Visiting Tarabuco Market Town in Bolivia

We are up early this Sunday having booked a bus to Tarabuco – an area 2 hours from Sucre and famous as a market town in Bolivia.

The Eventful Bus Ride


We had a bit of an eventful bus trip to get here. You know all about it I’m sure. The loud, the drunk, the rude or the selfish passengers who choose to ruin the trip because of their selfishness that effects many others. Today we meet a couple just like that.

Seating Scam

A regular scam with bus companies to charge a premium price for the front seats, and to sell the same seat to multiple passengers.  This is especially the case if they know you are not fluent in the local language so that when the bus assistant comes on, he will simply ignore you.


We’ve been to get our tickets yesterday and paid a premium so we can book the 2 front seats.  Were given seat numbers 7/8 and assured they were at the front, but when we get on board, someone is sitting there, refuses to move and the assistant tells us we have to take the second to back row.

But even as we get to those, and yet another couple has switched seats to that one and we ended up at the ‘back-back row’.


Alas, we are left with a window that would not open, but I didn’t want my son to get bus-sick. His tummy was still sensitive from being in the hospital just a few days prior. So I ask the couple (who actually had taken our seats) if they could open the window a little. He gets abusive at us as he does not like fresh air and doesn’t even want to open it one centimeter willingly – wow was he nasty.

I explain my son has been in the hospital (not mentioning they had also just taken our seats).

So Snide

Oh dear, the man starts ‘sprouting off’ to all the passengers! He tells me I am an irresponsible mother and I should be back in my homeland and not dragging my son around the world, then he wouldn’t be sick.

Next, he says my son should be back in the hotel and I shouldn’t have him on a bus. Then he says next that his wife has a head cold and will be sneezing all over the bus if he were to open the window.

I so want to tell him maybe his wife should be back in their hotel! The logic is baffling to me!

His snide comments continue over the whole way there to this market town in Bolivia, and passengers shake their head in disbelief.

Someone else opens the window to allow air into the bus and to take a photo, and he starts again!  But it is a pretty warm day, so I think he will lose his battle very quickly.


I wonder when I see so many people that so easily lose control of their emotions, and what gives them such a short fuse? Their power using anger is such manipulation, and I’m sure deep down they feel terrible after they lose control, but yet, some seemily do not.

Why are some people in this world so nice; they rationally work out problems, and yet others just are so negative in refusing to ever try and think of others?

Is Travel Exclusive To Adults?

We meet quite a few couples that really think that travel is a right they have as adults that is not a right that parents with children should also have.  I find this mentality very strange and somewhat self-centered.

I’ve known people that travel with pets who also encounter similar situations, where the pet-free traveler feel he has more rights than the traveler who has their pet.

I refuse to let this couple ruin our day, but it does feel like we have been hit with a bad egg, and we are left ‘wearing the smell’.

Arriving in Tarabuco

When we arrive in Tarabuco (or Tarabuca as some call it), a tiny market town in Bolivia and the guide explains it all in Spanish. I miss most of it and quietly go and find a lady from our bus who can speak English to explain. Thank goodness she is lovely and has been kind to us on the bus!

Market Town in Bolivia

This market town in Bolivia is like yesteryear as time stands still – apart from electric wires, that is. There is a mix of old cars and donkeys. The little donkeys are so fluffy – more like a puppy than a donkey.

We have reserved a table for a traditional Bolivian dance show with lunch. It is best to do this and know the time to return, so we have enough time to shop in Tarabuco also.

Local Life

We head for the center square of this market town in Bolivia as we are pretty sure the markets will be here.

Affirmative – we find the sellers with locals are out in force here in Tarabuco. I love the way so many are wearing shoes made from rubber tires or ‘tires’ as we say back in Australia.


Rugs And Yarns

I love the colored yarns for sale everywhere in the streets of Tarabuco!

We barter for a gorgeous llama wool rug. My son acts up in the shop as he is bored with shopping – I think the bad behavior of the man on the bus has rubbed off.

It is hard to barter and discipline my child at the same time, but I want this rug and I also care more about my son than possessions!  At the end of the trip, I am looking forward to a home decorated from around the world and so we do love quality souvenirs.

So I end the problem by letting my son select the rug.  Probably a big mistake in hindsight as I really don’t like the colors, but at the same time he likes it, and we can move on.

Meeting New Friends

Today just in this market town in Bolivia we meet two lots of people we have traveled with on other buses, or whom we have met in restaurants in Sucre. We run into all these people here in this little mountain town. I feel like I am back home bumping into friends when I am out shopping. We are all on the ‘Gringo Trail’ as they call it.

The Streets Of Tarabuco

So we wander back towards our lunch restaurant through streets, laneways, and alleys in this market town in Bolivia. The houses and the streets are just wonderful. I could have meandered through this town all day but we are out of time – darn!!

My son races ahead. Away from the market streets (which are many), the town is empty. I find him hiding and having a rest in a doorway. Little does he know his read t-shirt is clearly visible, but as a Mum, I would never let on.


Lunch is a 2-course meal and includes the traditional dance show. The lady here is fabulous and she is not only beautiful outside, but inside as well. The couple performs three dances for us and we clap and cheer and have a wonderful time. It is lovely as we sit in the open courtyard under the trees.


They are not wealthy and the costumes are worn, but it is a show of smiles and fun.

Their daughter wears shoes that make a clanging sound. She dances for a good 10 minutes in her colorful costume. My ankles would need a one-hour massage if I performed the way she did. She is great for her age and we are all impressed.

Heading Back To Sucre

Lunch is over way too fast and we are told we must leave this gorgeous little market town in Bolivia. I have no idea why they insist we leave here so early in the day. It is a shame, as I am sure people would shop more if they had more time, but maybe the bus is required for another tour? We have found this before with tours. If only there was a way to arrange our own transport, but I have no idea how. So we head back on the bus and thankfully everyone changes seats, and my son has a good sleep.

Fairy Floss Ice Cream

market town in Bolivia

©Exploramum and Explorason – fairy floss and ice cream

Once we are back in Sucre we discover people eating ice cream with fairy candy floss on top and we want one too. We find the store and line up with the crowds to order.

My son discovers a new flavor, and we go back for more. For $1 it is just the best ice cream ever!


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