We arrived in Sucre very early in the morning and were greeted first thing by the tourist police! We have read all about people posing as tourist police in order to rip off the tourists and at first I was a bit skeptical when a woman (in uniform) approached me with a pamphlet about how to recognize the ‘real’ tourist police. Ever since we ‘lost’ a bag in Mendoza, I have been on super alert in every bus terminal since. Anyway, our really nice tourist police lady gave us some maps and info on all the tourist sites, chased away a pestering ‘taxi driver’, and took us to the taxi rank. What a nice way to be welcomed to Sucre!
As we hadn’t booked a hostel in advance, we needed to find a cafe with internet. We were dropped off at the square and pretty much just walked in to the first cafe we found. It happened to be the Metro Cafe on the corner of Calvo and España. The place wasn’t very busy, but it was very clean and had working wi-fi. While we were waiting for our breakfast, we searched the internet and found a hostel. As we couldn’t check in for a couple of hours, we took our time with our amazing breakfast and then had a leisurely stroll to our hostel.
First impressions of Sucre were very favorable. The architecture is very Spanish with white houses and red, tiled roofs. On the whole, Sucre is very pretty.
We stayed in the Hostal CasArte Takubamba about a 10 minute walk from the main square.
This was perhaps the nicest and cheapest hostel we have ever stayed in. The property had been renovated, was very clean and was in a really quiet neighbourhood. The cooking area is outdoors under cover, but that is not a problem as the weather in Sucre is quite temperate. There was plenty of hot water and the king-sized bed was really comfortable. We booked this on Booking.com and ended up staying a few extra days as we liked it and had to adjust our plans.
Sucre was one of our favorite cities on our whole trip and by far the favorite in Bolivia. There are some lovely churches, museums and restaurants to visit.
These textiles are very old and the designs are very complicated. They are amazing to look at and learn that these are the product of someone’s imagination! No computers or graph paper!While we were in Sucre, we only organised one excursion from the town. We used a company called JoyRide to arrange some horseback riding for us.
As well as a tourist office JoyRide also have a cafe bar. It was our first port of call for lunch on our first day. The food is really wholesome and they have yummy desserts! This was a chocolate cake to die for!
We rode our horses up and down hills on the outskirts of the city. We even had a chance to do a bit of galloping. If there was a downside to our riding experience it was that we ended up riding our horses through a part of the city, with cars. I was personally ok with it, but our novice wasn’t so I took it upon myself to hang back and ride with her. All in all, we really enjoyed the experience.
We unwittingly timed our stay in Sucre during Carnaval. It seems that the whole idea of Carnaval is to see how much water you can throw at everyone with water balloons, super-soakers or anything you can get your hands on that will hold water. There is also the added bonus of being sprayed with foam, or spuma as the locals call it.
I suppose people need to make a living. Here are a few opportunists selling water balloons to the school kids! There would be marching bands on the streets with revellers dancing among them, some armed with balloons. Bob and I got caught out a few times. You had to really time it well when crossing the streets by the square. Fortunately, we weren’t harassed too much. It tended to be the younger people who were targeted. One lunchtime we witnessed a bunch of tourists in their 20’s coming out of the JoyRide Cafe armed with super-soakers. They looked serious. I guess if you can’t beat them, join them!
Because of Carnaval, it kind of put a kink in our plans a little bit. We were hoping to get to Uyuni and do the Salt Flats Tour from there down to Tupiza, but the way things stood with Carnaval, there would be a couple of days where there would be no tours or buses running. We asked the people at JoyRide to come up with something for us, which they did, but it meant we had to stay a few extra days in Sucre. The centre of Sucre is not big and you can easily navigate the town by foot and see everything in a few days. Visiting the churches can be tricky as you need to get up early to go in them or visit late in the afternoon. We weren’t doing early. We had no problem spending time in Sucre as it is a beautiful city and really chilled out. If we had unlimited time, it would be the ideal city to stay in and learn Spanish. JoyRide found us a tour that started in Tupiza. They organised the bus from Sucre to Tarija, the bus from Tarija to Tupiza, the tour from Tupiza to Uyuni, and the bus from Uyuni to Villazon. All we had to do was organise our accommodation in Tarija and Tupiza. This route wasn’t the way we wanted to originally go as Tarija is closer to Villazon and the border and we would have preferred to end there, but sometimes you need to be flexible. We totally bypassed Potosi, as at 4,090 metres it is one of the highest cities in the world and we were already going to spend a lot of time at altitude during the tour. Looking back, we most likely could have saved some money if we booked everything ourselves, but we really didn’t want that hassle at the time as it was during Carnaval.
To sum up Sucre: It is a beautiful city, there are plenty of museums and churches to visit, there are some great restaurants and cafes, the people are friendly, and the weather is pleasant. What more could you ask for? 🙂