If you’ve just arrived to town after a trip to the Bolivian Salt Flats, Sucre will likely be the first taste of urban Bolivia you will encounter. Declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1991, Sucre will dazzle you with its white washed buildings, terracotta rooftops and leafy central plazas. It’s the perfect place to spend a few days, or a few weeks immersing yourself in Bolivian culture, taking some Spanish lessons and enjoying the variety of local and international foods available in town.
A good place to start your day is at the Central Market where you can buy more types of fruit and vegetables then ever imagined for a fraction of what it would cost back home. For a real treat head to the back where the fruit salad ladies will whip you up a most delectable treat, complete with whipped cream, dulce de leche and granola for about $1.50 CAD.
After you’ve had your fill of fruit you can hop on the Dino Bus to visit the Cretaceous Park north of town where the largest number of intact dinosaur tracks were discovered outside a cement quarry, over 5000 in total. There is a guided tour that tells you how they were discovered and a number of dinosaur models, artifacts and information about the dinosaurs that once roamed the area.
Back in town it is worth getting a guided tour of the Casa de la Libertad to understand Bolivia’s history with Spain from the original takeover to their independence in 1825, after which a number of other wars were waged with Chile, Argentina and Brazil, each time seeing Bolivia lose more and more land to its neighbouring countries.
Also worth a visit if time allows is the central cemetery, about a 15 minute walk from downtown. While it doesn’t have the scale of Recoletta’s cemetery in Buenos Aires, it is certainly impressive with its large and elaborate crypts, green spaces and fountains.
Prices in Bolivia are the cheapest on the continent with basic rooms starting from $12/night and meals for less than $5 a person at a decent restaurant. For a real treat, it’s worth the splurge to stay at The Dulce Vita, a charming boutique hostel run by a lovely European couple who left their lives back home to start their dream hostel in Bolivia. It’s a beautiful hostel with spacious rooms that are tastefully decorated, western style hot showers and a large sun deck where it’s easy to spend the afternoon lazing in a hammock with a good book. For about $25 a night for a private room, it’s likely the nicest place you can stay in South America at these prices.
Jen’s Overall Recommendation: Sucre is a great place to base yourself in Bolivia if you want to learn Spanish or spend a longer amount of time in one place. It’s affordable, safe and easy to navigate on foot.