The city of Cochabamba is located in the center of Bolivia and has about 1.115.000 inhabitants, if we also consider the metropolitan area, at an altitude of 2560 m.a.s.l. This is not uncommon around here if we think that La Paz, the seat of government, is located at an altitude of 3660 m above sea level and there are more than 1.000.000 people living there.
It has earned the nickname of the city of eternal spring, with its average temperature of 25-Celsius degrees all year round.
Things to do: Make your visit to Cochabamba unforgettable
On the top of a hill, a few minutes from the city center is a giant statue 40.44 meters high depicting a Christ, very similar to the most famous one in Rio de Janeiro, but larger since the Brazilian reaches only 38.10 meters.
A comfortable funicular takes you to the top in about 5 minutes but you can also walk up and down the 1399 steps.
Once you get to the top you will enjoy a 360-degree view of the "Llajta", which in the indigenous Quechua language (still spoken by many) means "city".
This is the main square of the city, in colonial style still well preserved, houses the Cathedral of San Sebastian dating from the early 1700s
If you want you can sit for hours watching the passage of families, friends who meet on a bench to chat, sellers of food and drinks, preachers, singers, breakdance and especially dozens of people who feed the hundreds of pigeons that help to make the square even more lively.
Another interesting square is Plaza Colón where you can start a walk on the Prado, a tree-lined pedestrian avenue in the center where you can meet several restaurants of local and foreign cuisine.
Going to see the fabulous and colorful markets and walking aimlessly through the stalls of one of the largest "mercados" of Latin America called "La Cancha": born as a market of food vendors who gathered around a football field to sell their culinary creations, is now a giant sales square with more than 10,000 sellers. Open every day, you'll find everything and even more: from a thousand types of loose pasta in large bags to the 4K LCD TV, from cow's hearts to bicycles, from shoelaces to local craftsmanship.
And if you are in town on Saturday, I suggest you take a trip to the "Mercado Campesino del Sur" in the south part, where you will be overwhelmed by the colors and scents of fruits and vegetables that expose the wholesale sellers.
Don't miss a ride in one of the mythical Micros. The typical public transport in Cochabamba is an old American school bus painted and decorated in an exuberant and attractive way from which you can hop on and hop off whenever and wherever you want, without stops or schedules. This is definitely one of my favorite activities to do in the city.
There are so many of them and most of them depict the daily life of Bolivians, local traditions but sometimes also their difficulties. A tour company https://bikearttour.com/ offers a very interesting tour by bicycle, where you can explore the city to discover the graffiti and their meaning, cycling in areas outside of the usual tourist circuit.
Immerse yourself in the history of the region by visiting the archaeological museum of the University Mayor de San Simón. In a simple but detailed way, we explain what has happened in this area, from the age of the dinosaurs to the present day, through well-preserved finds. You will see fossils dating back millions of years, weapons and mummies of the ancient Incas found in the nearby ruins of Incallajta, a fortress that can still be visited and is still well preserved, which is 4 hours from the city. More information about this can be found in the section "What to visit around Cochabamba, outside the city".
Home to more than a hundred different species of birds is located in the south of the city and is also reachable thanks to about 10 km of cycle path that starts from the north allowing cyclists to see from a different angle and safely a piece of the city.
It is staged every night in the "Parque Acuatico", one of the many parks in the city. Remaining on the theme of parks I recommend a walk to the "Jardin Botanico", very nice and well kept, it is worth seeing it, maybe to come across a photo shoot of a wedding or a graduation. Watch out for the schedule because it closes early enough in the afternoon.
This is a fixed menu lunch at a cost of $2 or $3 and you can find it in almost every restaurant in Cochabamba. It always consists of soup as an entrance, a main dish with a side dish and dessert.
You will be able to say that you have tasted the local cuisine, which is very important since this city is considered the gastronomic capital of Bolivia. “Sillpancho” (a steak breaded with rice underneath and a fried egg on top) "Pique Macho" (a mix of meat, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, various vegetables, ketchup, and mayonnaise) and Sopa de Maní ( peanut soap) are the main protagonists of the Cochabamba cuisine.
Stop for dinner at one of the many stands where you can try street food: Very interesting is the fact that there are stalls selling both traditional and international cuisine (Asian, Mexican, Italian, burgers...) served in modern food trucks of all kinds.
The food here is taken very seriously!
Written by: Alex Brandino
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