Spicy, seductive Cochabamba and Torotoro Park

7 September 2023


Fancy a delicious, spicy Pique Macho? Then head to Cochabamba, where the famous Bolivian dish was created in the 1970s! As well as the vast choice of local specialities, considered to be the best in the country, Thaki Voyage also takes you to discover a bustling metropolis in the heart of the mountainous Central Highlands region.

Renowned for its mild, temperate climate, Cochabamba joins the list of eternal spring cities where life is pleasant. So, after the Urkupiña Virgin Festival in August, come and enjoy a little more peace and quiet in September to meet the Cochabambinos, who will be delighted to show you their gastronomic and cultural heritage.

Cochabamba and the surrounding area are full of surprises, including Torotoro Park, where dinosaurs once roamed. Travel back in time during this dynamic holiday, just like the sunny city itself!

Cochabamba, from past to present...

At an altitude of 2,570 metres, the city is lower than Bolivia’s other metropolises. In fact, Cochabamba was built in a basin, surrounded by hills and fields. Its name comes from the Quechua language: khocha pampa, which means “marshy plain”.

Although its name refers to a marshy area, it is above all a very fertile land, as the city’s past history testifies!

Founded in 1574 by Sebastián Barba de Padilla, the valley around the town and its pastures became the main source of food for the miners of Cerro Rico during the heyday of silver mining in Potosí. Our article for February is devoted to this part of Bolivian history and the decline of Potosí and Cochabamba.

Since the mid-19th century, the metropolis has flourished. Today, it is one of the most prosperous cities in the country, with its wide avenues, shopping streets, markets and delicious restaurants and bars that attract gourmets and local Bolivian youth!

The friendly locals are attached to their values. Perhaps you’ve already heard of them? Their actions were highlighted during the water war in the 2000s. Numerous demonstrations were organised to protest against the rising price of water and its privatisation. The film También la lluvia brilliantly recounts this event and the beginning of the decade in Cochabamba.

You can't leave Cochabamba without seeing...

… El Cristo de la Concordia: “33 años y un poquito” as it’s nicknamed by the locals! If you thought that the tallest Christ in South America was the Christ Redentor in Rio de Janeiro, Thaki Voyage regrets to inform you that the Cristo de la Concordia surpasses it! Standing 33 metres high to symbolise the age of Christ’s death, the immaculately white statue towers 2800 metres above the city on the Cerro de San Pedro!

So set off to meet it, on foot for the bravest or by cable car; either way, you’ll be dazzled by the view over the Cochabamba valley and its metropolis.

Get your feet back on the ground, but keep dreaming with your eyes open as you explore the city centre. Don’t miss the many churches and the cathedral on Plaza 14 de Septiembre, considered to be the oldest religious building in the region.

In the heart of fascinating Cochabamba, take an interest in the yellow mansion that will remind you of your time in Europe. Recognisable at first glance, el Palacio Portales was the property of Simón Patiño, a tin baron. This testimony to Bolivia’s golden age has Spanish, Italian and French influences, as the materials used in its construction were imported from these countries, hence its European style.

Between two discoveries and before resuming your culturally frenzied race, stop off for a refreshing drink, the chicha, a Pique Macho or a succulent Silpancho in the capital of Bolivian gastronomy. You can get your mouth watering by reading our November 2022 article on the subject!

Finally, head to the city’s various museums, particularly the Archaeological Museum, which offers a magnificent overview of the country’s different cultures.

History and archaeology buffs will find plenty to interest them here, as well as in the Cochabamba region, which is a veritable paradise from every point of view.

A timeless excursion: focus on the treasures of Cochabamba

Get away from the deafening noise of the city and take the road to the Cochabamba valley. The archaeological site of Incallajta and its Inca ruins are far less well known than the site of Machu Picchu in Peru, but they are no less fascinating.

Two hours from Cochabamba, you’ll find the country’s most important remains, those of a city that was both a military fortress and a political centre. It’s a must-see when you come to visit us.

And your journey back in time doesn’t stop there, as Thaki Voyage invites you to immerse yourself in the environment in which the dinosaurs lived during an excursion to Torotoro National Park. It’s one of the oldest sites in the country!

Your trip will turn into a real geology lesson: clay, sandstone, limestone, it’s time to follow in the footsteps of thousands of dinosaur tracks and marine fossils over 300 million years old!

Wild and isolated, you can also recharge your batteries in the region’s immense national parks, including Tunari National Park, perfect for hikers! At Thaki Voyage we’re passionate about trekking and adventure, which is why we take you along Bolivia’s trails, whether urban or rural.

Art, history and culture await you in Cochabamba, and let yourself be intoxicated by its gastronomy and charm. It’s your turn to leave your mark on this fertile land, with a thousand and one stories to hear and tell. Thaki Voyage hopes to share its love of these landscapes and much more with you… ¡ Hasta pronto!

Mathilde Leroux