Sucre claims to be the capital of Bolivia. In reality, La Paz acts as the de-facto capital and Santa Cruz is the leading commercial centre. Its laidback feel is the polar opposite of La Paz. However, Sucre charms travellers and many end up spending far more time there than initially planned. After all, it’s the perfect place to relax. Founded by Spanish colonials who needed to escape the bone-chilling cold of Potosi, the city packs a punch in terms of historical places of interest.
Convento de la Recoleta overlooks the town from a hill above and its grounds and cloisters are a great spot to spend an afternoon. Similarly, the roof of Convento de San Felipe Neri provides vistas of the city’s red roofs and white colonial buildings. A photographer’s dream! Getting away from the religious theme, Casa de la Libertad is the building where Bolivian independence was declared. This is the ideal stop for history buffs. Had enough of museums dedicated to statesmen and clerics? Then why not walk in the footsteps of dinosaurs at the intriguing Cal Orck’o? For more information on the practicalities of visiting these sights.
Learning Spanish will enrich any trip to South America. It will provide you with a greater appreciation of the local culture. Sucre, with its pleasant climate and relatively low altitude, is the perfect spot to take some Spanish lessons. Sucre Spanish School is highly recommended. Schools offer volunteering opportunities as well as homestays. Both are great ways to have an authentic contact with local people.
Long a traveller’s favourite, Sucre offers a wide variety of accommodation choices. For those who are happy to spend some extra bolivianos, Hostal de Su Merced is an excellent choice. Otherwise, the well-located Travelers’ Guesthouse receives consistently good reviews for its helpful and friendly staff. Finally, the Joy Ride Hostel has good facilities and a tour desk.
The Joy Ride Cafe and Bibliocafe Clasico both offer good Gringo-friendly menus, drinks and fairly consistent Wi-Fi connections. If, on the other hand, you want to simply cut costs and eat with the locals, why not check out the stalls at the main town market?
Getting there and getting around
Getting to and from Sucre is straightforward. Coming from Uyuni, you can take either a bus or a shared taxi from Potosi. Unfortunately, buses from Santa Cruz travel over some terrible roads, so you might be better paying out 50 USD for a plane ticket. Bus services to and from La Paz will promise you TV, bathrooms etc., but instead you can expect a bitterly cold night with absolutely none of the above. These services cost no more than 200 bolivianos. Don’t forget to wear your woolens or bring a warm blanket while you’re at it!
As for getting around, the city is small and self-contained, so you should be able to get around on foot to see the main sights. To reach Recoleta, you need to walk up the main street right to the top of the hill. Only Cal Orck’o will require you to take either a bus or a taxi. Note that buses leave from near the market, although the stops are very poorly signposted.
Museo del Convento de la Recoleta: Polanco 162, Sucre, Bolivia
Cretaceous Park: http://www.parquecretacicosucre.com/
Casa de la Libertad http://www.casadelalibertad.org.bo/
Convento de San Felip Neri: Ortíz 165, Sucre
Trevelers’ Guesthouse: www.facebook.com/travelersguesthousesucre/timeline
Hotel de Su Merced http://www.desumerced.com/
Joy Ride Hostel http://www.joyridebol.com/hostel.php
Academia Andina (Spanish School) http://academiaandina.com/
Sucre Spanish School: http://sucrespanishschool.com/
Bibliocafé Classico: Nicolas Ortiz #50
Joy Ride Cafe: Nicolas Ortiz #14
To get more information on visiting the city, the Sucre Life website is a true gem. Run by an expat couple of digital nomads, it is packed with practical information on visiting the city. Be sure to check it out- http://www.sucrelife.com/