La ciudad blanca, or the white city, is the cleanest city in Bolivia. However, it is not called the white city because of its cleanness. Sucre has earned its name because of the white colonial architecture and the beautiful white houses decorating the city center and parts of surrounding neighborhoods. Like almost everywhere in Bolivia you will see women in the streets wearing the traditional Bolivian clothes: the huge colorful skirts emphasizing the hips (which stand for women`s fertility), the colorful silky shawl and the hats.
The traditional clothes have their roots in the colonial time, when the Europeans forced the indigenous people to wear them. The hats itself were actually first ordered for men. As the indigenous population is smaller than the Europeans, the colonist thought to order smaller hats for their servants. However, even though the indigenous people may be smaller in height, their heads have the same size and the one of Europeans. Thus, the ordered hats were way to small for Bolivians. Instead of throwing those hats away, the colonists sold them to the indigenous women as the newest fashion trend from Europe. And that’s how almost every traditional appareled Bolivian woman ended up wearing those hats.
The most of the backpackers come to the capitol of Bolivia because of its numerous Spanish schools which you can find on every corner. It is even possible to have Spanish classes just for one or two days! Most of the hostels offer Spanish classes as well. Our hostel, the Celtic Cross, offered even discounts on accommodation when taking Spanish classes in the hostel. If you have taken 3 hours of classes, the price for the bed sank to 20 bs. If you had 4 hours’ Spanish classes per day, you did not have to pay anything for the accommodation. Otherwise one bed in a six-bed mixed bed dorm room cost 49 bs. The Spanish classes are mostly individual lessons where the Spanish teachers adjust individually to your Spanish skills, so you can really improve your Spanish here. However, as the Spanish teachers are most of the time Bolivians, meaning Spanish native speakers, they may have some difficulties with explaining the grammar. Still, for the price you can not really complain. Celtic cross, run by an Austrian, is by far the cleanest and nicest hostel I have stayed in in Bolivia. It is located just 10 min walking from the Plaza de 25 de Mayo and 15 min walking from the Central Market.
The Central Market in Sucre is also the nicest and most organized market I have seen in Bolivia. Fresh fruits and vegetables are piled in perfect pyramids and circles and the fresh pressed jugos cost just around 4-8 bs. However, be careful with the hygiene – do not try the fruits the sellers will try to give before washing it! My stomach didn’t like it at all!
10 min walking to the opposite direction of the main square, up the hill, you can find the lovely Café Mirador with a marvelous view over the city and even more delicious breakfast. As a true coffee lover I cannot describe the wonderful feeling of having a good coffee I had, after drinking instant coffee for over one month (other coffee lovers will understand)! Probably the best restaurant in town (also according to TripAdvisor) is the Condor Café. They are offering tasty daily menus just for 25-30 bs, which include delicious soup, main dish, dessert and a fresh pressed juice. A bit more expensive alternative is the French Restaurant La Taverne. However, it is definitely worth the price.
Casa de la Libertad, or the House of Liberty Museum, is one of the most important museums in Bolivia. The English guided tour will show you around and explain a lot of enlightening facts about Bolivian political history, for example why a lot of people think, that the capitol of Bolivia is La Paz. On the walls of the museum, you can salute a painting of every Bolivian President since the Bolvian independence in 1825. Another interesting museum is the Museo de Arte Indígena, where you can observe the beautiful indigenous art of clothing and textiles.
So all in all, Sucre is a lovely stopover on your way to La Paz or Uyuni. You can definitely relax here, improve your Spanish skills, admire the beautiful white colonial architecture and recharge for your further journey.