Sucre & Potosi

We had heard a lot about the city of Sucre. Everyone told us it was “THE” spot in Bolivia to lurk. We rolled into town ready to be blown away.

I think that sometimes it’s better to discover a place without all the hype. Sucre is beautiful. It’s a really nice place. But our expectations were maybe a bit too high.

But it was all good. We stayed at a great place and I got a ton of Outdoorplay work done.

Stevie also finished her big writing project. I SO want to post her essay on the blog, but it’s entered into a writing contest with a $10,000 prize. If she wins, she’d be disqualified for publishing it on Sprinter Life. So, we’ll all have to wait until the results are announced, THEN I’ll post it!

Another town… another nanny. Soleil is going to have girlfriends all over South America by the time it’s all said and done. This is Norma from Sucre!

Other than work, I got out to rock climb once in Sucre. I had been in touch with Carlos, one of Bolivia’s strongest rock jocks, for the last couple months. It was cool to finally connect. I really liked this kid. Lot’s of spirit!

He took me to one of the secret spots he is developing. It’s a really quality spot, but the wall had no bolts, just white circles of chalk where he’d like to put bolts… if he could afford them. It really brings home how much we take for granted in the US.

Since the routes weren’t equipped with bolts, it was impossible to lead climb, so we had to top-rope.

And since these guys can’t even afford enough bolts to put up a route, I found myself climbing on a single bolt anchor, (standard safety protocol for anchors is always two or more). Happy, happy, joy, joy.

In addition to the somewhat sketchy safety set-up, I found myself diving behind a large boulder for cover when I heard a huge explosion. Small pieces of rock and dust rained from the sky on top of us.

I asked Carlos, “what the f#ck is that???”  – “pucha, Que es eso???”

He replied, “Oh, nothing, they are blowing up the rocks with dynamite. Don’t worry, this is Bolivia. This will happen all day.”

And it did. Multiple times I found myself diving for cover. It seemed lost on my friend Carlos that these guys were blowing up the very walls that he was developing for climbing. Their plan is to build a dam which from what I can tell will wipe out most of the area.

Anyway… that’s just classic Bolivia. Just another day at the crag. Never mind a hardhat. Carry on.

After a few days, I was ready to leave Sucre.

Before leaving a hostel Stevie always tells me to go sign the stupid guest book. My standard operating procedure is always the same.

1) flip through the book until I find Lost World Expeditions.
2) Change the names of Luis Enrique Getter and Lacey Caughey to TREE, Stevie, Sol, & Kiki.
3) Apply Sprinter Life Sticker.

Done. I’ve got the whole thing down to about 3 seconds, and that’s why I’m a baller.

We peeled out of Sucre early in the morning heading for our next destination, Potosi. Half way there I started to get worried about our fuel supply.

We rolled into Potosi on empty, and no gas stations would sell us diesel. This, my friends, was a problem.

Sometimes you have to improvise out here in nomad land. We finally found a trucker who didn’t mind making a few bucks.

sidenote: this reminded me of the time we ran out of gas on the border of Colombia and Venezuela. Good memories. (remember here)

Anyway, he siphoned off 60 liters of fuel, one little can at a time.

I have to say that we really love Bolivia, but damn, this country can take it out of you in a hurry.

Potosi is the city that the Spanish built becuase they discovered huge riches in this mountain. At it’s peak there were over 200,000 people living there, making it the largest city in the world at the time (NYC had only 4,000).

We tried to find a place to stay in Potosi, but had horrible luck. There wasn’t anywhere we could find to park the van. We were also just not vibing the place. The whole scene had a really weird energy (to me).

This is what mother earth looks like after mankind spends 400+ years extracting a stupid metal out of her. Well done team. You win.

We have a rule in Sprinter Life, anytime we’re not feeling a place, we move on. And that’s what we did.

We pushed on to our final Bolivian destination, Uyuni in the southwest corner. That post is coming up next… stay tuned.





  1. Ding ding.

    Where did you learn to ask a trucker for gas? I would never think of these clever strategies. I would have been trying to call AAA.
    Love you guys.

    • I learned how to do this when I ran out of gas and AAA was a long distance phone call that wouldn’t go through. 🙂

      love you

  2. mamatuyas says:

    Climbing in “explosive zones” while hanging on a single bolt anchor! ??? No wonder I’m going gray.
    ( I’m going to buy you some extras to give away to friends).

    • Hey, there were no signs designating this as an “explosive zone”, and I don’t remember reading anything about dynamite in the brochure. So it must be safe… right?

  3. Liz Tompkins says:

    Interesting that it is cold in Bolivia right now. I wonder when it warms up?

  4. Haha! You really made me crack up with your guest book tactics. That sticker looks like it might fall off if you were to move the book. Are you sure you stuck it on there well? 🙂

    • Sheena, you know what Luis would do to me if I actually stuck that sticker on there! It wouldn’t be pretty.

      Looks like you guys are killing it in Asia. Keep up the fight!


  5. Seth Warren says:

    Get ready for a big epic if you are driving Potosi-Tarija. Sketchiest road on the Pan-American…They may have built a new road since I was there (07) but it that drive took us about 40 hours.

  6. Looking a bit chilly… do love the guest book postings:)

  7. Judy Shuman says:

    As always, a precious Gem! ~ So wonderful you were able to connect with the trucker for gas! ~ Tku so much for sharing! ~ Adorable photos

  8. Julie Williams says:

    So I’m here reading your post at 9:55 pm eastern time in shorts and a tank. Steve is wearing a huge coat and Sol is bundled up head to toe. How cold is it there??

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