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Birthplace of modern Bolivia, World Heritage-listed Sucre is widely agreed to be the country's most charming city. Sometimes known as La Ciudad Blanca (the White City) due to its elegant whitewashed colonial buildings, it's surrounded by soaring mountain peaks. From above, it's a sea of red tiled roofs and bell towers. Bolivia's government has moved to La Paz, but Sucre remains the country's constitutional capital. It's a popular destination for studying Spanish, which gives the city (and its nightlife) a buzzing youthful atmosphere.
The Sucre hostel scene features lots of colonial houses, with central open-air courtyards and plenty of space to socialise. You can stay in a rustic former family home with a small art gallery, a laid-back hostel with colourful murals and an in-house Spanish language school, or lively accommodation with two courtyards, a garden and a nightclub. Several Sucre hostels have free breakfasts (which tend to be buffet-style and generous), and you'll also find barbecue facilities, picturesque balconies and activities such as free salsa lessons.
The heart of Sucre's old city is its main square, Plaza 25 de Mayo, where you'll find shady trees and historic architecture, including the grand State Government Building. Head to Central Market's busy streets for stalls piled high with colourful fruit and vegetables, spices and local delicacies. Outside the city, the area around Maragua Crater has surreal landscapes (said to have been formed when a meteorite hit) and ancient cave paintings, while Yotala town is a popular destination for mountain biking.
There are plenty of things to see and do in Sucre. Casa de la Libertad museum explores Bolivian history in the building where its Declaration of Independence was signed in 1825, while the Museum of Indigenous Art has exhibits including traditional Andean textiles. The airy colonnade at Plaza Anzures is worth a visit for its outstanding views out over the city. A few kilometres away, you'll find the Parque Cretácico, home to the largest number of dinosaur footprints found in one location anywhere on Earth; particularly impressive is the Cal Orck’o wall, with more than 5,000 tracks.
Alcantarí International Airport is about 25km from Sucre. To get into town, you can take a taxi or minibus (40-60 minutes). Sucre Bus Terminal (2km from the centre) has services running to La Paz (about 13 hours), Potosi (3-4 hours) and various other Bolivian towns. Taxis here are inexpensive and easily available, and you can also catch regular local buses to get around Sucre and its environs.