When visiting Cochabamba in Bolivia, we would definitely recommend taking a tour of the Palacio Portales. Not only is the building architecturally interesting, but the gardens, which were modeled after those at Versailles, are quite beautiful as well. Built by the wealthy millionaire Simon Patino, the palace was completed in 1927. Patino’s fortune was built by owning the majority of the tin industry in Bolivia, which earned the nicknames of “The Tin Baron” and “The Andean Rockefeller”. At one point, he was considered to be one of the five wealthiest people in the world.
Construction began on the Palacio Portales in 1915 with inspirations coming from Alhambra and the Vatican. With marble and tapestries imported from Italy and wood imported from France, there are wonderful details throughout the house. Palacio Portales translates to Palace Portals, which has caused people to refer to the house as the palace of doors. The tour, which is offered in English and Spanish at different times, takes a little over an hour and is quite interesting. Although the house was built by Simon Patino, he never actually lived there as his health had declined keeping him from traveling back to Bolivia.
The colorful exterior, wonderful garden, and interesting history make visiting Palacio Portales a worthwhile way to spend an afternoon in Cochabamba. Located near the center of Bolivia, Cochabamba offers several different opportunities for tours including visiting the ruins of Incallajta as well as Corrasco National Park in the Amazon Jungle.