Sucre: The White City with Dinosaur Tracks and Lots of Culture

Sucre_capital_de_Bolivia

I love to find out things like when cities are capitals of their country but I had never realized it. When you travel to different countries you are sure to come across some facts like this. Just like I did in Sucre.

I had never even heard of this city before I arrived there but it turns out that it is the legal capital of Bolivia and it was once a massively wealthy city, playing a key role in the independence movement in South America. It is also known as the city with four names, because it has been called at various times Charcas, La Plata, Chuquisaca and Sucre. It is also known as the Ciudad Blanca, or White City.

I had kind of hoped that the current name of the city was something to do with sugar, as it would prove that my years studying French hadn’t been entirely wasted. Sadly, it turns out that one of the continent’s libertadores had this surname. That is why you will find Sucre used as a name for streets and plazas all over Bolivia and further afield.

A Neat and Tidy Place

índiceFirst impressions of the city are that it is a neat and tidy sort of place. If you are arriving from the likes of La Paz or Potosi then the outskirts of the city will look familiar, with half-finished houses and quite a bit of rubbish lying around. However, once you get closer to the centre you will find a captivatingly pretty and welcoming little city.

Sucre is known for its white buildings and traditionally tiled rooves, making it one of the prettiest cities you will see on your travels. The centre is a great place to walk around and soak up some sun, with a decent number of classy restaurants and hotels to choose from as well.

If want to see some culture while in South America then this is a very good place to do it. There are some excellent museums and historic buildings here, along with a spectacular cathedral. This is also the only city in the region where I went to a theatre. I was lucky enough to catch the week long cultural festival – I think it is in August each year – and got to see a Chinese youth orchestra play. I also saw a couple of relatively famous Latin pop stars and a few other shows about town, so it is definitely a recommended time for coming here.

If you are passing through here you will probably enjoy Sucre but might find that there isn’t all that much to do in the relatively compact centre. There is a nice park with an unexpected miniature model of the Eiffel tower but even this won’t hold your attention for all that long.

Instead, there a couple of day trips you might be interested in making. First of all, you could go and hunt for dinosaurs. The area just outside of Sucre is one of the world’s dinosaur fossil hotspots and you could take a tour out there to look at some of the giant tracks left behind by these beasts.

The other tour worth going on is out to Tarabuco. The indigenous people from this small town are famed for their craft skills. Every Sunday a giant market takes over the town and you can head out to look for some bargains. The selection of goods on sale isn’t all that different from in the backpacker’s part of La Paz but the setting and the high percentage of locals who go there makes it a different experience.

All in all, I used Sucre as a place to recharge my batteries and eat and sleep well after the more difficult high altitude destinations in Bolivia. It is definitely worth planning a few days here to do the same.

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