Tucked into a valley in the Andes mountain range more than 8000ft above sea level, Cochabamba is known as the tech centre of Bolivia, and also as its gastronomic capital. After spending a few days there with one of our Accelerance certified partners, I can confirm its reputation is well deserved – on both counts!
From the US, I flew overnight to Santa Cruz, then took a connecting one-hour flight to Cochabamba. With only a one-hour time difference, there was no issue with jetlag and I could get straight into my day. From the airport it was a 15-minute drive to my central-city hotel, a converted convent near Plaza de la Recoleta, where restaurants and tree-lined boulevards hum with life day and night.
Bolivia is exceptionally competitive for outsourcing software development, offering one of the least expensive rates in Latin America. A tech hub, Cochabamba is the country’s largest software producer and exporter, and a number of its 10 universities have an engineering focus.
One of the partners I’d come to see is based right across from my hotel. The team have extensive experience collaborating with American companies, and were professional, friendly and expertly skilled at their trade. Modern by software engineering standards, the offices include a fantastic training facility that runs programs for local high schools, teaching everything from coding to robotics. College students also have free admission to advance their tech skills, and the best of them are often recruited by the company.
It’s not as cosmopolitan as bigger cities like Bogota or Buenos Aires, but Cochabamba has a lot of character and I never felt unsafe walking out for dinner at night at one of the local or US-style restaurants. Its open-air market, La Cancha, is apparently the largest in South America. Locals (“cochalas”) are friendly and although English is patchy – and I can only speak a few words or phrases in Spanish – it was easy to navigate my way around.
The fertile Cochabamba valley has been inhabited for thousands of years and was part of the Inca civilization before the Spanish arrived in the 16th century. Dubbed the City of Eternal Spring, because of its warm year-round temperatures, Cochabamba is at significant altitude. While I wasn’t affected by that, some people can feel a bit fatigued until they adjust.
And it’s not only in software development that Cochabamba boxes above its weight: to the east of the city, the 112-ft Cristo de la Concordia (Christ of Peace) was the largest statue of Jesus Christ in the world when it was completed in 1994. It’s since been overtaken by one in Poland but is still larger than Brazil’s famous Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro.
There are 2,000 steps to the statue, which sits atop San Pedro Hill. That’s a hard climb in the sun at altitude, but you can take a cable car or drive most of the way, and the views are spectacular.
Outsource with Confidence with Accelerance
Accelerance travels the world to simplify your search for the best offshore companies – and we’re impressed with what Bolivia has to offer. If you’re interested in outsourcing your software development, contact Accelerance to find out more
For the latest analysis on outsourcing opportunities throughout Latin America, check out our 2020 regional guide.