After the harsh environment of the Altiplano and our trip to Salar de Uyuni we were looking for a relaxing place to settle for a while. Sucre came to the rescue with its laid back atmosphere, friendly residents and gorgeous weather. Sucre is also known as the white city as the town is surrounded by well preserved white washed colonial buildings. It wasn’t before long that we fell for this beautiful town.
During our week’s stay, we enjoyed doing the following;
Give back to the community at Condor Cafe
Calle Calvo 102
We found this little gem of a place one afternoon walking around the city. What attracted us to have lunch there in the first place was the fact that the sign outside the cafe said it was a non profit establishment and also fully vegetarian. We were welcomed by the lovely Romina, who we later found out is one of the owners, and ordered a delicious veggie lunch. We loved the food and the atmosphere so much and the fact that our money was going back to improve the lives of local communities, that we ate most of our meals there and ended up getting to know the owners and their story.
Randall and Romina opened their restaurant over a year ago working really hard to get their permits as both are non Bolivians. They had this fantastic vision of setting up a place where people can hang out and have drinks/food while the money they pay goes directly to the projects mainly involving the education of the local children. Most of their customers are tourists so one may call it a gringo place but what differs this place from other gringo restaurants we visited in Sucre is that everything is very reasonably priced as Randall and Romina believe it’s not fair to put the prices up so that they can get more money from the tourists while most Bolivians wouldn’t be able to afford to eat there! You will be leaving this place with a full belly for under £2! They also organize tours in an around Sucre and again all proceeds go to the projects they are involved in. I really admire what they are trying to achieve and I hope that more people contribute to their wonderful mission of making this world a better place by either joining one of their tours or having a cuppa if they find themselves visiting Sucre!
Enjoy the sunset at the Mirador Cafe in La Recoleta
It’s a steep hike up to La Recoleta but well worth the effort for the wonderful views on the terrace overlooking the city while watching the colors changing at sunset with a cold beer in your hand. We were also lucky to have caught a local band playing traditional music while were were there.
Take Spanish Lessons
We have been travelling in South America for 3 months now, although our Spanish is getting slightly better, we’re still struggling to build a full sentence at times. We have also been listening to some audio and watching lots of movies with Spanish subtitles. It helps a lot but not enough so we decided that we would take some classes in Sucre as we were recommended a good Spanish School there. Unfortunately on the day we were going to our first class, I fell ill and was bed ridden for the next two days, Ian persevered with the lessons and taught me what he learnt afterwards. He attended the Sucre Spanish School and was very happy with his teacher. He paid 42BOB (approx. £4) per hour for a private class which was very reasonable compared to prices we were offered when we were in Argentina, hence postponing our search for a language school till we got to Bolivia.
Get lost in the dizzying Mercado Central
The vibrant stalls of fresh fruits and vegetables line up Sucre’s busiest market. You can also find variety of spices, pastry and home made cheese at this main farmer’s market. We enjoyed our big glass of freshly squeezed mixed juices on a lazy Friday afternoon stroll around the market.
Visit the colorful Tarabuco Market
The market is held every Sunday in the town of Tarabuco, about 60km outside of Sucre, where Yampara families from rural communities sell their products. We were advised by a local guide upon arrival how to recognize good quality woven goods as opposed to a mass produced products. We really appreciated the introduction as some of these families have a really difficult time selling their products, mostly taking them around 3 months to weave, due to sellers coming from Sucre with their unoriginal items selling them way below the average price to attract more customers.
The market is a great exhibition of wonderfully reserved traditions of indigenous Yampara culture. Some of the art work on display are plain gorgeous and you can’t help but admire their skills in producing such complex weaving.
They also don’t like tourists taking their photos as they believe with every photo taken they loose a part of their soul. We respected their beliefs so didn’t take any pictures of the Yampara people.
By mid afternoon, the market slows down considerably as most sellers pack up to walk back the few hours to get to their communities.
Museo Casa de la Libertad (House of Liberty Museum)
It is here that Bolivia signed its Declaration of Independence from Spain back in 1825 and there is the portrait of Simon Bolivar believed to be the most lifelike reproduction of Bolivia’s independence hero. The first Bolivian constitution drafted by Simon Bolivar was also approved here. There are many galleries in the building dedicated to the history of Bolivia. Also, the room dedicated to Mariscal Sucre is one of the highlights of visiting one of the most important buildings in Bolivia’s history.
Be amazed at the ASUR Indigenous Art & Textile Museum
The museum features a variety of hand loomed weavings from the Jalq’a and Tarabuco Communities (South Central Bolivia). The traditional designs include serpents, condors, llamas and other animals from indigenous mythology. What the most mesmerizing fact is that these designs are handed down from one generation to another and woven completely by memory!
There is also a section in the museum where you an watch an introductory video of the procedure and the history of weaving plus the different examples of traditional music and dance. There is also a very well written guide book in English, French and German which explains in detail the various exhibits and is very helpful in understanding these amazing cultures and their beautiful histories.