Existing Member?

Nick and Laina's Adventures

Sucre for Carnaval

BOLIVIA | Sunday, 1 March 2009 | Views [2488] | Comments [3]



So we arrived into Sucre right as the sun was peeking up over the mountains. Already from the description, I know that Sucre was described as the “White City”, “La Ciudad Blanco”. Even though is was barely light out, I could tell that all the buildings were the same color, white. In Sucre, the people whitewash all their buildings once a year to give them the white sheen that they all have in common. Sucre is the official capital of Bolivia, and with good reason. Potosi, a nearby mining town, was the silver capital of the world for about 300 years, and most of the money made its way to and through Sucre.

After arriving at the bus terminal, we took a look at our new guidebook, “Peru, Bolivia & Ecuador” by Footprint, to find a cheap hostel in town. We choose “Alojamiento Potosi” near the center, picked up our bags and headed to the taxi arena. As we picked up our bags we were approached by the Bolivian police officer, who might have been a military police, I’m not sure. We was incredibly friendly, and wanted to help us find a good taxi with the right price. We showed him where we were headed, and he took us to a taxi and we headed out of the bus station. The bus station in Sucre is really far away from anything, especially the center of town. The ride took us 20 mins, and cost us 12 Bolivianos(Bs)(about 1.70$). We got to our Alojamiento(a type of cheap hotel) a total of 55Bs per night(7.50$ for all of us). We set up our rooms, and took a much needed nap. Waking up around 12, we could hear the sounds of marching bands and girls shrieking after getting pummled with water balloons. Being extremely hungry we headed out of the hostel, and in search of food. Pretty much immediately after leaving the shelter of the hostel I got hit by 4 water balloons. Then I got hit by 6 water balloons, and looking behind me I see laina get hit in the back by 2 water balloons and then get squirted in the face by a little boy with a massive super soaker leaning out the window of his dads car. Carnaval is in full swing! While we realized it, being in the middle of a Carnaval water fight is a truly wet experience. Before, during and after getting empanadas, we were terrified about getting soaked or hit by a fast flying balloon. Running away from the main square, we headed to the Plaza 25 de Mayo, where we will meet on of our couchsurfing friends, that we arranged to go get lunch with. Ross, our couchsurfing friend is from Ireland, and he is living low in Sucre, and enjoying life and taking it easy. We headed to a big almuerzo  (lunch) and ate our fill over fun conversation about travelling around the world and making money on the move. After leaving the restaurant, we headed up the hill, which there are many in Sucre, and got to see a beautiful view of the city and the surrounding hills. Sucre is also in a valley and surrounded by very pretty hills and small mountains.

Leaving Ross, we headed back down into town, and right back into the action of Carnaval and water balloons. More marching bands playing the same song, more water guns, water balloons, and crazy people running around. All the craziness in the town really made doing anything, i.e. sight-seeing, internet, doing ANYTHING! Without getting wet.

Getting back to our hostel we got to meet some of our hostel-mates, Brian from Chicago, Tracy and Allie from Canada, and Jesus and David from spain. We bought a bottle of bolivian Singani, a local spirit, and talked conversation about travelling, geography and other things until late into the night.

The next day we hung out around town, made some phone calls, and then headed to a local bar to meet our next couchsurfing host, Philip from Sydney, Australia. Philip is a very tall guy, same age as us, and he is living in Sucre, working for a volunteer agency based on tourism. The restaurant, Florin’s, is an awesome little spot in Sucre, with international food, and even Chicken with peanut sauce sandwich!! Happy hour at Florin’s is 2 for 1 drinks, and they cost 12Bs (1.70$) for two drinks. Nonetheless, we ended up spending the rest of the evening over drinks and very philosophical conversation. Unfortunately we weren’t able to check out of our hostel that night, so we waited one more day before moving in with Philip.

