Welcome to the heart of Bolivia
Cochabamba is one of nine Departments in Bolivia and is called as El corazon de la madre tierra “the heart of Bolivia” for occupying the center of the country. It is also known for its spectacular geographical diversity including Amazonian jungles, subtropical mountains, and fertile highland valleys. Cochabamba’s tropical and valley regions produce the majority of Bolivia’s food supply and this diversity of foods has given Cochabamba its title as the bread basket and gastronomical capital of Bolivia.
The locals or Cochabambinos as they are known are a humble and traditional people, whose vibrant customs are rooted in the indigenous Quechua culture. The Quechua indigenous communities are an integral part of Cochabamba, and make a majority of its population. In recent years, Cochabamba has been rapidly urbanizing and the Department’s namesake city and capital, Cochabamba, has an estimated population of over one million and is the third largest city in Bolivia. Cochabamba’s growth has put great strains on the city’s resources, most notably water, and in 2000 a violent conflict known as the “water war” broke out as a consequence to the privatization of the water supply. However 15 years later many residents still do not have access to clean water. Even as the city and the region as a whole battles with issues of decreasing resources and poverty, there is a glimmer of hope as communities are beginning to work together with local municipalities and NGO’s like Adelante Bolivia, to devise sustainable solutions.