If you like trivia, you might have come across the fact that Bolivia’s capital is not in fact La Paz. Per Bolivia’s constitution it is the small and fairly laid back city of Sucre. However, being the capital is mostly an academic title for Sucre since the main action is happening in La Paz, which is also the seat of government and all the country’s major institutions.
Yet, Sucre is Bolivia’s cultural heart and people from Copacabana to Cochabamba have told us how nice it is and that we ‘ll like it. This prediction turned out to be true. There is not really one outstanding thing that makes it great. However, the whole town has a relaxed atmosphere and we ended up enjoying five full days in the city.
There are tourists in many parts of Sucre but city life somehow simply flows around them, making it feel as if you also live there. It also helps a great deal that Sucre is “only” at 2.800m, making it a lot easier to cope with the altitude than places like El Alto next to La Paz or Potisi, both above 4.000m.
The city also somehow just feels more friendly than La Paz or even Cochabamba. There is lots of agriculture around, thus the market is full of good produce.
It is also easy to navigate. Everything in the center is withing walking distance and the rest can be reached by public transport. Take the cheap and ultra convenient microbuses or “trufis” around town. A ride is not even 20 cents and you never have to wait for more than a few minutes. We took one for instance to visit the world’s largest assembly of dinosaur footprints that run across a huge slap of limestone next to a big cement factory.
Some more partical tips to enjoy the city:
- Drink some freshly pressed fruit or vegetable juice from the countless vendors inside the central market
- Eat at the excellent vegetarian restaurant Condo Café where the backpack tourists congregate
- Do not miss Sunday market in Tarabuco
- Stay at Casa Al Tronco with the best views of any accomodation in town
- Taste yourself through the varieties of potatoes and paltas (avocadoes)
- Watch the students go home for lunch and
- Wander around when the city becomes eerily empty between 12:00 and 14:00 when everyone is on their lunchbreak
- Sip a coffee at Mirador viewpoint
PS: We also found some Zebras here! 🙂 In case you are not yet familiar with them, watch this short video from John Oliver.