About 13 kilometres west of Cochabamba, Quillacollo is a quaint city where post-colonial architecture sits alongside modern houses in a scenic mountain-fringed valley. Quillacollo is at its best during the Fiesta de la Virgen de Urkupina but is also worth visiting for its bustling Sunday flea markets, exotic cuisine and pre-Inca history.
Things to do
One of your first stops in Quillacollo should be Plaza Bolivar, a central square where you’ll find an equestrian statue in the centre that is surrounded by market stalls, street performers and shady trees. Plaza Bolivar is also the site where a pre-Inca burial mound was discovered.
There are numerous restaurants around the city serving authentic Bolivian cuisine, including papas rellenas (mashed potato balls stuffed with egg or cheese) and tucumanas (pasties filled with meat, diced vegetables and a spicy sauce).
One of the highlights in Quillacollo is the Sunday markets, which bring in thousands of people searching for local produce, artisan goods and unique treasures. Time your visit for Quillacollo’s biggest event, the Fiesta de la Virgen de Urkupina in August, which involves religious ceremonies and celebrations, as well as generous consumption of the local alcoholic drinks, chicha and garapina.
You’re only a short drive from Cochabamba, so you’d be amiss not visiting this charming city with its colonial churches and historic public squares. Ride the city’s cable car to the Cristo de la Concordia statue for uninterrupted views of Cochabamba and the surrounding countryside.
The easiest way to reach Quillacollo is from Cochabamba, using one of the buses or trufis (private shuttles), which take about 20 minutes. You can explore Quillacollo on foot or use the local taxi services to get around.