If you're going to call yourself "Island of the Sun", you had better be pretty awesome. Island of the Tick and Sock Isle, you guys can go ahead and suck: we're not expecting much from you. But an island named after the entity around which our world rotates, which provides warmth and life to everything on the planet? You had better be freaking amazing. And with some crazy Inca ruins, a central role in ancient mythology, and a gorgeous setting in the world's highest navigable lake, the Isla del Sol definitely delivers.
Oh, Copacabana. We really wanted to like you. You were perhaps the city in Bolivia we were most looking forward to! It started out perfectly... the bus ride from La Paz was beautiful, and included a short ferry trip. By the time we arrived, and took in your gorgeous location along Lake Titicaca, our excitement level was through the roof. But we have to be honest, Copacabana. In the end, you were the worst town we visited in Bolivia.
The charming village of Tarata makes a perfect day trip from Cochabamba. It's a quick 45-minute trip in a minibus, which costs just five Bolivianos, or about $0.70. Only about 8000 people live in Tarata, but this town boasts a disproportionate amount of importance in Bolivia's history.
After a restless night, Jürgen and I were back in the main plaza at 7am of Saturday, July 16th, watching cholitas in glittering dresses and politely declining offers of cerveza from marching band members who clearly hadn't stopped imbibing all night. The party had never paused -- of this, I'm sure. I had laid in bed, eyes wide open, listening to it rage the entire night.
Completed in 1994 to commemorate the 1988 visit of Pope John Paul II, Cochabamba's mighty Christ towers over the city from the top of San Pedro hill. With his arms open toward the city, it seems as though Cochabamba is about to get a bear hug from the big guy. Rio's Jesus measures exactly 33 meters in height: one meter for each year of the savior's life. Cochabamba's is 33 meters and 20 centimeters, which locals attribute to the fact that Jesus lived for 33 years and a bit.
If you're looking for a quick and incredibly cheap lunch in small, cramped quarters, you can't go wrong at the the gleaming new Mercado Lanza near the Iglesia de San Francisco. With hundreds of stalls serving food and juices, you'll definitely find something appetizing. Just don't be squeamish about sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers.
Two-thirds of the way up the hill which eventually ends in El Alto, you can find the viewing point Andina Jach'a Kollo. Just don't trust your map or taxi driver to get you there.