Cochabamba, one of the most important cities of Bolivia, also known as the gastronomical capital of the country, is a place that can be enjoyed all year round. The city is located in the center of Bolivia, at 2558 meters above sea level. The Kanatas --the civilization that lived there before the arrival of the Spanish settlers-- called this land ‘q'ochapanpa’ (q'ocha = puddle; panpa = plain). Later on, the settlers hispanicized its name and turned it into Cochabamba. There are plenty of historical places in which you can learn about Bolivia’s history. Cochabamba is a quiet city known for its outgoing and gentle citizens. Placed at the final part of the Andes, the city is surrounded by breathtaking landscapes of all kinds: mountains, lakes, plains and deep forests.
Native Communities: Cochabamba is very respectful towards its native communities. Nowadays, there are seven different groups, all of them still preserve their traditions. You can visit their communities and learn about their lifestyle.
Sports and Recreational Activities: You can walk, hike, ride a bike... or a llama! You can stroll through the parks, or visit Pico Tunari (Tunari Peak), the tallest peak in Bolivia. You can go rafting through rushing rivers or visit Incallajita, the largest Incan roofed fortress of the whole empire, among other historical places.
Restaurants & Nightlife: Chochamba is acknowledged for having plenty of restaurants, bars, danceclubs, nightclubs of all kinds. Many of them can be located in Calle España (Spain Street) or in the surroundings of Plaza Colón (Colon Park). You can go to any restaurant and ask for typical dishes —they can satisfy all tastes. Many of them come from Pre-Columbian times.
Museums & Cultural Places: There are plenty of places to visit: Museo Arqueológico de la Universidad Mayor de San Simón (Archaeological Museum of the UMSS), Museo de Historia Natural Alcide D'Orbigni (Museum of Natural History Alcide D'Orbigni), Museo Casona Santivañez (Museum Santivañez Mansion), Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (Museum of Contemporary Art), Museo del Paracaidista C.I.T.E. (Museum of the Skydiver), Museo de la Medicina Francisco Viedma (Museum of Medicine Francisco Viedma), Casona de Mayorazgo (Mayorazgo Mansion), Jardín Botánico Martín Cárderas (Botanical Garden Martín Cárderas), Convento Santa Teresita (St. Therese Convent).
Festivals: If you are a festival fan, maybe you would consider travelling to Cochabamba during May or July --three festival days each-- or you may consider visiting the city on February 2nd, Fiesta de la Virgen de la Candelaria (Feast of the Lady of Candelaria), or on August 15th, Fiesta de la VIrgen de Urkupiña (Feast of the Lady of Urkupiña).
Cochabamba has the nicest and mildest climate temperature in the whole Bolivia. Temperature between summer and winter fluctuates between 10ºC and 30ºC. The coldest month is July and the hottest is November. You can travel to Cochabamba the whole year, but is best to travel during Autumn, right after the rain season, from April to May.
You can get to Cochabamba by air using the Aeropuerto Internacional Jorge Wilstermann (International Airport Jorge Wilstermann), or by land either traveling by bus --there is a Bus Station in the South West of the city-- or by car using any of the routes that reach the city, route 4 or route 7.
Cultural interest: Museums, native civilizations, historical places.
Clubs & nightlife: Food, coffee shops, discos, pubs, bars.
Sports: Trekking, rafting.
'I really like the method of the school where you work one-on-one with different teachers on different days because I learned different things from different teachers. And on days when I needed more than a day to grasp a concept the school was able to have me work with the same teacher for a couple days in a row. I was really shy about speaking in Spanish when I came to the school, but in the supportive environment and after a couple of four hour classes where I had no option but to speak I was able to overcome that hesitation and my Spanish really improved.'' Spanish course. Alexander
''Our teacher was awesome. She took the time to make sure that all the students understood but did not harp on a single subject overly long – just the right amount of practice without being tedious – perfecto! ''Spanish Course.Erin Barrios
''I arrived in Bolivia to serve as a volunteer for one year but spoke almost no Spanish. I spent three months the language school where I was able to learn quickly because of the mostly one on one style classes they provided. The school has a very supportive staff and host families ready to help you in every way they can. During my stay in Cochabamba I felt safe and had many opportunities to try out my Spanish skills. The teachers were tireless and witty and were always available to lend a helping hand.'' Spanish course. Christopher Rodriguez
''In the summer of 2005, I was searching for a language school in Central or South America where I could improve my Spanish language skills for professional use and decided to travel to Bolivia. The whole language school staff, are intent on making sure students not only learn the language they came to study, but also grow to understand the community in which they are staying. The teachers were interested in the reasons that I came to study Spanish, and they worked with me to focus on vocabulary and discussions relevant to my line of work. The school also offered me opportunities to take organized excursions and to volunteer in a nearby community, all of which enriched my experience. I look back on my time in Bolivia and I'd go again in a heartbeat.'' Spanish course. Julie Murray