The department of Cochabamba is known as the 'breadbasket of Bolivia' and the city itself is dubbed the 'City of Eternal Spring'. Set in a bowl of rolling hills at a comfortable altitude, its inhabitants enjoy a wonderfully warm, dry and sunny climate, with an average temperature of 18°C.

Economically, this region is of vital importance to Bolivia. The Cochabamba Valley is the agricultural heartland of the country and the tropical lowlands of Chapare, to the east, produce large quantities of coca leaf - both for traditional consumption and the drug trade.

Although often overlooked by visitors, Cochabamba offers many worthwhile off-the-beaten-track opportunities. There are crumbling old colonial villages, ancient ruins, beautiful national parks and some of Bolivia's finest markets and festivals. This is also where you'll find the country's best traditional food and chicha, the fermented corn beer brewed today just as it was by the Incas.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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