Insider South America Series, Chapter 9: Sucre, Bolivia
The next destination we visited in Bolivia was the constitutional capital, Sucre. The reason we went to Sucre, to begin with, was that it is also the unofficial travellers capital in South America for learning Spanish.
We stayed here for two weeks having a 2-hour private lesson every day by the most amazing teacher we could have asked for. Shout out to Carla for being awesome! If you plan to do the same thing and spend a bit of time here while you get your Spanish down, you are going to want to know what else you can do during the day, where to buy food, where to eat and party and just as importantly, where to stay?
Related: Insider South America Series, Chapter 8: What to Do in Salta, Argentina
Where to stay?
Staying in Sucre a week or more there is going to be some things you will want to look out for to make your lengthy stay a bit more comfortable. Location, price, beds and wifi being among the top few. A free breakfast won’t go astray either. We stayed in a fantastic hostel only a few blocks (5-minute walk) from our Spanish lessons, the central plaza, markets, restaurants and shopping areas.
We found our hostel on Booking.com - “Casa de huespedes Isabella”. Equipped with all the necessities, you will need and a full kitchen, we enjoyed our stay here and strongly recommend you do the same! All though it is not a party hostel, it is reasonably social, and only a 2-minute walk from Kultur Berlin (big party hostel) and all the bars in the area.
What to do?
First of all source your Spanish lessons! We were incredibly lucky to have met a new friend a few weeks back who put us in touch with a fantastic private tutor who charged an incredible rate. If you wish to be put in contact with Carla, please send us a message on Instagram, and we will have it arranged with you. Otherwise, there are many schools in the area that specialise in Spanish lessons. Either ask your hostel or simply walk around the city with your eyes peeled.
These lessons will serve you immensely as they still are helping me now! With your lessons organised, time to look around the city and find out what you can do? Here is a list of what we did and things we think made Sucre special to us.
Sucre is home to many museums telling you the history of not only Sucre but Bolivia in general. Including the wealth and gold mining in days gone by, naval and military and many more.
The museums we enjoyed most are Museo Historico Militar. Giving you a full history on Bolivia's military, displaying planes, guns bombs and everything in between. Definitely one for the boys. Museo Del Tesoro gives you a history on the gold, silver and precious metals/diamonds and the impact it had on Bolivia's growth.
Viewpoints and churches
There are many places scattered throughout Sucre offering beautiful views of the city and surrounding mountains, as well as some being amazing structures for you to walk around and explore yourself.
Firsty, Basilica de San Francisco - even though you can not climb to the top, it is famous for the beautiful white arches out the front. Make sure your camera is ready to snap a shot of the colonial architecture between passing cars.
Temple San Felipe is also a hidden gem. You are only able to get in the late afternoon - 4.30pm onwards as it is technically a school. The entry is not the main entry at the church but about 20 metres back towards the main square. You will pay your entry fee and walk through the beautiful square in the middle, before climbing up to the rolling roof and 360-degree views of the surrounding city and mountains. It is a local gem, and many people do miss this temple - don’t be one of them.
La Recoleta is another higher viewpoint of the city. A small walk to the top lets you relax, grab a coffee and watch the city. TIP: Come here during a thunderstorm, and you will be treated to an amazing light show with thunder and lightning beaming down to the steel rods on almost every tall building - including churches!
If you are willing to get up reasonably early, there is a couple of half day trips you can merge into one day. Visit Parque cretacico, which is about the prehistoric history of Sucre, and Bolivia and is also home to the world's largest collection of dinosaur footprints, and, Cal Orck’o Cliff. The world's largest paleontological site. Including an unbroken 347 metre long trail of a baby T Rex, now known as “Johnny Walker”.
The next day trip we found to be a little disappointing but impressed with the architecture and history. Grab a cab here as its super cheap, and visit La Glorieta castle, have a stroll around the pink castle and pretend you're living a Disney dream.
The last recommendation we have for the city itself is to visit Espacio Cultural Origenes. Which is a live show including a 3-course meal. All about the preservation and teachings of Bolivian dance, art, landscapes and development. At the end, you will also be taken on stage to get groovy with the crew. For more info, check it out here. It is a must do!
Top tip: On your way out of Sucre, we would 100% recommend you to partake in the Maragua crater trek! It is either a 2-3 day tour depending on your preference and you can do it solo or with a guide. It will take you into the heart of the crater, where there is a small town you can stay in for a night or two. Back to the wilderness and to see some more, raw, Bolivian beauty.
Follow us on Instagram for pics of our adventures at @rysys_world_tour and @ethanharwood80 or get going on your own adventure. Be the one who is telling the stories instead of just hearing about them!