Sweet as Sucre

Sucre it seems for many travellers is a place to relax in the middle of the madness and mayhem that is Bolivia. For us, it was just that, and a good place to catch up on r’n’r, eat good food and soak up the Bolivian vibe without being thrown into chaos.

As put in the Lonely Planet, “one could be forgiven for thinking that Sucre means sugar, because this place is sweet”…as.

We spent almost a week in this sugary little city, eating well and walking amongst the white-washed streets of the city centre.

Below are some of the best restaurants and cafes we found in Sucre, with good food and atmosphere:

· Pueblo Chico, Plaza 25 Mayo – good salads and coffee housed in a rustic indoor courtyard.

· El German, 231 San Alberto – German restaurant with yummy vegetarian food and great value almuerzo ($3 for 3 courses plus a drink). Although the service left a little to be desired.

· Pizzeria Napoli, Calle Argentina near the square – easily best pizzas we’ve tasted in South America.

· Jolie Bistro, 225 Arenales – French influence, good steak and real espresso.

Sucre is the judicial capital of Bolivia. While La Paz, the altitude-challenged constitutional capital is said to be a crazy labyrinth of a city (we’ll soon let you know), Sucre is laid back and quite straightforward.

The most excitement to pass through here was la marcha, the protesting Indigenous people of the TIPNIS who have walked from La Paz, through Potosí and now to Sucre in objection of the proposed highway to be built through the protected national reserve.

 

Sundays are sacred in this very Catholic town. There is a colonial-style church on every corner and the main graffiti you’ll see is “Jesus te ama”…Jesus loves you.

Most travellers and even some locals head to Tarabuco on Sunday, as did we. Tarabuco is a small Quechua village 65km and 2 hours drive from Sucre, known for its Sunday markets.

For the Yampura People, opening their village to tourism through the Sunday markets is a way to show people their culture and way of life through arts, crafts and music.

The down side is that the most convenient way to get there is by tourist bus. It is possible to take a local micro, but that would mean taking a taxi to the bus terminal and changing for a micro there, the whole journey ending up longer and more expensive. Most locals go by car. And it is full of locals.

Of course that means debarking with a busload of tourists in a small traditional village. Not great for lessening the tourism impacts in this Indigenous town, but learning some of the local lingo, being sensitive to local customs and the fact that it is a small village and not a tourist attraction will help you to tread lighter.

Most people in Tarabuco speak Quechua as their first language and only few speak Castillano. Here are some of the phrases we found most helpful:

· Arí: yes
· Manaracha: not now (a polite way to say no)
· Mana: no
· Pacchi: thank you
· Amu Jiná Kay: please

And just for fun…

· Melcho/melcha: sillybilly
· Sip‘u siki: wrinkled rear end
· Suwasqa wasi hina simiyoq: you don’t have any teeth!

After a week of relaxation and having bought a few quality textiles from local artisans at the Sunday market it was time to move on to our next stop…Buena Vista

Hasta Luego!

“Llaqtakunaq atipayninwan, teqrimuyuta kuyuchisunchis.”
When the villages work together, we will turn this world around.

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  • Natasha Malinda from Melbourne, Australia
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