A week in the White City of Sucre, Bolivia | Things to do there
Updated: Jun 9
Often referred to as the white city, sucre is awash with colonial architecture. As with all cities in Bolivia it is based around a central square which emanates the familiar buzz of friends meeting, children feeding the pigeons & office workers enjoying a cold drink in the shade. But here one thing is obviously missing...there is a severe shortage of street sellers advertising their fresh orange juice, chopped fruit and sweet treats. Our Spanish teacher told us that in the historic centre street selling has had been made illegal (you do get the odd one flaunting the rules). This does give the city more of a quiet, modern feel, but also takes away some of the local culture and made it extremely difficult to get my daily fix of freshly squeezed orange juice!
Table of contents
1. Things to do in Sucre
There is no doubt about it, the main thing that people go to Sucre for is to learn Spanish. There are many Spanish schools & most hostels offer lessons too. This is because Sucre has got a name for being the best budget place to learn Spanish with the locals speaking clearly and relatively slowly & not using a massive amount of slang.
To read about our experience with Me Gusto Spanish Classes, click here.
Visit the dinosaur footprints
Dinosaur footprints of Cal Orck’o houses some of the best preserved dinosaur footprints in the world. With over 5,000, it even has the footprints of Argentinasourus, the biggest dinosaur discovered!!
Getting to Dinosaur footprints of Cal Orck’o
There are a couple of ways to visit Dinosaur footprints of Cal Orck’o:
Public bus number 4 – this will definitely be the cheapest way to visit costing only a couple of Bolivianos. We do normally opt for public transport over tourist buses but the route is notorious for having a very irregular timetable so you could be waiting a long time for a bus to get there & away, resulting in you missing the free guided tours (we felt these were extremely informative so you don’t want to miss these!).
Jump on the Dinobus - This was the route we had planned when we set out for our day. However, when we got to Cal Orck’o to catch the bus from the main square (it usually stops right outside the cathedral) we found that the square was closed for a marathon. We decided to go to the closest open street in the hope the bus would pass this way, but the time it was due came & went with no sign of it. I think this was an anomaly due to the race. The Dinobus should be a good option for solo travellers but if there are a few of you it may work out cheaper in a taxi. If you do manage to catch it, it will leave at 11am ensuring you make it for the tour.
Taxi - We found that a taxi to/from Cal Orck’o worked out cheaper than the Dinobus. As there were others waiting for the bus that never arrived, we opted to jump into a taxi together. We flagged down the next cab that passed (there are loads in Sucre), the driver said 20Bs…perfect! After our morning in the park, we simply crossed the road where there were loads of taxi drivers waiting & asked for a cab back to the centre. They all said it would be 30Bs to go back (I supposed you have limited options once you are out there), either way it was 50Bs for the 4 of us which worked out at 10Bs less than the Dinobus would have been & we didn’t have to work to the Dinobuses schedule, bonus!!
Chill in the Plaza 25 de Mayo
Like most cities in Bolivia, there is a main square which is named after something to do with the fight for independence from the Spanish colonial era. The Plaza 25 de Mayo square is a main focal point for locals to meet day/night so it’s a great spot for tourists for a bit of people watching & while a way an hour or so. A very popular past time there seems to be feeding the pigeons, you can buy some seeds from venders around the square if that tickles your fancy.
Walk up to Plaza Anzurez
Wind your way up the back streets to Plaza Anzurez to get brilliant views over the city. There is even a small bar here if fancied a pit stop.
Visit the Mercado Central (market)
Bolivians don’t like supermarkets; they’re generally more expensive & the food isn’t as fresh. We always like to buy fresh fruit & vegetables (smoothies too!!) from the market but generally shy away from fresh meet due to the lack of refrigeration. Although in the central market you are probably going to pay the “Gringo Prices”, it’s still likely to work out cheaper than the supermarket & much more fun! The market is also a great place to practice some of the Spanish you’ve spent all those hours learning!
Sucre is known to make amazing chocolate!! Our favourite spot was Para Ti, they even have chocolate espressos which were awesome!! However, be warned, they are only for extreme chocoholics!
2. Where to stay in Sucre
Casa Los Jazmines – This place was absolutely perfect for what we needed. Relaxed atmosphere, cheap, spacious, a well-equipped kitchen & space do our homework.
3. Where to eat/drink in Sucre
El Patio Salteñeria
Popular with the locals for breakfast & the best place to sample salteñas.
Amazing fresh deep filled sandwiches made on a Venezuelan type of flatbread.
Try the Poke Bowls here, they’re delicious!
This place is rated well on Google; we went for lunch & it was pretty good, but we weren’t blown away. The reviews do mainly lean towards the evening being a great atmosphere so it may be worth a try for dinner.
Try the Street food outside the Central Market
As a general rule with street food, look for the places crowded by locals & that will probably be the best food around. Out of the street food we tried near the market, the best ones were Relleno de papa (stuffed potato in breadcrumbs, a bit like a kibbeh) & Tucumano (stuffed pastry parcels where you crowd around a cart with sides like onion & spicy salsa & top up your pastry as you eat). See Bolivia food & drink for more information.
4. Where to get good coffee in Sucre
We found a great chain of coffee shops in Sucre called Coffee Bike, as a general rule we do try to avoid chains but this one really does make a good coffee. We visited most days after class for a little caffeine boost before heading back to the apartment to complete our homework.
5. Getting there & away
We arrived in Sucre from La Paz by bus which is a well serviced route taking 10-12 hours. To save on a night’s accommodation we opted for a night bus rather than a daytime one. After heading to the bus station to negotiate price (as usual it was much cheaper than online) we decided to travel with 6 de Octobre, as they were the cheapest & we were extremely happy with the ride. It was 90Bs per person for a cama seat (see guide to bus travel in South America).
Our next destination from Sucre was Tarija. Tarija is a great little stop if, like us, you are en route to Salta in Argentina. Tarija is the home of Bolivian wine, yes, they really do make wine (read more about it here). Getting to Tarija from Sucre was another overnight journey. We went with 6 de Octobre again as we had such a comfortable journey last time. The trips cost was 75Bs each & is 8 hours (8pm-6am).
Sucre is also well linked to Potosi where you can see the silver mines. The journey takes 3hrs & runs regularly throughout the day.
Uyuni is another option, which is 8 hours away on an overnight bus.
One last option would be to travel to the city of Santa Cruz, which is an 11 hour overnight route.