The 4 Most Popular Santa Cruz Legends

Among the main legends of Santa Cruz (Bolivia) stand out the Jichi, the guajojo and the widow. Santa Cruz is the department with the largest territory in that nation, as it occupies 33.74% of the land. It is located in the southeastern third of the country and concentrates some 2,600,000 inhabitants.

Currently, it is the most industrialized region of Bolivia, which is why it has the highest per capita income in the nation, a high population growth rate that places it in the 14th position of the cities with the fastest growth in the entire country. world.


The legends of Santa Cruz portray dark beings, with imprecise features that are rarely seen. Source:

Although it is the industrial and economic center of the Andean nation, it harbors in its entrails a rural past full of mysticism and traditions that are still quite present today.

An example of this are the legends of the idiosyncrasy of the “cambas”, as the inhabitants of Santa Cruz are known. Through these stories, the people of this region have explained events that occurred a long time ago.

In general, the legends deal with events with a great supernatural charge, impregnated with mystery, with touches of miracle and fantasy, but which at the same time keep an important degree of credibility granted by the cultural roots of the story, and because they refer to very distant moments over time, so for many residents it is difficult to refute them.

Main legends of Santa Cruz

The knowledge and analysis of the collection of legends will allow to learn about the culture of a people, since it is possible to identify their deepest feelings, as well as to know their desires and fears.

It is also a way to find clues about their religiosity, their relationship with their environment and their self-perception. Below we describe the main legends of Santa Cruz:

The guajojo

The daughter of the chief of a tribe who lived in a clearing in the jungle was a young, beautiful and charming Indian girl, who was deeply in love with a young man from the same tribe.

The boy was handsome, tender, and with the best of heart, attributes that were far from those of a warrior. The young man reciprocated the love of the chief’s daughter.

One day, the old chief learned of such an affair and was convinced that the boy was not worthy of his daughter. Making use of his power and his gifts as a sorcerer, he convinced the boy to accompany him to the deepest part of the earth; there he ended his life.

As the days went by, the girl could no longer bear the disappearance of her boyfriend and set out to look for him. In the middle of his search he came across the terrible evidence of the crime. On returning to the village, he confronted his father and threatened him that he would give notice of such an abominable act to the entire tribe.

To avoid the scandal, the chief used his magic and turned his daughter into a night owl who preserved the plaintive voice of the indiecita who night after night laments the murder of her love. This bird is the well-known guajojo.

The lantern of the afterlife

In the middle of the dark alleys of the beginning of the last century the word spread with moving stories about a lantern that wandered floating, making everything shine with its fire and in the deepest silence.

It is known that this lantern had a zigzagging little flame inside and that perhaps it came from the depths of the Chapel, which simply levitated, allowing itself to be seen by those wayward souls who were out partying in the middle of the darkness, or among those who were awake with no positive end.

The lantern of the afterlife scared them and made them run in order to teach them. Some men or women of good faith were emboldened to run into the fire, but just by seeing it, even from a distance, they ran away in terror.

It was said that if someone with a fair conscience came across the lamp, nothing bad would happen to him. At dawn the lantern returned to the depths from which it had come, with the same silence.

The Jichi

It is said that many years ago water was not abundant in the region and that, in addition, in periods of drought it was almost impossible to find a well. This is why the first settlers, the aborigines, insisted on taking care of it at any cost and assigned its custody to a natural being whom they baptized the Jichi.

This mythical being does not resemble any animal, it has a body similar to that of a snake and that of a saurian at the same time. Its appearance is like rubber, it is very flexible and translucent, so it hides very well at the bottom of wells, puddles and other pools of water.

This elusive being is not seen often, but lives hidden at the bottom of the water. If it is sighted, it will be when the sun is almost falling.

Jichi must be worshiped and offered to keep him happy. In addition, you have to take care of each water reservoir, administer it carefully and be very fond of it, because otherwise the liquid will begin to disappear because the animal has been offended and has left there.

The widow

In many cultures the ladies whose husband has died are called “widows”, but in the tradition of Santa Cruz there is a woman who is sympathetically called “the widow.”

Although this image ceased to appear many years ago, it is still said that the widow made certain men run in fear at night, looking for ill-gotten feminine favors or partying.

Although no one ever saw her face because she was covered by a shawl, she was always in closed mourning with a wide skirt from the old days and a very tight bodice, to highlight her well-endowed chest.

Faced with this ghostly image, the men who wandered came out terrified and took the path of good judgment.


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  8. “Tourism in Santa Cruz de la Sierra” in Bolivia Tourism. Recovered July 24 in Bolivia Tourism:

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