Santa Cruz's lush botanical gardens, 12km east of the city center, make for a tranquil escape from the urban scene. Covering more than 200 hectares, the gardens feature woodland trails, a lake, a cactarium (cactus garden) and plenty of exotic plants. Climb the wooden viewing platform for vistas across the treetop canopy to the city skyline. The gardens are teeming with wildlife, too; look out for tortoises and sloths.
To get here, take the green minibus marked Cotoca from the corner of Suárez Arana and Barrón and ask the driver to drop you at the entrance to the Jardín Botánico (B$2.50, 25 minutes).