The countryside surrounding Sucre is full of lovely gems that allow travelers and locals alike to escape the hustle and bustle of Bolivia’s second capital city. The Siete Cascadas in Sucre provide a wonderful way to experience nature around the city in a convenient day trip. While the waterfalls themselves were not particularly incredible in comparison to others we visited in South America, the scenery was pretty, the hike was enjoyable, and hiking here was a budget-friendly activity.
Getting to the Start of the Hike
There are tour companies that offer guided trips to the Siete Cascadas in Sucre. If you opt for a tour, the tour company will organize your transport to and from Sucre. However, this is an activity that can be easily and cheaply done by public transport.
From calle Junin by Mercado Central, take a combi labeled ‘Q’ or ‘12’ and hop off in Alegria. The ride is about 30 minutes and costs only 1.50 Bolivanos per person. The bus will drop you off along a paved road in Alegria. Continue north on foot until you reach the edge of town. You’ll come to a small red shop called Tienda Las Siete Cascadas. From there, head down the steep hill along the path until reaching the valley bottom and river bed. The locals were friendly and helped point us in the right direction.
Hiking to the Siete Cascadas in Sucre
Once you reach the river bed, continue hiking upstream. You’ll come to a fork in the river bed where you’ll continue to the right. Depending on the time of year, you may have to cross the small bridge downstream and walk the ridge above the river if the water flow is high. However, if you’re there between April and November, the water level may be low enough that you can walk along the river. This requires some scrambling, but it is nothing too extreme.
Note that if you are there between April and November, the water level may be too low for good swimming. Even if there is a pool at the base of the waterfall, the water may be murky and the waterfalls could just be a trickle. When we were there, there was still a small flow, but we weren’t too keen on jumping into the muddy water.
We reached the first of the falls after about 35 minutes. All of the falls are fairly close to each other, but the upper falls are more difficult to reach and require some scrambling and hiking steeply uphill. The first two falls are the easiest to access and the most popular with locals on a warm weekend day. If you want to hike further, hike upstream from the second waterfall on the right side of the river along a faint path that takes you up the cliffside. None of the falls are more spectacular than the others, so if you don’t feel up for hiking past the first couple, you’re really not missing out.
After you’ve enjoyed your time at the falls, head back to Alegria the way you came and catch a passing bus back to Sucre.
The hike to the falls is pretty secluded. When we went, there were only a few other people that we crossed paths with the entire time. We recommend not going alone, as a few locals warned us of muggings along the trail. Because of this, we did not bring much cash or our larger camera. Also use caution when scrambling among the large boulders because some can be slick. If injured, you are a far ways away from getting help.
There is little to no shade along the trail, so bring plenty of water and sun protection.
Siete Cascadas Overview
Hike Type: Out and back
Hike Distance: Just over 1 mile from the edge of Alegria to the first of the Siete Cascadas. This distance could vary depending on the route you take and whether you decide to hike past the first falls to visit the others.
Hike Duration: 3-4 hours roundtrip depending on how far you hike in, how much time you spend at the falls, and hiking speed
Cost: 3 Bolivianos for a roundtrip ride between Sucre and Alegria
What to Bring: Quality walking shoes, small change for bus fare, sunscreen, swimsuits if you want to swim, light jacket if hiking in early morning or evening, snacks and/or packed lunch