With its distinct white architecture and comfortable climate, Sucre is one of the most popular destinations in Bolivia. A quaint colonial city, many of Sucre’s prominent buildings date to the early 17th century, when the region’s silver mines were said to contain enough silver to build a bridge to Spain, with more left over to carry across.
Sucre was the most important city in the region for a century, administrating Spain’s colonial holdings in modern-day Peru and Bolivia. Known at the time as La Plata, or the Silver City, Sucre was a center of learning, art and religion.
St. Francis Xavier College, founded in 1624, was the second university founded in the Americas and remains an influential institution today. The historic city center is lined with 17th and 18th century cathedrals, each a distinct blend of local and colonial styles. Sucre’s tradition of progressive thought and importance as a cultural center is reflected in the fact that it was here that Simón Bolívar planned the region’s secession from Spain. Ironically, despite being the birthplace of South American revolution, Sucre was the last major city in Bolivia to gain its independence in 1825.
Today, the most popular attractions in Sucre include buildings of national historical significance, such the House of Freedom, where Simón Bolívar penned Bolivia’s constitution and the country’s declaration of independence is on public display. Other popular attractions in Sucre include Bolivia’s National Library, several cathedrals and the Supreme Court. Panoramic views of the entire city can be seen through the arches of La Recoleta Museum and visitors can admire18th century architecture at the Church of San Felipe de Neri.
In 1991, the city of Sucre was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its unique and distinctive colonial and religious architecture, which blends local traditions with European Renaissance, Baroque and neoclassical styles.
Although Sucre is the capital of Bolivia and seat of the national judiciary, it lacks the grandiosity and bustle of La Paz and has a laid back, easygoing atmosphere. At an elevation of about 2750 meters, Sucre is a good deal lower than La Paz and offers visitors a mild environment all year long.
Residents and visitors alike lounge in the Plaza 25 de Mayo, sip beer on 400 year-old balconies in the city center, or head out to Tarabuco Mercado, a vibrant market outside of town.
Maybe because of its relaxed atmosphere, Sucre is a popular destination for travelers looking for long-term volunteer opportunities and the city offers many Spanish-language schools for travelers looking for an immersive language experience.
Our Favorite things to do in Sucre:
- Lounge with a beer in Sucre’s central plaza, Plaza 25 de Mayo
- Visit the birthplace of South American independence, the House of Freedom
- Explore the bustling Tarabuco Market
- Admire views across Sucre at La Recoleta Museum and viewpoint
- See Cal Orko, the where over 5,000 dinosaur tracks are frozen in the rock