STAYING FOR A WHILE IN SUCRE, BOLIVIA

STAYING FOR A WHILE IN SUCRE, BOLIVIA

After weeks on end in tropical climates, we arrived in Sucre, Bolivia, to crisp mountain air, clear blue skies, and a whole new set of unbelievable scenery, a welcome change! We were also ready to stay put for a little longer than usual, so we could get familiar with a place, and practice our Spanish, and Sucre was the perfect place to do just that.

We chose to fly into Sucre from Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia. The 1-hour flight with Boliviana de Aviavion (BoA) was easy and even included baggage for about 360 BOB ($70 AUD/$55 USD). In our eyes, a far better alternative to the 16-hour plus land route which is apparently a bone-chattering nightmare on ancient buses!

After not really understanding anyone in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, and wondering if we even knew Spanish, chatting with the taxi from the airport confirmed that, yes, we did! He told us about a unique Bolivian method of protest: the bloqueo. Apparently, when there are disputes in Bolivia, roads are blocked by angry parties until the situation is resolved. And we had just missed one that was in place from the Airport to the town of Sucre! I’m not what you would do if you encountered this…it may involve setting up camp at the Airport, but luckily we didn’t have to find out.

Our main plans in Sucre, Bolivia revolved around getting stuck into learning some Spanish, as it’s a well-renowned place to take lessons. Better yet, it’s very inexpensive, and a super cute town with gorgeous colonial architecture to be based in for a while.

We studied with Me Gusta Spanish School in a semi-private class, which was just Jack and I with a teacher. It was an excellent way to brush up on some things that are still a bit murky in our Spanish brains and practice conversation. Now that the listening is getting slightly easier, I am realising how hard it is to get speaking skills up to speed. It’s so frustrating to have your mind working at one pace and your mouth at another!

For the first few days, we stayed in a Hostel called Wasi Masi run by an indigenous family. We somehow magically got our own apartment with a kitchen which was the perfect opportunity to cook for ourselves. Then we decided to try a homestay to improve our language skills, which was provided by our Spanish school. It included breakfast and lunch (which was excellent). We got to practice lots of Spanish, and our host family gave us a real insight into the political and social intricacies of Bolivian life. Plus they had really cute dogs, which was perfect because we were missing our dog in Melbourne!

If you plan on learning Spanish in Sucre I highly recommend staying with a family there, it’s a huge opportunity to practise your conversational skills, and Bolivian people are kind and friendly.

Things to do in Sucre

If you have found yourself in Sucre studying Spanish, or just visiting, there’s lots of things to keep you entertained, especially considering it’s a fairly small town.

1. Head up to the Recoleta for an amazing view

I recommend taking a slow walk up to this gorgeous lookout soon after you arrive in Sucre to orient yourself and to see the stunning view. It’s a little steep, and if you’ve come from somewhere at low altitude take it very easy as 2800m above sea level is deceptively hard on your body. There’s cute cafe up the top, or do as the locals do and bring some beer with you to enjoy the mirador.

  

2. Check out the many museums and galleries in town

There are so many to check out in Sucre, you’re spoilt for choice. The ones we visited were quite small, so you could easily check out two or three in a morning/afternoon. We visited the Museum of Ethnography and Folklore (MUSEF) and the Museum of Indigenous Art (ASUR), both of which were worth a look.

3. Sample local food at the Sucre Mercado

The Central market in Sucre has a wide variety of weird and wonderful local dishes to try, including Sopa de Mani complete with chicken foot, Saice which has some rather scary looking black potatoes in it, and Api, a sweet thick drink made of corn. If you’re not quite that adventurous, try some of the amazing delicious tropical fruit Bolivia has to offer. There are some cute fruit vendors on the ground and first floor where you can try Mango-Papaya hybrids, Cherimoya (kinda like a custard apple on tropical weather steroids) and Pacay, which looks like a giant broad bean but is filled with sweet, white, fairy-floss like flesh. Make sure you choose a cool fruit vendor likes you enough to make you pose for a staged photo in front of their fruit stand, example below.

4. Cruise through Parque Bolivar

A surprisingly huge park very close to the centre. Stroll through and observe the raging hormones of the young people of Sucre, slide down a giant dinosaur or scale the eiffel tour. Nope not kidding.

5. Take a free Salsa or Reggaeton class at Joyride Cafe

Sucre is a small town, and the fun thing is nightspots aren’t divided into tourists and locals, they all kinda hang out at the same venues at night. Joyride cafe is one of those venues, and it has a free salsa dancing class that is actually a lot of fun! The teacher was enthusiastic and patient and there was a big crowd getting into it. Directly after the class, our dance saloon promptly transformed into a wild nightclub and while we weren’t planning to stay, suddenly we were being kicked out at 1am. So, a fun night out, even if you’re hopeless at dancing, like we are.


Have you been to Sucre? Tell us what you loved about this picturesque town, or what you would like to do there!

I’m Stephanie and this year I’m taking a break from life in Australia. I’m traveling South, Central and North America, learning Spanish, eating tacos and seeking out amazing swimming spots. When I’m taking time out from that hectic schedule I like to write, read and relax – and pat cute street animals that I really shouldn’t. I probably wrote most of what you’re reading from my hammock and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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