Sucre has had many names since it was founded by the Spanish in 1538. The town’s first official name was La Plata, but it was just as often called Charcas. In 1776, after splitting the region from Peru, the Spanish changed the name to Chuquisaca. Locals now refer to Sucre as la ciudad blanca (the white city)—and no wonder, since by government edict all buildings in the center of the city must be whitewashed each year.
It was in Sucre that the region declared its independence from Spain in 1825. The country was named for its liberator, Simón Bolívar. Sucre was the country’s original capital, but the main government functions were transferred to La Paz in the late 1800s, leaving the Corte Suprema de Justicia (Supreme Court) as Sucre’s main governmental function.
Although its population now tops 200,000, Sucre—with its ornate churches, cobblestone streets, and broad plazas—retains the feel of a colonial town. Its moderate year-round climate, relaxed pace, and friendly people make it a perfect place to take a break from the demands of high-altitude traveling. Some of the best boutique hotels in Bolivia have sprung up in and around Sucre, eating options are good, and the nightlife has something to offer everyone—there are at least two high-quality artisan beer brewers in town. The landscape around the city is worth exploring. and there are great side trips to be done to Tarabuco or to check out the dinosaur prints outside of town. Considering the poor accommodation options in Potosí, it is worth considering using Sucre as your base and visiting the city on a day trip.