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


Sucre, Bolivia

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 tranquil 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-16th 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 south and east of Cusco and encompassing what is today Bolivia, Paraguay, 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 17th 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.

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°C) 22.4 21.7 22.2 22.4 22.2 21.8 21.8 22.9 24 24.2 24.3 23.1
Nightly lows (°C) 10.9 10.6 10.1 9.0 7.1 4.9 4.6 5.9 8.1 9.9 10.6 10.8
Precipitation (mm) 154 117 103 30 6 2 2 12 24 48 63 118


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 racial violence against the poor indigenous and rural people who voted for him.

Get in

By bus

The bus terminal is about 2 kilometres from the city centre. A taxi to the centre should cost BOB4. This is per person not per vehicle. If you are not comfortable sharing a taxi, you should make this clear.

La Paz - Sucre: minimum BOB45, normal bus BOB90, semi-cama BOB125, full cama BOB180 (Boliviana) BOB150 (Cochabamba).

Oruro - Sucre: minimum BOB30Bs, normal bus BOB50Bs, semi-cama BOB60, full cama BOB95.

Potosí - Sucre: minimum BOB10, normal bus BOB17, semi-cama BOB25, full cama BOB35.

Santa Cruz - Sucre: minimum BOB35, normal bus BOB80, semi-cama BOB90, full cama BOB110.

Cochabamba - Sucre: minimum BOB30, normal bus BOB52, semi-cama BOB60, full cama BOB100.

Tarija - Sucre: minimum BOB60, normal bus BOB83.

By plane

Since the government of Bolivia pulled the plug on the national carrier, Lloyd Aero Boliviano, no international airlines currently serve Sucre's Lajas Tambo airport. Boliviana de Aviación (BoA), operates flights to Cochabamba, La Paz, and Santa Cruz. Amaszonas also operates flights throughout Bolivia and some neighbouring countries. TAM is a cheaper alternative, and also flies to all the major cities.

The airport is about 10 km from the centre. Transportation to the centre is either by taxi (BOB30) or by Micro. Micros do not drive up to the airport but only pass by it. Walk to the road passing by the airport, cross it, and wait for Micro 1 which is going to Av Hernando Siles for BOB2. The airport is notorious for closures in inclement weather. Sometimes no flights arrive or depart for several days. It is always worth checking ahead before arriving as the airport has limited waiting areas. It does have several shops, including a shop selling the chocolate the city is locally famous for.

Get around

Sucre is a small town with regular hop-on buses and plentiful taxis. A tourist bus or private transport is needed to visit some of the attractions outside of Sucre, such as Tarabuco market and the dinosaur footprints. Mostly you will not move more than five blocks from Plaza 25 de Mayo, the main square.



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.





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 and Chocolates Taboada, both with shops just off the central plaza, are the best known, and there are several shops selling artisanal 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.


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).


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.


Bottom line - wormly recommend to try and find somewhere else. Dorm bed BOB40 / Single BOB80 / Double BOB140 (Apr 2012)

Stay safe

There are new reports of women travelers—alone or in pairs—are being targeted for robberies in the centre of town. Typically, a young man will try to start up a conversation about hotels or hostels, and claim to be staying at the same one as the target. Then a "undercover police officer" will arrive on the scene because of "passport difficulties." Never show your passport to anyone. Never get into a cab that somebody else has called for you (sometimes a "cab" is part of the setup). If you are near the central plaza and this happens to you, walk there, as there are usually uniformed police there. If you feel secure enough doing so, scream "Policía!" as loud as you can. Most people in Sucre would be more than happy to help a stranger. There are also restaurants catering to tourists where help can be found, such as Joy Ride or Florin. Some people have had all of there possessions stolen this way—including rings off of fingers.


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