gem? (Data Sheet)
(03-30-2015 12:08 AM)getdownonit Wrote:  Bolivia is definitely not a hidden gem, but within Bolivia, SCZ is a shining beacon of hope. The indigenous peoples are just so unattractive that a city full of mestizas, with a very different vibe, climate, and culture that feels almost Brazilian hits you instantly upon arrival. I certainly don't think the women there are the hottest in Latin America, but no question they're way, way above anything else you'll find in Bolivia.

Thanks for saving me all kinds of time with your responses. I won't be addressing any more comments or questions related to Bolivia's demographics.

Also, great tips regarding transport. Let me propose an itinerary that includes SCZ to my boy MP and any others interested.

Backpacker Circuit

Cusco/Arequipa -> Puno (bus)
Puno -> Copacabana (bus)
Copacabana -> La Paz (bus)
La Paz -> Santa Cruz (flight)
Santa Cruz -> Sucre (flight)
Sucre -> Potosi -> Oruro -> La paz (buses)
Then back to Peru

This requires time, as does incorporating North Argentina/Paraguay in your trip. I would be a big fan of hitting Asuncion, SCZ, and second tier Brazilian cities in parana and santa catarina states all on the same trip. Again, you would need time and willingness to take an overnight bus or two. But the payoff is that this a fascinating and under explored part of the world.

Reporting on underreported travel destinations: Da Nang (Vietnam), San Salvador (El Salvador), Arequipa (Peru), Santa Cruz (Bolivia)
(This post was last modified: 03-30-2015 09:42 AM by Papi Rico.)
03-30-2015 09:41 AM
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RE: Santa Cruz, Bolivia: Hidden Gem? (Data Sheet)
(03-29-2015 10:42 PM)chochemonger1 Wrote:  I am skeptical about Santa Cruz, because if someone said all you need to do well ....is social circle game, then why would SC be better, [/u]than Belo Horizonte, Buenos Aires or Belgrade.
Social circle game is the hardest and most complicated.

Santa Cruz (pop. 1m) is like a small town with gossip rampant and everybody knowing one another. Social circle game is unquestionably more important in such contexts than in LatAm megacities like BA and Belo Horizonte.

Belgrade's population may be similar, but Serbia's income gap isn't nearly as extreme as Bolivia's. Hence you have less of a small town mentality in Belgrade.

The more intense the "small town" mindset, the more important is social circle game.

And I would never claim it's "all you need". Overall presentation is equally as important, but in this case, anywhere in the world.

Reporting on underreported travel destinations: Da Nang (Vietnam), San Salvador (El Salvador), Arequipa (Peru), Santa Cruz (Bolivia)
03-30-2015 09:53 AM
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RE: Santa Cruz, Bolivia: Hidden Gem? (Data Sheet)
(03-30-2015 09:41 AM)Papi Rico Wrote:  Thanks for saving me all kinds of time with your responses. I won't be addressing any more comments or questions related to Bolivia's demographics.

Also, great tips regarding transport. Let me propose an itinerary that includes SCZ to my boy MP and any others interested.

Thanks for the extensive datasheet.

I'm posting the link to the nightclub again:
https://www.facebook.com/ogabolivia/photos_stream
These are mixed Bolivians.

(03-30-2015 09:41 AM)Papi Rico Wrote:  Backpacker Circuit

Cusco/Arequipa -> Puno (bus)
Puno -> Copacabana (bus)
Copacabana -> La Paz (bus)
La Paz -> Santa Cruz (flight)
Santa Cruz -> Sucre (flight)
Sucre -> Potosi -> Oruro -> La paz (buses)
Then back to Peru

This requires time, as does incorporating North Argentina/Paraguay in your trip. I would be a big fan of hitting Asuncion, SCZ, and second tier Brazilian cities in parana and santa catarina states all on the same trip. Again, you would need time and willingness to take an overnight bus or two. But the payoff is that this a fascinating and under explored part of the world.

I would suggest, if you have the time, something like this route, depending on what you want to see:

[Image: Screen_Shot_2015_03_30_at_11_31_00_AM.png]

This route gets you more interesting places and avoids the Chaco. It would be easy to stop at places along the route: Titicaca, Sucre, Rosario, Misiones, Asuncion, Sao Paulo, 2nd and 3rd tiers... You could optionally hit up Santiago and fly to BsAs, or take the ferry to Uruguay and head to Iguazu through southern Brasil.

A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance.

A true friend is the most precious of all possessions and the one we take the least thought about acquiring.
03-30-2015 10:38 AM
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RE: Santa Cruz, Bolivia: Hidden Gem? (Data Sheet)
I can vouch for a lot of things in this thread. I've been all over Bolivia in 2011.
Horrible busrides in Bolivia (and from there to Paraguay)- check
Santa Cruz feels like a small town - check
Bad and little housing options - check
Not many bars and clubs - check
Good looking Brazilian chicks around - check
Need Spanish skills - check

If you're planning to game, I'd advise against visiting Santa Cruz. There are far better options around. Asunción in Paraguay for example.

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03-30-2015 01:09 PM
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