Planning a Trip
By Plane -- Aero Sur (tel. 0103/3364-446 in Santa Cruz, or 0104/400-912 in Cochabamba; www.aerosur.com) offers daily flights to Cochabamba from La Paz, Santa Cruz, and Sucre. One-way tickets cost about Bs470 ($60/£30) each. All planes arrive at the very modern Aeropuerto Internacional Jorge Wilstermann. Taxis from the airport to the center of town cost about Bs24 ($3/£1.50).
By Bus -- The Cochabamba bus terminal, Avenida Ayacucho and Avenida Aroma, is probably the nicest bus station in all of Bolivia. Buses from La Paz arrive almost every half-hour. The 8-hour journey costs Bs35 ($4.40/£2.20) for a regular bus, Bs50 ($6.25/£3.10) for a bus cama. Buses from Santa Cruz take 11 hours and cost Bs35 ($4.40/£2.20) for a normal bus, Bs60 ($7.50/£3.75) for a bus cama. Buses from Sucre take 11 hours and cost Bs30 ($3.75/£1.90) for a normal bus, Bs50 ($6.25/£3.10) for a bus cama.
Cochabamba is an extremely walkable city. For the most part, the city is compact. The streets Ayacucho and Las Heroínas are the center of Cochabamba. From Ayacucho the streets are labeled north and south. From Las Heroínas, the streets are numbered east to west. The best restaurants and hotels are located in the upscale residential neighborhood known as Recoleta; it's best to take a taxi, which only costs about Bs8 ($1/50p) from the center of town. To reach the statue of Christ, you can walk east 15 minutes from the center of town, or take a taxi for about Bs20 ($2.50/£1.25) round-trip. Trufis are available throughout the city for Bs1.50 (20¢/10p); numbers are clearly marked on the front of the vans.
The tourist information office is on General Acha and Calle Bautista; it's open Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm. But unless you speak Spanish and have a very specific question, the tourist office is virtually useless.
Ranabol Expeditions, Av. Ayacucho 112 (tel. 0104/4583-039; www.aventurabolivia.com), can help you find your bearings with their organized city tours and trips to the valley, Tunari, and the Chapare area. They have trips ranging from 1 to 20 days with experienced guides, camping equipment, and sleeping bags. If you're looking for an English-speaking tour guide, I highly recommend Tim Johnson; contact him at email@example.com.
To change traveler's checks or exchange money, you should head to the travel agency Exprintbol S.R.L, Plaza 14 de Septiembre 242 (tel. 0104/4255-834). Hospital Belga (tel. 0104/4251-579), on Antezana between Paxxieri and Venezuela, is the best hospital in town. Pharmacies abound in Cochabamba. Farmacia Boliviana on 14 de Septiembre E-0202 was the first pharmacy in Cochabamba; Farmacia San Mateo on Las Heroínas E-0323 (between España and 25 de Mayo) is a bit more modern. The post office is on the corner of Las Heroínas and Ayacucho; the entrance is on Ayacucho. The best Internet cafe is Black Cat Internet, which is located on General Acha, just half a block off the Plaza de 14 Septiembre. Entelnet on the Prado, Av. Ballivián 539 adjacent to Plaza Colón, is also reliable for Internet use.