Each year in the first half of September, the serene city of Sucre transforms into a voracious party zone featuring non-stop dancing, joyful music, delicious food and elaborate costumes all in honor of Sucre’s patroness, the Virgin of Guadalupe.
One of Bolivia’s most defining characteristics is the combination of traditional indigenous beliefs and Catholicism. Majestic folkloric dances and traditional music are a highlight of the festival. For weeks in advance, Sucre’s surrounding groups of people gather in the city center to practice parading through the streets, perfecting their routines.
The massive two day parade begins on the second weekend closest to September 15. Celebrations involve thousands of participants parading 7km from Mercado Campesino all the way to Plaza 25 de Mayo where tiered seating with spectators await.
Along the parade there are marching bands, roaring fireworks and typical Bolivian cuisine. Participants energetically sing, dance and march non-stop into the early hours of the morning. Also a feature in the festival program is a huge Mass in the main plaza as well as a reverent procession of the Virgin.
During the festival, all the main streets throughout the city are shut down. Every inch of pavement along the parade route is divided in sections by people renting out seats to spectators. In order to secure a spot for the day, tickets should be bought in advance either through a hostel or by calling one of the tourism office.
Do not miss this enjoyable experience!!