Existing Member?

Living the South American Dream

Sucre, Bolivia

BOLIVIA | Saturday, 10 April 2010 | Views [1656] | Comments [1]

Sucre was once the official political, administrative and religious capital of Bolivia. After Simon Bolivar strolled through South America and freed latin america from the tyranny of Spanish rule most of the original centres of operation shifted accordingly. Now La Paz serves as the political and administrative head of the country (if I recall correctly). Sucre, however, does retain some command and is also listed as UNESCO world heritage. As a result, unlike the rest of the country, there exist municipal regulations regarding construction and the like. What this means is that Sucre posseses a unique charm and character usually sullied by grime and poverty throughout the rest of Bolivia (and indeed quite a lot of South America). Our first impression as we drove through the city with a very amiable taxi driver was uplifting. Lovely white edifices, quaint balconies protruding from exteriors and lovingly rendered bay windows that lent the narrow lanes and streets a real colonial charm. We had decided that we would spend our time in Sucre in a more upscale location and checked our first options, three and four star locations. They were awfully over priced for what they offered until we stumbled on Hostal Torres (I think). Approximately $12 per night replete with balcony, cable tv, large spacious beds (to fit two) and a kitchen. The trade off was shared bathroom but when you´re the only guests in the hotel its not really shared now is it?

Sucre was hands down our favourite city of the trip so far. It was at this point that we discovered how wondrous the central markets were. Unlike in good old Aus where you head to coles or woolies for your groceries most Bolivians make their way to the central market. Here all colours imaginable are on display in the multitude of fruit, vegetables, grains and meats on sale. A warning!! The meat is unrefrigerated and on display all day.... However, aside from buying produce in the central markets one may also find prepared food for consumption immediately. Our next three mornings in the city thus consisted of a brief fove minute stroll to the central market where we partook in the most scrumptuous breakfast for the princely sum of approximately $2 AUS. Breakfast would consist of pasteles de queso, delicious fried pastries with chees on the inside (picture a pillow about 30cm accross made of pastry with melted cheese filling the airy centre), this was accompanied with ones choice of Api (a sweet, berry-ish, purple coloured drink served piping hot with cloves and cinnamon) or Tojori (a corn based drink, again served hot inviting the sensation of drinking a thin, sweet porridge). Normally two pasteles de queso each would suffice and upon leaving the delightful ladies who ran the stalls (about 5 stalls in total) we would pick up a Buñuelo as well. This was another small sweet pastry that one covered in icing sugar. Admittedly this wasnt the healthiest breakfast but it was the best, and incidentally, cheapest meal around and nothing cheers you up as much in the morning as the friendly invitations from the vendors and their daughters to seat onself at the row of tables lined up out front of their stalls.

Our days in Sucre consisted of exploring the streets and parks and photographing the accompanying edifices and statues. Sucre was also lit up during the night the colonial architecture, a reañ delight. We also discovered the single greatest lemon meringue pie on the continent at this tiny, unassuming cafe just 20m from the hotel.

On this occassion we also lucked out with the once a year indigenous music festival in one of the neighbouring pueblos (unfortunately cant remeber the name). So after three hours on the bus on a saturday morning, having passed through rolling green hills and farmland we disembarked on the towns outskirts and made our way into the hubbub. This place had three things, people, music and FOOD!!!! And my god was there a lot of people. There must have been tens, potentially hundreds of towns represented and what entailed was one long procession of flute playing, drum banging and dancing as the men and women bedecked in their traditional finery wound their way through the tiny packed streets lined with vendors selling food, spices, artesenal wares and everything else. We passed about 4 hours in the ruckus before finding a bus to take us back to Sucre where we finished the day with handmade chocolate and strolling through one of the main parks.

Interestingly Sucre never struck me as nearly as touristy as some of the other parts of South America. I gues because its a little of the beaten track and really only offers colonial attractions, which for Andres and I are the real drawcards of the towns and cities we visit. Some of the nicest food we had was found in Sucre as well as accomodation with the greatest value for money. The people here were also extremely polite and friendly and polite. Sucre subsequently became one of the highlights of our trip but I must admit travelling with a native Spanish speaker opens doors normally unaccessable to a foreign tourist. Travelling with tour groups means you are generally confined to interaction with other foreigners who have as much knowlewdge on the local area as you do.

After three days in Sucre we thought about heading to La Paz but not before some locals insisted we see Potosi, the next major tourist town over. As it was we could only get our next bus from there anyway and decided on one night which would subsequently turned into three as we discovered the history and legacy of the town demanded a more dedictaed stay.

Tags: boliovia´s colonial heritage



Hi Shane. My wife and I are going to Sucre soon for a long stay. You write well as I have read other articles of yours. Keep it up. This is a nice article- thanks

  Bill Kane Apr 10, 2010 3:41 PM

About shanewl

Follow Me

Where I've been

Photo Galleries


Near Misses

My trip journals

See all my tags 



Travel Answers about Bolivia

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