Sucre - The White City

Monday, 19 February 2018
It is indisputable that Sucre is Bolivia’s prettiest city. Now, you may be keen to point out that winning the title of most beautiful city in Bolivia may not mean much by the state of the competition. However you would be wrong to group Sucre in with the likes of La Paz and Cochabamba, two of Bolivia’s biggest cities. Known as the white city for its many white colonial buildings, Sucre almost feels European. Fortunately though, despite its modernity in parts, Bolivian prices still prevail, meaning those travelling from Chile, Argentina or Brazil will feel relatively rich and may want to settle down for a bit. Well, that’s what we did. Two weeks have flown by in Bolivia’s capital city and sadly it’s time to move on. Here’s how we spent our time in Sucre through some Top 5s of the city...

What to do? Where to go?

  1. Spanish school

Sucre has gained a bit of a reputation for offering Spanish lessons on the cheap and there are a number of schools dotted around the city. Since we arrived in South America we’ve found it difficult at times to get around knowing very little Spanish and so I jumped at the opportunity to improve. I chose to go with a school promoted by a blog ‘Sucrelife’, called Me Gusta, which had very good reviews. The lessons were of a really high standard going through grammar as well as general conversation practise and the staff were friendly and helpful. Consequently I spent most of my time here. Whilst Lissa did take a few lessons she invested more of her time in finding the best cafes in town! To clarify, the following photos are of the carnival celebrations with the school, not everyday uniform.

  1. Plaza 25 de Mayo

This square marks the centre of town and is a great starting point if you’re new to Sucre. Wonder off in any direction from here to find plenty of great cafes, restaurants and bars as well as to enjoy many of Sucre’s famously white buildings.

  1. Tarabuco market

If your travelling South and are on your way to Chile or Brazil, Tarabuco market is a great opportunity to pick up any last minute alpaca made clothes, fabrics etc that you may have wished you’d bought in La Paz or Cusco. We went in the rain and on carnival weekend meaning it was impossible to not get really wet but it was still worth while. The market runs every Sunday and to get there catch a bus from across the road of the Central Market

  1. Mercado Central 

Sucre itself has a great indoor market where you can buy fruit, veg and meat on the cheap. It’s a great place to wonder around and practise the Spanish you’ve been learning! 

  1. SAS cinema

Most people wouldn’t even consider going to the cinema in a country such as Bolivia but we always find ourselves checking out whether there’s one in the city, since it’s so much cheaper than back home. Well there is in Sucre, at SAS which is also a supermarket and they show films both dubbed into Spanish and English with Spanish subtitles. It’s only £2.50 and just as good as back in England.

Top 5 restaurants/cafes...

  1. Condor cafe

Anyone who’s been to Sucre before will have almost certainly been here. As a tourist, it’s almost impossible to miss. They’re a non profit vegetarian restaurant which serves up great value food, especially if you get the ‘menu del dia’.

  1. Metro cafe

On the corner of Plaza 25 de Mayo, this cafe is equally hard to miss. It’s pretty western for Bolivia and is usually full of students doing work. Nice vibe, good coffee, decent food.

  1. Para Ti

Para Ti is every chocolate lovers heaven. There are a number of shops dotted around town which sell top quality chocolate - something we've been missing a lot since we've been travelling! In some of the shops there are cafes too, which for a small price will give you the ultimate chocolate hit. Try the chocolate espresso!

  1. Cafe Gourmet Mirador, La Recoleta

This is your place for a cafe with a view. It’s a bit of a trek but the views of the city certainly make up for it. If you’re skilled enough to judge the weather and pick a nice day then sit back on one of their deck chairs and enjoy the sunset over the city. Unfortunately we happened to go on what turned out to be one of the worst evenings. But still, the cafe there serves good food and the views are impressive whatever the weather.

  1. El German

This became a fond favourite of ours during our time in Sucre. Whether it be the vegetarian lasagne or the chicken curry with spinach, we never had a bad experience. It seems as if one woman runs the whole place and for once in Bolivia, service really came with a smile!

Our top tips for Sucre:

  1. Although on paper it may not seem like there’s much to do in Sucre, it’s a great place to settle down for a bit, relax and not feel like you’re always living out of your rucksack. It’s a super safe city and one of the more pleasant to wonder around 
  2. Make having a kitchen a priority. We’ve heard a lot that there aren’t many supermarkets in Bolivia, but there is a decent one in Sucre (SAS). Bare this in mind and get a place with a kitchen if you fancy a change from eating out every night. We stayed in a really great Airbnb, click here for more info.
  3. Expect to get wet during carnival! Although very unlikely, if you do happen to be here in February check if it’s carnival weekend, as it’s tradition for children to throw water balloons and sorry foam across the 4 days!
  4. Taxis are super cheap and we didn’t have any problems with them at all. Although all the cars seem a little worse for ware, we found them to be safe and cheap, normally only having to pay 10bs per ride and without being ripped off at all. 
  5. People are laid back here - even by Bolivian standards! This means if you want a menu go and get it, if you want the bill, go and get it!
Hope this is useful!

Thanks for reading, 

Will & Melissa

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