Sucre

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Sucre is in the Department of Chuquisaca, Bolivia. The city centre is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

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  • Beach Beach
  • Business object Business object
  • Casino Casino
  • Civic property Civic property
  • Education Education
  • Entertainment Entertainment
  • Golf course Golf course
  • Green space Green space
  • Harbor Harbor
  • Historic site Historic site
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  • Medical Medical
  • Monument Monument
  • Museum Museum
  • Shopping Shopping
  • Skiing Skiing
  • Sports facility Sports facility
  • Theater Theater
  • Winery Winery

Points of Interest in Sucre

  • Cal Orkco is a collection of dinosaur footprints impresioned on a 70 degree wall of a cement quarry, which used to be a lake floor. To visit it take the Dino Truck at 9:30AM, 12:00AM or 2:30PM from the front of the Cathedral at Plaza 25 de Mayo (20 Bs both ways). The guided visit takes about 1.5 hours and cost 30 Bs + 5 Bs for camera (Jun2013).
  • Casa de la Libertad, Aniceto Arce (Central Plaza),  +591 4 6454200. This museum is housed in a well restored and maintained convent from the colonial era. The chapel was the meeting hall where Bolivian independence was declared on 25 May 1825. The museum includes a number of paintings and objects related to Bolivian history, especially to the independence movement and the struggles breaking away from Spanish domination. 15 Bs, +10 Bs for camera.

Casa de la Libertad

Sucre Cathedral

Plaza de 25 de Mayo

National Archive and Library of Bolivia

Universidad de San Francisco Xavier de Chuquisaca

Sucre Central Market

Olimpico Patria Stadium

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About Sucre

Background

Famed throughout Bolivia for its pretty, well-kept centre, and for its agreeable climate, Sucre – ‘la ciudad blanca’ or white city – is probably the most tranquila city in Bolivia (or perhaps South America). While it offers specific attractions in the form of historic buildings and renowned theatre as well as indigenous culture and prehistoric sites in the surrounding towns and countryside, the highlight of Sucre might be its relaxed atmosphere, which detains many travellers for far longer than expected.

Sucre’s history has always been closely tied to that of Potosí. The city rose to prominence as an attractive retreat for wealthy and influential figures connected with Potosí’s silver mines. Although Sucre can be considered a ‘colonial’ city, its architecture is more an example of later, neo-classical style. The dishevelled, crooked streets of Potosí better reflect the chaotic urban planning of early colonialism and the silver rush, while orderly, elegant Sucre is a result of the wealth later spawned by the silver trade. Sucre’s original name, Ciudad de la Plata de la Nueva Toledo (city of the silver of New Toledo) reflects the huge significance silver played in the city’s development.

In the mid sixteenth century the Spanish King Philip II established an Audiencia in Sucre with a jurisdiction covering what was then known as Upper Peru, that is, the land spanning south and east of Cusco and encompassing what is today Bolivia, Paraguay, and northern Chile and Argentina. Although the Audiencia conferred a degree of autonomy on Sucre, it was still a subdivision of the Viceroyalty of Peru. In the early seventeenth century Sucre grew, with the founding of a bishopric, as well as monasteries belonging to various religious orders. Today Sucre is still a centre for the Catholic church in Bolivia.

In 1624 St. Francis Xavier College of Chuquisaca was founded in the city. This university is still operating, and is considered one of the finest in the country, as well as being the second oldest university in the Americas. Sucre’s football team in the Bolivian league is Universitario, and originates from St. Francis Xavier College.

Sucre has long been known as a centre for progressive thought, and in 1809 it was from here that one of the first independence movements in South America began. Despite this Bolivia was one of the last South American countries to gain independence, in 1825. When independence was finally established in Bolivia Sucre became the capital of the new nation.

As the silver industry waned in importance, power shifted from Sucre to La Paz, and at the end of the nineteenth century the seat of Bolivian government was moved to La Paz. Sucre remains the constitutional capital of Bolivia, but only the judicial branch of government is based here. This remains a contentious issue for Sucreños.

Sucre today has become a more conservative city, as the old wealth and power of the city is threatened by the Evo Morales government and its plans for reform and wealth redistribution. During the 2009 referendum Sucre voted emphatically against Morales’ proposed new constitution. Morales remains a very unpopular figure in the city, and the city has suffered from sporadic outbursts of protest since his election in 2005, occasionally accompanied by racist violence against the poor indigenous and rural people who voted for him.

