TOROTORO NATIONAL PARK
Torotoro National Park is located in the north of the Potosi District, but its access is through Cochabamba. It has a surface area of 16,570 H. and is part of the central west side of the Mountain Ranges of the Bolivian Andes. Torotoro, a name that originally comes from the Quechua term “thuru thuru pampa” and translated to Spanish means “Pampa (extensive plain) of mud”. It is situated at 136 Km. from the city of Cochabamba. Torotoro is from the declining colonial period, it is a destination where man and nature have left their tracks, a place where it is possible to go back in time. In Torotoro we will find: the majestic Humajalanta Cavern, the El Vergel waterfalls, cave paintings, Dinosaur footprints and much adventure.
Carrasco National Park
Only 4 hours from Cochabamba, Chapare and its warm tropical climate welcomes you. Villa Tunari is the starting point, one begins to become acquainted with the rivers that cut across the roads, and then pass the bridge till you reach the Machia Park where environmental and animal protection is of great importance. There we find the Carrasco National Park that is one of the richest ecosystems of the planet, this trip includes a visit to the caverns with guacharos (blind birds) and then another cavern with bats. Some more of the many activities which can be carried out in the Chapare are the entertainment park La Jungla, Orchid farms, Harbors of San Francisco, Aurora and Villaroel, and navigating on canoes to visit the Yuracares (one of the many ethnic groups in the tropical area of Cochabamba).
INCALLAJTA – POCONA
The ruins of Incallajta at 123 Km. from the city of Cochabamba is home to what one day was the fort of the Inca Empire, the biggest in Bolivia. Incallajta was the last point of Inca military expansion towards the east. It was constructed by Tupac Yupanqui and reconstructed by Huayna Capac after its destruction by the Chiriguanos. This place is complemented by the village of Pocona, 14 Km. away, here we find the Inca Tambo which was a place of rest for travelers and animals as they transported their agricultural products. There are also the Inca Silos located in the Puca Loma hill which were their places of production. Today Pocona is a lovely village of colonial architecture.
TUNARI NATIONAL PARK
Tunari National Park is situated 4 km. to the west of the Cochabamba District. Its altitude range varies between 2,200 and 4,400 meters / 7,218 to 14,436 The park occupies the Mesothermal Dry Valley region and the mountain ranges of the Tunari, thus constituting an ecosystem with diverse inhabited regions. Its characteristics pertain to the mountain range regions and inter-Andean valleys. The adequate management of the natural resources that are found in this place has resulted in a controlled balance. Tunari National Park is a highly valued area with land containing water, flowers, fauna and species of the valley region and of the Andean highlands of Bolivia. As for the flora, one can find species of the molle, algarrobo, aliso, kishuara, thola, qhewiña, pine and eucalyptus. In terms of the fauna: 30 species of mammals, 163 species of birds, 2 species of reptiles and 2 of amphibians have been registered up to the moment. The mountain ranges of the Tunari border most part of the extension of the Central and Lower valleys. It generates much of the oxygen for the city, and is also an important area free of air and noise contamination thus allowing one to enjoy a peaceful and healthy atmosphere.
The “Urkupiña Virgin” festival is one of the most important in Bolivia. It takes place every year from the 14th to the 16th of August in the province of Quillacollo at only 13Km. from the city of Cochabamba. In the “Urkupiña Virgin” festivity, the syncretism of Catholicism and paganism is represented in the folkloric dances of the country which are full of color, cheer and catholic-pagan rituals; strange for some yet of great importance for the faithful.
For tour details, see our blog starting in July.
URKUPIÑA “ORKOPIÑA” VIRGIN LEGEND
This story begins with the legend of a young shepherd girl from a very poor family who used to take her sheep every day to pasture among the shrubs of the stony hill of Orkopiña. One day the image of a celestial woman appeared to her telling her to pick up some stones and take them to her house. The young girl obediently picked up some stones and carried them in her bag, with this load on her back she returned to her small house. Upon reaching her house, she opened her bag and was surprised to see that the stones had turned to silver. When the people of Quillacollo heard of this, they began to have faith in the miraculous Urkupiña Virgin and began visiting the hill to pick stones which they call loans. Since then the festivity of the “Urkupiña Virgin” is celebrated from the 14th to the 16th of August each year. It involves the Entrance, the Long Walk and the Calvary.
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