After La Paz, the next destination on my South American trip was Sucre, a 12-hour overnight bus ride from La Paz — which I wasn’t looking forward to. From the bus trip I learnt a few unpleasant things about Bolivian public transport:

The bus was only scheduled to stop once on that 12-hour ride, and the buses were not the kind of long-haul buses that are equipped with toilets. I was advised to stop drinking water a few hours before departure and not to have any during the trip, as the bus drivers normally turn a deaf ear to anyone’s requests to stop.

When it did stop that one time, it was at a dodgy roadside ‘restaurant’ whose toilets were slightly more tolerable than a hole in the ground. Tip: take hand sanitiser with you everywhere, and avoid buying food from the places where the bus stops.

Plus, I thought it was pretty unsafe for the driver to keep driving for six hours straight without resting.

Note #1: Cheap as it was, Bolivian public transport was very insecure and uncomfortable, and I won’t recommend it to anyone. Next time I would rather pay slightly more for a private car to share with other travellers, if the opportunity arises.

However, once I got to Sucre, I forgot about the bus ride from hell. It was morning on arrival, and breakfast was on my mind. If you are a solo female traveller, you may find yourself enjoying the following, as I did.

1. Have a local breakfast

The Bolivian tour guide I had met in La Paz recommended a place to eat a local breakfast – salteñas, which is similar to a juicy curry puff, filled with chicken or beef. These are widely available around Sucre, but you need to get there early as they sell out by about 10am.

2. Eat and sleep in a charming hotel

Not far from the hostel I stayed in, I stumbled onto the excellent La Postada, a quaint hotel with a lovely restaurant on the ground floor. Here for around USD$10 or less, you can have a delicious three-course meal, plus enjoy it in their cheerful courtyard and soak up the sunshine. If I had known about it earlier I would definitely have chosen to stay there instead.

3. Wander around the quaint cobbled streets

As a Unesco-listed heritage site, Sucre has many beautiful streets and lanes to wander around and get lost in. As Sucre is at a lower elevation than La Paz, the altitude of 2750m should not bother you. Be prepared to walk up many steep paths, but at the top you will be rewarded with wonderful vantage points from which to view the city or stop to admire the many local crafts sold at the street markets. Known as the ‘white city of Bolivia,’ Sucre is also home to stunning colonial architecture.

Note #2: If you plan to shop, Sucre is the only city other than La Paz that has a large variety of Bolivian products to choose from. For the solo female traveller, the silver jewellery is exquisite and cheap. The other main cities, like Potosí and Uyuni, don’t compare in terms of price or selection.

4. Go adventuring in the countryside

Right in the city centre is the Joy Ride travel centre and café/bar. Here you will find an activity or two to suit the solo female traveller, depending on how adventurous you are. When I visited the centre, I was greeted by a friendly customer service representative who recommended either paragliding or horse-riding. After that torturous bus ride, I chose the more peaceful activity. The four-hour horseride, led by a Bolivian ‘cowboy’ clip-clopped amongst the most breathtaking landscapes I have ever seen. Despite the stray pigs everywhere amongst the slums (unfortunately the route took us through them in the first half-hour), and the fact that I ended up with a sore bum, this turned out to be one of my most memorable experiences in Bolivia. After the ride, you can enjoy a comfy drink back at the travel centre, which also doubles up as a cafe/bar with a private cinema upstairs.

Overall, I really liked Sucre with its good mix of warm weather, good food, character, and things to see, do, and buy. Next stop, Potosí, the mining town.

This article was originally published on Art of Solo Travel.

Your thoughts on "Solo female travel in Sucre, Bolivia"

  • Bolivia looks like an adventure holiday. I have heard most of the South American Holidays to be an unforgettable experience. But the one that you mentioned about the Bus ride was annoying. Why are they so inhuman? Drinking Water and going to Toilet are very important in a trip or makes your entire day unpleasant. Its was very sick of the bus people to show such rudeness towards travelers.

    on November 1, 2011 at 6:36 am Reply
  • Horrible though it may sound, I suppose the only thing you could do to lessen the anxieety of not being able to go to the bathroom and being absolutely desperate, is to wear a Depends.

    on February 13, 2013 at 2:10 pm Reply
  • Great article – seems to be a lot of discussion on solo travel at the moment. Interesting to hear your opinion, thoughts and experience of it.

    on February 23, 2013 at 6:32 am Reply
    • Yes, recent events really stirred things up! But everyone at Indie Travel Podcast is a firm believer in the amazing power of solo travel. That's why we dedicate so much time and energy to promoting it!

      on February 26, 2013 at 6:09 am Reply
  • Wow, it seemed like you had a terrible time traveling in a bus but you made it which was cool. And thanks for the tips regarding the public transportations restaurants and restrooms. The good thing is you can have a nice hotel when you reach your destination for cheap to forget about the dramatic experience you had while getting there. I never traveled along and do you feel lonely by traveling like that? If I can't share my experience with my family or friends with me,I feel like I am missing something.

    on January 3, 2016 at 10:24 am Reply

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