Activities

Sucre is generally known as a great city to kick back in. It is a popular place for people to study Spanish or volunteer, and many who visit end up staying for far longer than expected. While the city centre can be seen in a day (add another day or two if you like museums, churches, cafes, or moving slowly), the surrounding countryside is rich in other attractions, from traditional villages to dinosaur footprints to trekking through the mountains of the Cordillera de las Frailes.

  • Plaza 25 de Mayo is the heart of Sucre, surrounded by the Cathedral, the office of Prefecture, the town hall, the historic Case de la Libertad, as well as a swag of restaurants and bars. Get a shoe shine (don't think by wearing flip-flops you will deter the shoe-shine kids), use the free wifi, grab some snacks, or just watch the world go by. The lion-flanked statue is of Mariscal Jose Antonio Sucre, Simon Bolivar's right hand man and the first president of Bolivia.
  • Sucre is a popular place to learn Spanish and to volunteer. There are many Spanish schools and volunteer projects including the Sucre Spanish School [2] or the Fox Language Academy[3] Fox state that fifty percent of the study fee at Fox goes towards paying for Bolivians to learn English but Fox's contribution to helping kids learn English is a little disputed, due to questions over management. Fenix,[4] a few blocks away from Fox, is a Bolivian owned and managed not-for-profit school that is an excellent alternative. Prices are the same as Fox, but the teachers are better-paid and highly experienced and the funds are put to use appropriately, all the money goes towards helping needy causes in the community. They focus on conversational spanish and making lessons fun. There are plenty of activities like cooking classes, dance classes and wolleyball games. Fenix also offer a variety of volunteer projects including with the elderly, orphans and disabled. They have a facebook page [5] email: s-panishlessons@hotmail.com and the address is Calle Miguel Angel Valda No. 61 (2nd Floor).
  • For a different approach to learning Spanish, check out Spanish in Sucre [6]. In stead of keeping you in a classroom, they take you out to explore Sucre, and learn Spanish at the same time. Because they don't have the typical costs of a traditional school, they are cheaper. Lessons only cost $3,5 for group lessons per person per hour and $5 for private lessons per hour.
  • Walk up calle Dalence, Grau or Calvo from the central plaza to la Recoleta. Although there are often events here, as well as a church and museum, the main attraction is definitely the view of Sucre from the Mirador cafe. The drinks and food here are better than most and not overly expensive. Adjacent Hotel Kolping also has excellent views and a lunch buffet.
  • Take a stroll in Parque Bolivar, the city´s favourite lovers´ hangout. Just don't step on the grass. At the upper end of Parque Bolivar stands Bolivia's supreme court At the lower end is estacion Aniceto Arce, Sucre train station which is currently not in use. If you don't get your fill of old trains in Uyuni, there is another one within the station precinct. Ask permission from the token security guard before you enter, as there is a guard dog here (although she is usually playing with her puppy).
  • Go for a hike to "7 Cascadas" (7 Waterfalls), 8km NE out of town. Take a taxi from Sucre to the tiny village of Alegria for 20 Bs, then walk the remaining 3km. Or negotiate for the driver to take you all the way. Bring food, water, towels, bathing suit, suunscreen as there are no services nearby. The waterfalls make for a pleasant day-trip. You can hike around (wear sandals not shoes, as the path crosses streams) and swim in the natural pools. Please note that as of October 2010 this site was closed due to frequent robberies in the area. Ensure you check with locals before travelling.
  • Several agencies offer tandem paragliding at Bs 450 - 900 (depending on the size of the group). It is a 2 hour very bumpy ride each way to the take off spot. In essence, you will spend the whole day for a 10 minutes flight.
  • Condortrekkers is a tour agency that offers city tours, as well as single or multi-day treks into the surrounding countryside. All profits from tours are used to support other local NGOs and communities. Treks into the countryside focus on understanding the local cultures and ecology and offer the chance to stay with local communities. It is also possible to volunteer with Condortrekkers. For more information visit Condortrekkers [7].
  • Offroad Bolivia for quad and motorbike tours. A perfect day out for friends looking for some real adventure in the countryside of Sucre. Ideal for those who have not been quad biking as well as for those who are experienced riders. We take you on a high ride; we climb up to 3665 meters altitude through unspoiled natural surrounding with superb views. Along muddy, dusty stony trails and through views. For more information visit Offroad Bolivia [8] or call: (591) 46437389.