Early that morning, we headed to Philips house, it was nice to go so early in the  morning, because it was not terrifyingly scary, since no one was out with water balloon to soak our painfully exposed packs. Philip is living in a small house with a beautiful courtyard, and beautiful white walls. We moved in, and then headed out into town for the main market. The market in Sucre is really big, and mostly inside. When walking into the market the first thing you smell is meat. And not like roasting meat, but the smell of butcher shop, if the butcher shop had no refrigeration. It is not a good smell. Then you pass through the meat section, and into the fruit section. There is countless varieties of fruit, rivaling but not exceeding the farmers markets on the Big Island of Hawaii. I see huge Papayas, piles of ripe figs, mangoes, Maracuja (Lilikoi, or Passion Fruit), Cherimoya, and many others. We head upstairs, to the restaurant part of the market, where “Almuerzo” is 8Bs(1.15$) and consists of a large bowl of soup, and a big plate with a fried meat, rice and salad, a complete lunch. After lunch we head into the main square and buy some water balloons (1B(0.15$) for 6) and start wailing on all the Bolivians who previously got us soaked. The game is so much fun, everyone on the street is so happy and throwing water balloon everywhere. One young boy threw a balloon at a girl of the same age that was unarmed and as he turned around with a big grin on his face, he was face to face with all 6’5” of Philip with arm outstretched to reach maximum torque for the waterballon directed towards the kid’s chest. It was quite a sight, he got what he deserved. A little later another kid threw a balloon at Philip, and Phil subsequently put a balloon down the kids shirt and soaked him! Phil definitelt had built up anger (in a good way) from the past month of getting soaked by the occasional teenager.

We all had a great dinner that night and then headed back to Florin’s for their party night on the last night of Carnaval. As we walked in we noticed a large difference from the last time we were there, this time it was extremely lively, loud music, and a multi-colored spotlight about to go on. We met up with our friends from the hostel, 2 of Phil friends, and 2 more friends that we met earlier on the trip. Pretty soon, during a second round of happy hour, the music really started going, and the colored lights were on. They started the party with “I’ll tell you what I want” by the Spice Girls! Followed by the safety dance, chicken dance, YMCA, popular indian music, Dutch pirate songs, and other popular music that I haven’t heard in years. The owner came out dressed in a large Christopher Columbus style out fit, wig and all. Pretty soon the outfit got passed to Phil, who in all his glory, claimed to be “Captain Cook” and then the outfit passed to me, and we all danced the night away.

The next day, our last day in Sucre, we laid low, headed back to the market and enjoyed town not being soaked in waterballoon! Nobody was getting wet any more, Carnaval was over! Sucre was so nice, when you weren’t worried about getting soaked at every corner. We headed to the bus station and got some tickets to a nearby town, Potosi, said our teary goodbyes to phil and headed out of town, for the high elevation(4000m) and cold of Potosi.

Sucre was awesome.





Sucre sounded great. Potosi is a little south from where you are on the map. So, you will be in Bolivia for a while ? When are you making your way to Peru ? Tasha is here today for her 21st birthday, and we are just relaxing. We are getting a LOT of snow tomorrow and anticipate no school, AGAIN. Mom is still reeling from the party... it was great fun.
Love, Holly

  holly Mar 2, 2009 11:18 AM


Hi travelers,

Glad you are seeing so much. I did learn something--I had thought that La Paz was the capitol of Bolivia. I had never heard of Sucre. Susan and Terry were here for 3 days and it was super having them here.

Stay well and be careful
Aunt mary and uncle mark

  aunt mary Mar 7, 2009 1:12 PM


Thanks so much for such a vivid description of the Carnaval and the dancing. I also like reading about the prices of things. I am wondering if the drinks are good like in the USA. Is the liquor taste about the same?
Laina, your dad is in Hawaii and I guess the winds were like a Monsoon.
He had dinner with your cousin Suzi last night.
Love, Aunt Pat xx

  Rich and Pat Mar 16, 2009 10:22 AM

Add your comments

(If you have a travel question, get your Answers here)

In order to avoid spam on these blogs, please enter the code you see in the image. Comments identified as spam will be deleted.



Travel Answers about Bolivia

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.