The reconstruction of the Cochabamba (Bolivia) radiological incident (IAEA - International Atomic Energy Agency 2004 The Radiological Accident in Cochabamba STI/PUB/1199 (Vienna: IAEA)) was used to assess and evaluate retrospective dosimetry methodologies. For this purpose an unshielded radioactive source was placed inside a transportation vehicle (bus) resembling a radiological exposure device. External doses were assessed using water and anthropomorphic phantoms that were placed at various positions in the vehicle and equipped with both fortuitous dosimeters (chip cards, mobile phones), individual dosimeters (electronic dosimeters, thermoluminescent and optically stimulated luminescence dosimeters) and in three cases also with blood sample tubes in thermos flasks for cytogenetic methods. This paper gives a detailed description of the experimental setup, the results of the reference dosimetry, including organ dose assessment for the phantom closest to the source, and includes a compilation of the main results obtained by the retrospective dosimetry techniques. Comparison is made to the results of dose reconstruction obtained by IAEA during the response to the Cochabamba incident in 2002.