Why not make Sucre your next Travel Destination
Not being much of a planner, I often arrive at my next travel destination not knowing what to expect and Sucre, in Bolivia was no exception, however, I instantly fell in love with this quaint little city.
Sucre is located in south central Bolivia and is fast becoming a popular destination for travelers and justifiably so. Whether you plan a quick trip or extended stay, this city has much to offer. The colonial architecture, plazas and parks, bustling central markets, and the amazing people and culture all contribute to Sucre’s charm. With it’s relaxing atmosphere and go slow feel, this is the perfect place to spend a few days, weeks or even months. This is one destination that should be on your list if it isn’t already.
Founded in the 16th Century, Sucre was the first capital of Bolivia. Nowadays Sucre is the constitutional capital of Bolivia, while La Paz is the administrative capital. In 1991 Sucre was listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. With the amount of noticeable white colored buildings, it is apparent why this historic city Is often referred to as the ‘White City’. Sucre boasts impeccable green spaces and parks and is well maintained and clean and safe. At an altitude of just over 2800 meters the weather is agreeable and pleasant most of the time and it also a good place to acclimatize before heading on to destinations at higher altitudes.
Sucre is easily accessible through the mountainous, winding roads from either the north or south of Bolivia. Being along a common bus route to Uyuni, the salt flats, and La Paz, it is an ideal place to rest up and recharge. If long bus journeys aren’t for you, it is also possible to fly into the newly constructed airport, which is about 45 mins from the city center.
Sucre is traveler friendly, with is no shortage of affordable hostels, restaurants, cafes, bars, and clubs. Although there are plenty of things to do in Sucre, depending on your interests, below were my favorite things to do, during my 6 weeks stay there.
1. Take Spanish lessons
The ability to communicate in the local language not only makes navigating a foreign country less daunting and more enjoyable but also enriches your experience. Being able to converse with locals often gives you an insight into their culture and way of life. Whatever your reason for learning Spanish, Sucre is one of the best places to take Spanish lessons. With an abundance of qualified private teachers, Spanish schools, and an incredibly affordable price, it is easy to improve your level of Spanish. Classes cost as little as $7 per hour for private lessons and even less for groups. The Bolivians have a neutral accent and a slow talking speed, making it the perfect place to learn.
2. Plaza 25 de Mayo
Plaza 25 de Mayo is the main square of Sucre and is located in the middle of the city. It’s easy to relax in this pleasant public space, surrounded by manicured grass, well looked after flower gardens and water fountains. The plaza is the meeting point for locals and is always a buzzing . with activity. It’s not uncommon to see a group of local kids practicing dance moves, a musical group or even a performance from a local school. It is possible to spend a whole afternoon just enjoying the atmosphere of the plaza, people watching, and soaking up the sun or maybe even practicing Spanish with a local.
3. Central Markets
The central markets have two levels packed full of colorful fruits, vegetables, spices and cut flowers. The lower level offers cheap, seasonal and local produce. Everything you need for a delicious meal can be found here. On the upper level, you can have a traditional Bolivian dish, such as Mondongo. A plate of food will cost about $2 while a ‘menu del dia’ (soup, main dish and juice) will set you back about $3. Eating upstairs is an experience in itself, as the vendors are quite competitive and persistent when trying to secure potential customers.
4. Tarabuco Markets
Tarabuco is a sleepy little indigenous village outside of Sucre, which comes to life every Sunday when it hosts artisan markets. It is easy to get to using the local ‘micro’ buses and a colectivo (shared mini van). The bus journey offers breathtaking views of rolling hills and countryside and takes about an hour from Sucre. The availability of high-quality textiles and traditional wares has made this place popular with tourists. A great place to pick up some souvenirs for friends and family or even something for yourself. One thing to note is that it is important to arrive early as the vendors start packing up in the early afternoon.
5. The Recoleta
The incredible views from the Recoleta are worth the torturous walk up an incredibly steep hill. The look-out is situated at the top of Calle Dalence, not far from the city center. At the top, you will find Plaza de Pedro Anzurez, a pleasant plaza, which you can often watch (or participate in) a game of football with the local kids. The far reaching city views are impressive particularly at sunrise and sunset. There is a little cafe there if you fancy a cold beer or glass of wine while watching the sun go down.
6. Parque Bolivar
This beautiful little park is popular with the locals and tourists alike. This park is worth a visit for two reasons. In the middle of the park is a mini Eiffel tower. At the very top of the rickety metal structure, you have a view of the whole park. The other special thing about Parque Bolivia is the water fountain. This is not just any water feature. Every second night the fountain turns into a light and water display. The water jets play along with the music. The show lasts about forty minutes and is a great spot for some free entertainment. There are also plenty of street vendors selling snacks to enhance your viewing experience.
It is easy to fall in love with this little city and it’s not surprising that most people who plan a one or two day visit end up staying a lot longer. Definitely get to Sucre.