Looking over Sucre

A South American city seems to be worthless without a big statue of Jesus bearing down on it from some adjacent vantage point – and Sucre is anything but worthless. Sucre actually has two big hills looking down on it and rather than waste an opportunity (or freak everyone out with two Jesus’) they’ve put a big statue of everyone’s favourite carpenter on one and his last big carpentry job (the cross) on the other. Not only that but they’ve been spiced up with some neon lighting and make for quite an impressive sight off in the distance after dark – the cross especially.

You can make the hike up to both I’ve been told, but it’s the statue which is the most accessible and visited. The trail starts just by Cafe Mirador a small road turning into a cobbled path which winds it’s way all the way to the top. It’s not really signposted at the foot of the hill and it took a couple of goes and directions from a couple of locals to get us on the right track. Once you’re on the cobbles it’s fairly straightforward and there are 13 checkpoints to help guide you. It’s fairly steep and at this altitude can be quite a work out. The walk up took probably 30 minutes, stopping every now and again to admire the unbelievable views across the entire city.

The road leading away from Recoleta

Reaching the top of the hill it was surprisingly dilapidated around the statue. Lots of rubbish lying around and a barbed wire fence put up to try and stop people breaking into the tiny chapel at the foot of the monument. This seemed to be a token gesture as many windows were smashed and there were actually a few people inside whilst we were there. We were the only tourists at the top of the hill. Other than us there were just some locals who I cynically thought were drunks/junkies to begin with due to their scruffy appearance and odd behaviour, but it became clear they were carrying out some kind of ritual. I don’t know a lot about the Catholicism practiced here, but I’ve heard there’s a lot of old indigenous practices incorporated and this is what I decided was happening.

After about 15 minutes admiring the impressive statue and fantastic views, we made the trek back down for lunch at the Mirador. The path down is much more direct (you could take the steps up but it would be a killer) and there was one final pay off at the bottom as the trees clear and present a completely unobstructed view across Sucre.

View from half way... looking towards my apartment