Sucre, Bolivia: Travel/Tourist Information Guide
Sucre is the political capital of Bolivia. Sucre is in the Department of Chuquisaca and famous for its agreeable climate and the beautiful, well maintained center that is one of the sites listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
It is also called ‘La Ciudad Blanca’ (The White City) and is the calmest city not only in Bolivia but in the whole of South America. Travelers looking for peace and quiet would certainly love the calm, relaxing atmosphere in Sucre. The city is full of historic buildings and prehistoric sites in the surrounding towns and the countryside. Apart from that it also has a renowned theater and indigenous culture which attracts tourists with an active interest in historic and cultural activities.
Sucre’s history is closely linked to Potosí as the city gained recognition as an attractive retreat for wealthy and influential figures connected to the silver mining industry of Potosi. Despite the colonial rule, the orderly and elegant architecture of Sucre reflects a neo-classical style as compared to the disheveled, crooked streets of Potosí. Sucre’s got its original name, Ciudad de la Plata de la Nueva Toledo (city of the silver of New Toledo) based on the huge significance silver played in its development.
St. Francis Xavier College of Chuquisaca which is the second oldest university and one of the best in the country was founded in Sucre in 1624. Universitario, which is Sucre’s football team in the Bolivian league, originated from St. Francis Xavier College.
Sucre was known as a center for progressive thought and became the capital of Bolivia post independence. However, as the silver industry diminished in importance, the power shifted gradually from Sucre and at the end of the nineteenth century the seat of Bolivian government was moved to La Paz. Although, Sucre is still the constitutional capital of Bolivia, it is only the judicial branch of the government that operates from there.
Other important information:
- The official currency used is Bolivianos.
- The migration office is on Calle Bustillos in case one needs to extend the visa.
- For book lovers, there are several small book exchanges like Bolivia Specialist, Joyride Cafe or Backpackers Sucre around town.
- Internet is mostly slow and usually over-priced. One of the best places for internet which is also one of the few to have the option to use Skype is found on the corner of calle Calvo and calle Padilla.
- The town has plenty of ATMs, especially near or on the main Plaza. The BCP provides U.S. dollars in addition to Bolivianos (Of the 2 ATMs; the one on the right provides U.S. dollars).
- Places providing Wi-Fi facility are Cosmo Café (4G LTE), Joy Ride Cafe, Florin, Kulturcafe Berlin, Hotel Kolping, Amsterdam, La Posada. The central plaza and the food court above supermarket SAS also have free Wi-Fi facility but the network may not be too good.
Safety precautions: Beware of falling prey to robbers especially important for women travelers as there have been reports of women travelers, alone or in pairs being targeted for robberies in the center of town. A typical scene is that of a young man starts a conversation about hotels or hostels claiming to be staying at the same one as the target. After that, another person arrives on the scene in the guise of an undercover police officer claiming that there is an issue with the passport. It is advisable never to show a passport to anyone or get into a cab called by somebody else as sometimes a cab also is part of the setup. Some people have had all of their possessions stolen in this way.
Near the Central Plaza there are usually uniformed police (Policía) who can come to help and most people in Sucre would be more than happy to help a stranger. There are also restaurants catering to tourists where one can get help, such as Joy Ride or Florin.