Sucre can easily be reached from La Paz by bus, either by a direct and surprisingly pleasant overnight trip, or via some of Bolivia’s other popular destinations such as Cochabamba, Oruro and Potosi.
To get to Sucre from La Paz by bus, there are two main routes. The first goes via Cochabamba and enters Sucre from the North. It takes about 6 hours to get to Cochabamba, then a change and another 12 hours (overnight) to reach Sucre. The direct road between Cochabamba and Sucre is generally described using words like “hellish” – much of the road is windy and unpaved.
The second route takes the lower-lying road through Oruro and Potosi. It enters Sucre from the South on a gently winding paved road, which is considered to be the best road into the city. The trip takes around 12-13hrs, and can be broken up with stops at Oruro and Potosi if desired. Note that buses only run the Oruro to Potosi route at night, so making the entire journey by day is not an option.
It is advisable to avoid the Cochabamba to Sucre leg if you value your sleep and sanity. If you do want to see Cochabamba, it is best to cross to Oruro afterwards and make your way to Sucre from there.
Should you choose to do the La Paz to Sucre route in one go, you’re looking at around a 12-13hr trip, though be prepared for it to take longer in certain circumstances. Given the length and inexpensiveness of the journey, it will generally be worth your while to book a “full cama” bus, i.e. one with seats that recline to form a fully horizontal bed.
The full-cama option is available on the El Dorado bus between Sucre and La Paz, and on Trans Copacabana. Full-cama seats cost around US$20. Other operators offer the cheaper semi-cama option, with seats that recline most, but not all, of the way back.
You can book the buses directly at La Paz bus station. Alternatively a tour operator such as Kanoo Tours (on Av. Illampu in Zona Rossario, La Paz) can make the booking for you and print your tickets off there and then. You’ll need to take your passport with you when you go to make the booking. It is advisable to book a day or two in advance to ensure seat availability.
We had heard bad things about Bolivian roads, and chose to enter Sucre via Potosi to minimize any discomfort. The route turned out to be very pleasant. The road is paved the whole way. From La Paz, the road runs straight and smooth (with only the occasional bump) almost until Potosi at which point it starts to gently meander through the hills, culminating in some beautiful sunrise views of the town. The curves gradually sharpen on road in to Sucre from Potosi, but never reach the point of discomfort – the curves are quite long and slow so you don’t really notice them much. All in all, the journey from La Paz to Sucre is one of the better bus journeys to be made in South America and the reward of reaching Sucre makes it well worth the trip.
Please note: The below information is a guide only and should not be used as your sole means of trip research. When planning travel between La Paz and Sucre we suggest going to the bus terminal or to a travel agency to acquire the most accurate and up-to-date information.
Cost for a one way bus ticket between La Paz and Sucre are as follows:
Buses for Sucre leave from La Paz’s Terminal de Buses at 9.30am, 6.30pm, 7pm, 7.30pm and 8pm.
Buses for La Paz leave from Sucre’s Terminal de Buses at 4pm, 5.30pm, 6pm and 6.30pm.
If you haven’t already, be sure to book your accommodation in Sucre as soon as possible to avoid missing out.
The journey from La Paz to Sucre is cheap and painless, and can easily be done in one go. For those who want to do a bit more sight-seeing along the way, there are a range of options for breaking up the journey to take in Cochabamba, Oruro and/or Potosi.