Sucre: Bolivia’s Capital with a Small Town Feel

Sucre: Bolivia’s Capital with a Small Town Feel

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I had heard great things about Sucre, and was looking forward to my visit.  After my lovely stay in Samaipata I returned for one night to Santa Cruz, to catch a flight the next morning to Sucre. For the rest of my trip I’d promised myself I would take buses or trains, but as time was tight in Bolivia (and the roads notoriously unreliable) I decided to fly. Santa Cruz gave me a final kick in the teeth send-off, after eating some suspect chicken wings for dinner I spent most of the night going backwards & forwards to the bathroom, and I woke early to take a taxi to the airport. I hailed a cab on the street, and although I felt nervous about it as I had no clue if he was going to rob me and dump me in a ditch, it was actually fine and I only got ripped off a bit.

Plaza de la Recoleta in Sucre
Plaza de la Recoleta in Sucre

The flight was quick, only around 30 minutes, and I landed safely & on time in Sucre. I took a taxi from the airport to my hostel, on the other side of town. I smiled to myself as we passed almost rural scenes of a man ushering his escaped sheep back into the field. For the official capital of the country, where Bolivia proclaimed its independence Sucre still managed to keep its small town feel. Now the seat of government, treasury & most of the political functions have been moved to La Paz, I suppose Sucre can relax and just be itself! The historic part of the city is compact, and the outskirts extend to climb the surrounding mountains. Like many cities in the mountains it is naturally nestled in a valley, and my hostel was perched on a hill, offering great views of the city.

One of the main features that led to Sucre being honoured by UNESCO is its colonial white buildings with red tiled rooves – a staple feature of the houses in the old town. So much so that gaining planning permission for anything else is practically impossible the hostel owner Ebi explained.

Cholitas in Sucre Bolivia
Cholitas in Sucre

I still wasn’t feeling my best after the chicken wings, so took a couple of easy days to enjoy the festival that was taking place in the town. As it turned out, Sunday was a national holiday in Bolivia, a Pedestrian Day, where no cars were allowed on the street until 6pm in the evening. Sucre responded by hosting parades and parties in the streets which would normally be filled with cars. This helped to give me a pleasant image of Sucre, perhaps on a normal weekend I wouldn’t have been so enamoured with it, but with drinking & dancing & no traffic, it was hard not to fall for its charms.

That said, due to the pedestrian day I didn’t get to visit one of the key ‘attractions’ in the area, a huge market in the nearby town of Tarabuco, which would have been a bus,taxi, or hitch ride away. Adding to the list of stuff I didn’t do in Sucre, was the Dinosaur Park, where a concrete factory came across preserved tracks and fossilised bones close to the centre. If I visit Sucre again I would like to do both of those things, but I still enjoyed pottering around the town and seeing more of ‘Real Life’ than the usual tourist spots.

My Hostel in Sucre
My Hostel in Sucre

I stayed at Casa Al Tronco, a hostel in the Recoleta district, which had amazing views of the city. It is also close to the ubiquitous statue of Christ the South Americans have a habit of sticking on top of any mountain they find, so I wandered up there with a couple of fellow hostellers. I have been gradually increasing the altitude of where I am, to try and acclimatize slowly- but walking up the stairs to my room at the top of the house, and trying to get to Christ was a challenge! Slow & steady was the way forward, with regular breaks to catch my breath.

Where I stayed:

Casa al Tronco
+ Beautiful Views, Friendly staff & Dog, great sun terrace.
– Walk back from town, bedroom on the topfloor, bathroom on the bottom floor
Would I recommend? Yes, definitely! (As long as you can manage stairs, and didn’t eat dodgy chicken wings the day before.)

the yummy Tucumana at the Condor Cafe in Sucre
the yummy Tucumana at the Condor Cafe in Sucre

Where I ate:

Due to aforementioned chicken wings, I was off my food a bit while I was in town. I stuck to vegetarian restaurants, and visited 2 which were both fantastic in different ways.

El Germen
+ Delicious freshly made spinach cannelloni, I think the best I have ever eaten.   Quiet restaurant, I was the only one in there
– Maybe too quiet, but in a group or a couple it would be perfect.

Condor Café
+ Tasty, good value, homemade food; I had the Tucumana (cross between a pasty & a samosa) which was a steal at 10 Bolivianos. Friendly, good service
– Felt more touristy, almost everyone in there was foreign. Quite limited menu, best for breakfast or lunch.

Look for other accommodation in Sucre

Look for things to do in Sucre

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Sucre Capital of BolivaYou may also like:

Samaipata: Beautiful Bolivia

Santa Cruz: First Impressions of Bolivia

La Paz: Breathtaking Bolivia

Lake Titicaca: Crossing from Bolivia to Peru

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14 thoughts on “Sucre: Bolivia’s Capital with a Small Town Feel

  1. Bolivia looks so fun! That colonial architecture is really gorgeous and quaint at the same time. Glad you got out to explore even though you weren’t feeling 100%. Looks like such a fun place. ^^

  2. I absolutely loved Sucre. I was sick as a dog in Uyuni but I was determined to make it to Sucre. Unfortunately, I stayed in my hotel bed for most of my time but for the few moments I was out, I loved it. It has exactly that small town feel as you describe it.

    1. Yeah I do try and be more careful but sometimes you can’t avoid it! It was lovely you’re right, I don’t regret not doing the other things I still enjoyed it 🙂

  3. There’s something special about UNESCO towns. The history and the buildings are usually what draws me to them. The hostel looks like just the style of place I would expect in South America too.

  4. It sounds like a lovely place with a cool vibe. The pictures look very colourful and appealing. I’ve not travelled to South America much but I’m getting more and more motivated

    1. Ahh you should definitely go to South America – I keep meaning to travel to Asia but there are so many amazing places to visit I just can’t find the time!! 😀

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