Food

Sucre offers a wide range of eateries from street vendors and stalls in the markets to elegant restaurants. The large numbers of students mean there are many interesting but inexpensive places to get a filling meal. Probably the cheapest lunches are had upstairs in the market (from 8 BOL).

  • Several small Salteña eateries at the lower end of Calle San Alberto.
  • Joy Ride Cafe. Calle Nicolas Ortiz 14, + 591 4 64 25544 (Fax + 591 4 691 3600, Cell phone + 591 711 73146, Email info@joyridebol.com ),is an Italian (formerly Dutch) run bar, restaurant and tour operator. International dishes. Expensive gringo place with average food. Problematic, but fairly fast WiFi. Staff treated poorly by owner. Feel like a chain. Better options available.
  • Cafe Amsterdam, Calle Bolívar 426, (near corner of Calle San Alberto). Pastas, big sandwiches, great Nachos. Dutch/Bolivian owned social enterprise supporting rural children, good fast WiFi, quiz nights, Friday nights local bands, Bohemian vibe.
  • Pizzaría Napolitana, 25 de Mayo #30, Pastas, pizzas and big sandwiches. A lunch menu cost Bs. 25, -somewhat overpriced, but serves until 5 PM.
  • La Taverna, Acre 835, in the courtyard of the Alliance Francaise. Good French inspired food but using local ingredients and wine. Good continental breakfast at 20Bs, but the place was rarely found open in the morning. Set menu for Bs. 45,- from 12-3 pm.
  • Bohemo´s, Junin 433 (Adjacent to central market on the former Peatonal). 4 course lunch 15 Bs.
  • El Germen, San Alberto 231. Serves a fusion of delicious Bolivian and German cooking. All lunch specials (18Bs) are vegetarian, but you can order meat dishes from the menu (menu dishes take a lot longer to come). Also has great desserts. The restaurant fills up quickly for lunch, so arrive early.
  • Freya, Loa 751. Located within a gym, Freya serves up healthy, tasty vegetarian lunch specials (12Bs). The staff are very friendly and lunch is served until later than other vegetarian options. Food hit-or-miss sometimes and generally not as great as El Germen, but it is a lot cheaper.
  • Florin, Bolivar 567. Serves a mix of Bolivian and international dishes, including shwarma, Thai and an Indonesian feast for two (or more). Great coffee, fantastic krocetten and good fast WiFi. Also doubles as a bar with live music. Cosy and great atmosphere, though it's reputed by some locals as the source of a few food poisoning cases.
  • Novelle Cuisine, Avaroa (Two blocks up and two right from the main square). This parilla is the best steak in town. 30 BOL for a huge bife de chorizo with fries and salad bar. A must for meat eaters. Cheap wine to boot!
  • La Vieja Bodega, Calle Nicolas Ortíz #38. Immensely popular restaurant right off the main plaza and next to Joy Ride. They fill your bowl of soup to your heart's content and have well-prepared, interesting courses outside the standard Bolivian fare. Filling lunches for 25B, though if you buy a meal plan (pensión) for at least 2 days, you'll receive a discount to 15B per meal.
  • Pizzeria Napoli, Calle Argentina,  46452707. Great pizza. Prices range for 25 a (rather small) medium to 55 a big one. Open in the evenings only. Take-away and home delivery.
  • Monte Rosso, Padilla 70 (Four blocks up Calvo from the square, then turn left),  + 591 4 64 35397. 1900-2200 Mon-Sat. A hidden gem, and the best Italian restaurant in town. Almost pathologically averse to advertising (the signage is a 30cm plaque next to the front door, which is kept closed - ring the bell), but nevertheless very popular among those in the know. Roberto is an exceptionally friendly host, and the food is delicious and inventive. It's a good idea to book a table, as the place fills up quickly. 35 Bs.
  • Chifa New Hong Kong, San Alberto 242. Decent chinese food (by Bolivian standards); popular with both locals and tourists. No vegetarian options, but if you're lucky and/or charming enough, they can sometimes be persuaded to throw something together. Advertises delivery, but in practice refuses to deliver. 30 Bs.
  • Salteñeria Flores, San Alberto 26 (A block and a half up the road from the central market). 0900-1130. Next door to the rather more swanky salteñeria El Patio, Flores has faster service, better salteñas, and, unlike its neighbour, is not regularly closed down for public health violations. It's also the only place in town to offer vegetarian salteñas. 8 Bs.
  • Tentaciones Pasta Pizza, Arenales 13 (Half block away from main square next door to Chocolates Para Ti),  46438136. Mon-Sat 09:00 - 22:30, Sun. 11:30-14:30 and 18:30-21:30. Amazing Italian food, only place with a full menu of handmade pasta choices. Pizza (Neapolitan style. Try the Tex Mex and BBQ chicken). Also a great variety of 7" sandwiches, salads, natural fruit juices and awesome fruit combinations. Real cheese fondue, bolivian wine menu, spirits, big breakfast including excellent coffee (from espresso machine), fruit juice, and lots of things on the plate. Really friendly and efficient service, great music. Modern (IKEA-style) decor, excellent desserts (when available). 30-40Bs.
  • Abis café y heladeria, Plaza 25 de Mayo, 32,  6460222. 08:30-22:00. Excellent and real coffee with home-made pastry, home-made icecream, and batidos. It is delicious. Breakfasts, sandwiches, salads, tacos and quesadillas. Cosy and very friendly - Belgian owner speaks 6 languages from 10Bs.

