Cochabamba is a city that normally doesn’t get a lot of visitors. That might be due to the fact that most Bolivia travelers focus on La Paz and Uyuni. Although it is located close to the rainforest and national parks, most excursions and tours into the wild leave from Rurrenabaque which is located much higher up North (and only reachable via bus or plane from La Paz). Visiting the national parks of Carrasco and Amboro (which are the closest to Cochabamba) is something we would have loved to do, but it was hard to find any offers for excursions to those parks. Although we always try to avoid tours, you shouldn’t go into any rainforest without a guide. Therefore we left those parks out, but we would love to go back one day in order to see more of the Bolivian rainforest.
For its size (it is one of the biggest cities in Bolivia) Cochabamba is a pretty calm place, it has a small but cute center and central square, other than that there is not much to do in the city as a tourist. The main reason it get’s visitors (even if not as many as other spots in Bolivia) is the fact that it is the closest city to the national park Torotoro. Unlike the above mentioned parks, Torotoro is not a rainforest, it actually has a completely different, rather dry vegetation and is located South of Cochabamba. Although the park is only 130km away from Cochabamba the ride can take up to 6 hours. It is a hell of a ride on a very bumpy road (you cannot really call it a street). While the ride isn’t for everybody, the park is worth the torture. There are several excursions you can do per day. You’ll be able to see stunning waterfalls, impressive canyons, caves and even real dinosaur footprints (yes, no kidding, nature makes it possible). It normally isn’t a problem to do these excursions or catching a ride from Cochabamba to Torotoro, but if you happen to be there during national holidays be aware that also Bolivians will do vacation. For us it was quite difficult finding a transport for the trip to the park, because we happened to be in Cochabamba during Willkakuti, the Andean New Year, which is always on the 21. and 22. of June. The ride costs only 2€ each way, but the excursions in the park are quite expensive for Bolivian standard prices (15-20€ per attraction). The money is well spent though, as the attractions in Torotoro are very unique.