Sucre and Potosi
Why visit La Sucre and Potosi?
These two cities are both gateways to the Uyuni Salt Flats, but are also well worth visiting as destinations in themselves. Both have important historical and cultural heritages.
Reasons to visit Sucre and Potosi include:
- Sucre, known as the white city, was the country’s first capital and is widely regarded as Bolivia’s most beautiful city. Today it is the constitutional capital of Bolivia.
- The historic city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a grid of narrow streets, lined by well-preserved churches, convents and colonial mansions.
- Visit the main square, Plaza 25 de Mayo, named for the day Bolivian independence was declared in 1809, it is flanked by the town hall, metropolitan cathedral and the Casa de la Libertad, one of the city’s major museums.
- With its many shops, cafes and restaurants, the square is a good place to spend time sightseeing and relaxing.
- Other attractions include several historic churches and museums, as well as lively markets where you can mingle with locals.
- A 15-minute walk from the city centre takes you to La Recoleta, a former monastery which now houses a museum and offers impressive views over the city.
- Why not explore one of the world’s largest collections of dinosaur footprints, over 5,000 in all, just 5kms from the centre. A visit to The Parque Cretacico, where there are life-size dinosaur statues, a museum, and views of the footprints, adds an interesting dimension to your stay in Sucre.
- Potosi lies at the foot of Cerro Rico (‘rich mountain’) and has long been defined by its mineral wealth, especially silver.
- At one point in colonial times Potosi was the wealthiest city in the Americas and its fame reached legendary proportions with tales of streets paved with silver.
- A UNESCO-listed city, Potosi has plenty of fine colonial architecture including imposing residences adorned with family crests and ornately carved wooden balconies, and grand churches.
- Why not climb one of the many church towers for panoramic views of the city and Cerro Ricco, or visit San Francisco Convent, where there are catacombs that you can explore?
- The mines are still worked today, and you can take a guided tour, not for the feint hearted or the claustrophobic.
- Alternatively you can visit the Casa Nacional de la Moneda, a museum dedicated to the history of the silver mines.
- Stop at a café and watch the world go by as you enjoy some tasty refreshments.
When to go to Sucre and Potosi
Sucre and Potosi can be visited year-round. The dry season (winter) is April to September when days are usually sunny and clear, and this is generally considered the be the best time to visit. The rainy season (summer) is from October to March, with rainfall peaking in January. Weather conditions vary from day to day during this season, with sunny days interspersed with cloudy and foggy days, plus spells of rain.
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facts and information
Time: Bolivia GMT -4 hours
approximately 21.5 hours (no direct flights from the UK)
Language: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara
Visas – not required for British nationals for stays of up to 90 days
Yellow Fever vaccine should be given to travellers 9 months of age and upwards if travelling to areas below 2,300m east of the Andes Mountains. These areas include the whole departments of Beni, Pando and Santa Cruz, and parts of the Chuquisaca, Cochabamba, La Paz and Tarija departments. No other vaccinations are compulsory.