Busy, buzzy Cochabamba is one of Bolivia’s boom cities and has a distinct, almost Mediterranean vitality that perhaps owes something to its clement climate. While much of the city’s population is typically poor, parts of town have a notably prosperous feel. The spacious, ever-expanding new-town avenues have a wide choice of restaurants, eagerly grazed by the food-crazy cochabambinos, and the bar scene is lively, driven by students and young professionals. It's also the base for outdoor adventures further afield, including trips to Parque Torotoro. You could easily find yourself staying a lot longer than planned.
The city’s name is derived from the Quechua khochapampa, meaning 'swampy plain.' Cochabamba lies in a fertile green bowl, 25km long by 10km wide, set in a landscape of fields and low hills. To the northwest rises Cerro Tunari (5050m), the highest peak in central Bolivia.