When your sat watching rubbish on the telly and someone says, only aliens could have created such intricate patterns your interest peaks.
Sucre in two days | Andiamo Amigos explore Bolivias white city
Sucre is in Bolivia’s southern highland region and you could be forgiven for thinking that the other large city in Bolivia, La Paz, was its capital but no, its Sucre, the white city as its sometimes known. La Paz holds the title of administrative capital but its here, in Sucre, in the whitewashed Casa de Libertad where Bolivias declaration of independence was signed and its proud to be the country’s official capital. We weren’t sure what to make of Sucre after the hustle and bustle of La Paz but its a city that welcomes visitors and is bright and open and very much lives up to its status of official capital of Bolivia.
How to get to Sucre, the white city?
There are different ways to get to Sucre and most people, if they’re constrained by time, would fly but you can also get there by bus either direct from La Paz which is about 11 hours or alternatively you can break your journey up by visiting another city such as Cochabamba or Oruro. We were keen to get to Sucre quickly as it was our stopping of point for Uyuni so we flew and were pleasantly surprised at the flight prices. We booked our flight with Amazonas Airlines and visited the office in La Paz to buy the ticket which was really easy. The prices varied depending on the time and day of the flight but we paid less than £100 and that was including baggage, bargain! The flight was just under 3 hrs and was not too bad. At Sucre airport there are mini buses waiting to take you into the city however they do rather leave you on the outskirts instead of taking your right into the centre but there are plenty taxi’s whizzing about to get you the last few kms or you can walk depending on where your hotel or hostel is.
Where to stay for two days in Sucre?
Sucre has many accommodation options and we chose a small hostel a few blocks away from the main square, Plaza de Armas. The hostel was called Hostel CasArte Takubamba. It was an ok hostel however it looked very different from the pictures on the booking website. The bed was comfy, the water in the shower was hot and the accomodation was ok. The breakfast however was abysmal and we preferred to go out to one of the local cafes for breakfast. That was the one thing that let this hostel down.
What did we do in Sucre?
Chill in the Plaza de Armas
Most South American cities are laid out with a grid system and have a beautiful park at their centre. Sucre is no exception and their Plaza de Armas, also called Plaza 25 Mayor, is a beautiful park that is visited by tourists and locals alike. At any time of the day you can see local people, school children, visitors and street vendors enjoying the park and its a great place to people watch. The park is surrounded by cafes, museums, important buildings and there’s a great ice cream parlour near one of the corners. Delicious ice cream and fantastic milkshakes.
Visit the Dino footprints park – Parque Cretacico
One thing that Sucre is famous for is the Dinosaur Footprints that a worker at a cement factory came across when they blasted a hill and exposed the millions of years old footprints. The cement company then set aside some land to use as a museum and educational centre which offers walking tours down into the quarry to see the footprints up close. This was a pretty good activity and would appeal to young and old. We got the local number 4 bus there and back for 2.00 BOB each way, however there is a Dino tourist bus that leaves from the main square, Plaza de Armas and costs 15.00 BOB each way. The Dino bus only leaves 2 times per day at 11am and 3pm. The entrance to the park cost 30.00 BOB. The park is open 9.30am to 4.30pm.
Explore the Market
In almost every city we visit we always seek out the main market. We love to see the produce on offer and how the locals go about their shopping. Sucre’s mercado central was no exception, it was brilliant. A large outdoor section for fruit and vegetables and indoors you can find everything from meat, cheeses, fish and nuts. There is also a large clothing, footwear, flowers, plants and household goods market so whatever you’re looking for, I’m sure they’ll have it here. Like most markets they have a section where local ladies cook up the menu of the day. These meals are usually very cheap and consist of a soup, a meat course and a drink. Get there early if you want to eat as the ladies start winding down after midday.
Take a free walking tour of the white city.