Drinks

Most places on the main square, and down the first block of Calle Nicolas Ortiz, are heavily gringofied, -for better or worse. Sunday is by far the slowest night.

  • In the market there are many stalls selling all kinds of fruit juices and salads. Particularly recommended is the multi-vitaminico, a mix of basically everything in the stall - cereales, fruits, vegetables, and sometimes egg, beer, honey etc - which is a great pre-hike breakfast or a great post-drinking pick-me-up.
  • Alaska, Calle Arce 415. Karaoke upstairs, and dance floor down.
  • El Alfarero, Arce 262. 5 PM - 10 PM. University students run a cheap and cosy cafe with some board games and pingpong table. Also screens films. Students receive a discount.
  • Bibliocafe, near the Joy Ride Cafe got mixed drinks at moderate prices. Also one of the few places in Sucre to serve Taquina Amber, one of Bolivia's best brews. Plays classic rock and pop. Also serves food. There are actually two Bibliocafes: Bibliocafe is more relaxed and intimate; Bibliocafe 'Concert' has some live music and is more energetic.
  • Florin, Bolivar 567. Nightly happy hour from 9.30 to 10.30 sees two-for-one drinks and a regular crowd. Has thumping events from time to time. Particularly popular with locals and the resident gringo population.
  • Joy Ride Cafe. Calle Nicolas Ortiz 14, is also a good place at night. It's popular with the more wealthy Bolivians as well as travellers. The food, though, is sub-par and hot drinks are best avoided if you like them hot.
  • Menfis, Bolivar 650. Warm up venue for young locals on weekends. Large beer 12 Bs.
  • Stigma, Calle Bolivar. Biggest club in town, -young crowd. Fills up at 2 AM. Entry 10 Bs, small beer 10 Bs.
  • Tabaco´s Soul, Calle San Alberto. Never ends.. Plays rock. Check your bill! great mixdrinks served in pitchers. cheap and very social Drinks 15 Bs, 0,6 l beer 11,5 Bs..
  • La Posada, Audiencia 92,  46460101. Just a few steps from the main square the hotel La Posada offers every sunday a nice buffet that is worth the 40 Bs. because of the vegetarian parts. Starts at 12:00, dont be too late, since it can be crowded.

Shopping

Sucre is famous for its tapestries, which are sold at Tarabucco market and shops all around the town. Different tribes or family groups from the villages that surround Sucre all have their own unique style, which is shown in their work by using different colours or symbols. Some tapestries can take up to a year for one person to make, depending on size and complexity. Travelers can help support this tradition by purchasing the tapestries from Tarabucco market, or - at a cheaper price - from the many shops in the town. The best tapestries are sold in Fair Trade stores and at the ethnographic museum.

Locally knitted sweaters, scarves and related items are a good bargain, especially those made from alpaca wool.

Sucre is also famous for its chocolates - Chocolates Para Ti [11] and Chocolates Taboada, both with shops just off the central plaza, are the best known, and there are several shops selling artesanal chocolates between the plaza and the central market. Para Ti also have shops at the airport and bus terminal, although the latter is usually closed.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Sucre on Wikivoyage.

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