This weekend, I joined other students for a day-long tour of four surrounding pueblos of Cochabamba: Tarata, Cliza, Punata, and Arani. Pueblos are essentially small towns with a large church in the center and small shops that cover all of the basic needs of the inhabitants of the surrounding area. Each pueblo is about an hour from Cochabamba city, and easily accessible by car, or in our case, barely accessible by bus. The campesinos--the typically indigenous farmers, ranchers, and handicrafters--live on the land surrounding a central pueblo. More than 90% of the inhabitants of Pueblos around Cochabamaba are indigenous.
I was immediately struck by the beauty, and at times simplicity, of the pueblos. Each has simple but aesthetically pleasing Spanish-style concrete and brick architecture. At the center of each pueblo is a plaza principal, a main plaza usually with a fountain or a statue, flowers, and benches. At one edge of the plaza´s square rests a massive church, usually mission-style. The contrast between the simple businesses and homes in the pueblo and the imposing and elaborate church is striking.
Each of the four pueblos we visted are renowned for different things: Arani for its bread, Cliza for its Sunday market, Tarata for its church housing the head of an ex-president, and Punata for its elaborate Franciscan mission. Below are a few photos from the trip: