For those visiting Bolivia, Cochabamba is not a popular stop. In fact, many foreigners have never heard of it. Though we were only in Cochabamba for a short amount of time, we found the large city surprisingly wonderful. There are lots of amazing experiences to be had in and around this city, and it left us wishing we had more time to explore. Of the many options, here are five great things to do in Cochabamba.
1. Visit Cristo de la Concordia
High up on a hilltop, Cristo de la Concordia sits overlooking Cochabamba. This is one of the largest statues of Christ in the world. Whether you want to take the gondola, hike to the top, or take a taxi, this attraction is easy to reach and makes for a great half-day activity.
The view of the city from the grounds surrounding Cristo de la Concordia is beautiful. On Sundays, you can climb up into the statue to see the city from and even higher viewpoint.
2. Watch the colorful water show at Parque de la Familia
After being constantly on the go, it was nice to be able to take it easy at Parque de la Familia. This wasn’t the most exciting of things to do in Cochabamba, but the water show was cool and we enjoy experiencing local hangout spots.
Every day (except Monday) the park lights up at night with vibrant water features. Families gather to play in the fountains, grab a snack, and watch the water show. The Aguas Danzantes show is a short display of shooting water and video projections that starts each night at 8 p.m.
3. Lose yourself in the grand Mercado la Cancha
La Cancha is one of the largest markets in South America! From fresh fruits and tasty street food to animals and clothing, you can find anything you would need and more here. The market can be a good spot to find some unique souvenirs, so brush up on your bargaining skills. Whether you are planning to shop or not, this is a great place to get a taste of local life.
4. Wander the city by foot
Cochabamba has so many beautiful parks, street murals, historic buildings, and other attractions that make for a great full-day adventure. Visit Palacio Portales if you enjoy history. You can take a tour of the mansion for 20 Bolivianos to learn more about it and the history of mining in the area, or you can wander the lush gardens for free. Another great tour can be found at the Convento de Santa Theresa for 20 Bolivianos as well.
While out and about, keep an eye open for the many colorful murals in Cochabamba. You can find them on foot or take an art bike tour to learn more about the pieces. Click here for a map of the mural locations. When your feet grow weary, find a bench under a tree in one of the city’s many parks. Plaza 14 de Septiembre is a beautiful spot to relax and people watch and is considered the center of town.
End the day at La Recoletta, an urban part of town that boasts incredible restaurants, malls and theaters, bowling alleys and arcades, awesome nightlife spots, and more.
5. Enjoy the beauty surrounding Cochabamba at Parque Pairumani
Cochabamba is centrally located in Bolivia, making it an excellent hub for exploring the country’s amazing natural spaces. From Cochabamba, many make excursions to Amboro National Park, Torotoro National Park, Incacacha, and more. Parque Pairumani is a great place to visit, whether you are looking to spend the day there or want to do some camping. It takes only 30-40 minutes to get there from the city if you catch a colectivo heading to Quillacollo. From Quillacollo, take transport from Parque Bolivar to Pairumani.
The park entrance fee is only four Bolivianos plus several more per night of camping. In the park, there are many camping spots, picnic areas, and restrooms for visitors. Trails lead through lush forests, up grassy hillsides, and along rushing rivers, making this a very serene spot to escape the bustling city. It does get very busy here on weekends.
What is on your Cochabamba bucket list?