A good way to get your bearings in a city is to take a free walking tour. Most cities have them and instead of a fee you’re expected to offer a tip depending on how good the tour is. Our tour was with Guru walk and although not as good as the tour we did with Red cap tours in La Paz it was still very informative. Jose took us to the main sights in Sucre starting at the high viewpoint and ending close to the market in the centre of town. We can honestly say he earned his tip as he gave us a good insight to the city. Walking tours are a great way to familiarise yourself with a particular city and also a great way to ask any questions about public transport, tours or other sites that you are planning on visiting as the walking guides are usually pretty knowledgable about the area.
Try some local specialities
As we’ve mentioned previously food plays a big part of our travelling hence seeking out markets, doing walking tours that include food and finding out what the local specialities are. In the case of Sucre there were 2 things we were keen to try. Saltenas which are pastries filled with different meats and cheeses. They are like a mini pot pie and the filling can be quite runny but incredibly tasty so make sure you’ve got a few napkins handy for your chin. We were recommended to eat Saltenas at El Patio, just a few blocks from the centre. Another dish popular in Sucre is Mondongo which is slow cooked pork ribs in a very red paprika and incredibly spicy sauce. Its usually served with corn relish and potatoes and is succulent, meaty and delicious. We had ours in a cafe on the corner of Plaza de Armas. If you see it advertised then be sure to get some as it tends to go quick.
Visit the cemetery
Similar to the cemetery in La Paz the cemetery in Sucre is a beautiful place for a stroll. At the entrance there is a large tree lined lane with offshoots of grand tomb buildings and around the perimeter you find the individual small boxes which families have filled with trinkets & photographs to remember their loved ones. Its a somber and lovely place to visit and if you’ve got an hour to two to spare then take a walk up there.
Find the mini Eiffel tower
On a very much smaller scale than its big brother in Paris, Bolivar Park in Sucre has its very own Eiffel Tower designed by renowned architect Alexandre Gustave Eiffel. Bolivia has 3 structures designed by this famous architect. The main terminal station of La Paz, the river bridge of Cochabamba Rocha and the Park Bolivar tower. It sits proudly in the centre of the park and has a set of steps which you can climb to the top to see the whole park from north to south. Sadly its covered in a fair bit of graffiti but its still a spectacle and the park is lovely and peaceful for a stroll.
Visit the Juice ladies of Sucre market
One of our favorite things to do while we were in Sucre was visit the juice ladies of the market. These ladies surround a square quadrant on the edge of the main market, displaying their fruits and waving locals and tourists alike to come and sit on one of the high stools in front of their stalls to get a natural fruit drink. We loved the energy of this place with loads of women shouting into the square to try and get your custom. The juices are fairly reasonably priced at around 15.00 BOB and you get a bit of a refill once you’ve finished your glass. What can be nicer on a hot day than a cool refreshing glass of juice.
Our view of the white city
We very much liked Sucre and it felt like a special city. A bit more cosmopolitan than La Paz and life seemed a little less hectic here. We only had 2 days but tried to fill them with as much as we could. We ate good food, used public transport to get outside the city and sat in the plaza and watched the world go by. Its a great place to visit for a few days and there’s so much more to see here than we were able to do. There’s some brilliant museums and important buildings. There’s hiking outside the city and there’s loads of churches to explore. Don’t miss this wonderful city.
Booking resources for your stay in Sucre
Tours & Tickets
You can book your visits as you go at the entrance to your chosen attraction or site. Or you could use the following links to book in advance or just to find out what your choices are in the area. GetYourGuide and Tiqets are our go to choices you could try Viator to see how they compare.
For a full list check out our resources page. Don’t forget always shop around to find the best deal for you. What works for us should be good for you but it’s always reassuring to check.
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When you think of La Paz Bolivia most people tend to think this is the capital of Bolivia, I know I did, but in fact its only the administrative capital with the true capital of the country being Sucre.
The Bolivian border crossing was quite a pleasant surprise, we had been expecting it to be a little tricky but it turned out to be a quite simple process.