BOLIVIA – Must do Sucre day trip: Cal Orcko dinosaur tracks & Glorieta Castle

Sucre was the start of my 10 days Bolivia road trip covering most of the Bolivian altiplano. Sucre is a beautiful example of a Spanish colonial town. I recommend staying at Hotel Villa Antigua as it’s located in an old colonial Spanish mansion. Exploring the city is of course one thing you must do but two places just outside of town are worth half day trips. One is the Glorieta Castle which played a role in a very curious part of Bolivian history. The other place, Cal Orcko, has the best-preserved dinosaur footprints in the world. I enjoyed visiting both places, and I’m eager to share my experience with you including some background history and a gallery of photos. If you visit Sucre, then make sure to visit Glorieta Castle and Cal Orcko dinosaur footprints.

Cal Orcko day trip

Cal Orcko dinosaur park is a must see if you’re in Sucre. There are more than 5000 dinosaur footprints on a huge limestone wall which used to be the shore of a lake 68 million years ago. It’s a 30-minute ride by taxi from downtown Sucre to the entrance of the park. The museum is open all day but to get close to the wall with dinosaur footprints you need to take a tour as you need to enter the cement factory which owns the ground. Make sure that you arrive in time as those tours don’t go every hour.

 

I explored the museum first which is small but has a T-rex on display including some other dinosaur related items. There are a few models in the garden too. The real thing is getting up close to the limestone wall and compare those tracks with the size of your hands. There are over 450 tracks which have over 5000-foot prints. One track is even 350 meters long, the longest in the world. Tracks are eroding away but new tracks can be seen on the next layer but eventually there will be nothing left. The good thing is that Cal Orcko is becoming an UNESCO World Heritage Site and will receive enough money to protect the erosion.

I visited several prehistoric sites and I must say Cal Orcko is amongst my favorite as you can get close to these million-year-old tracks. If you’re in Sucre make sure to include a visit to Cal Orcko on your Bolivia itinerary.

Glorieta Castle day trip

Glorieta Castle (in Spanish: El Castillo de La Glorieta) is a weird but interesting place to explore. It’s what remains from Bolivia’s only princedom that lasted just 35 years. A peculiar part of the country’s history. Francisco Argandoña ruled the principality of La Glorieta together with his wife Doña Clotilde Urioste from 1898 until 1910 when he died. Clotilde kept ruling the princedom until 1933 when she died too and they did not have children so the princedom came to an end.

Francisco was born in Potosi but studied mineralogy in Chile. His field of expertise gained him lots of wealth as he was a shareholder in the Huachuca Mining Company in Potosi. They mined tons of silver worth millions, but he didn’t keep it all for himself. Several charity funds benefited from his wealth and due to his position in various organizations Pope Leon VIII recognized him. Francisco and Clotilde received their titles from him and after they returned to Sucre they build the Glorieta Castle for their princedom.

 

I visited the castle on my way to Potosi but if you don’t drive that way I recommend visiting the castle as a half day trip from Sucre. Glorieta Castle is a beautiful fairy tale pink castle just outside of Sucre. The inside is quite empty without furniture, but several rooms are beautiful decorated with ceiling ornaments. There is a small chapel and one room with paintings from the prince and princess which you should not miss. I explored the inside of the castle in about an hour after which I also had to continue to Potosi. The garden is lovely too but isn’t maintained that good to be honest. If you visit Sucre I do recommend going here as the story behind the Glorieta Castle is very interesting!

It was interesting to explore both Cal Orcko and the Glorieta Castle. Those dinosaur tracks are magnificent and the fact they survived million of years make them a must see. The Glorieta Castle is a castle that cannot be skipped if you’re into Bolivian history. Both places could be visited on a day but it’s more relaxed to do it on two days. If you plan to drive to Potosi, then just visit Glorieta Castle when you drive there as you will pass it. Sucre is the best place to start a Bolivian itinerary that includes the altiplano as it’s the lowest point. Make sure to read my full Bolivia itinerary if you’re planning a trip to the altiplano as it includes all major places.

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Did you visit Cal Orcko or the Glorieta Castle too or do you have questions? Please leave a comment at the bottom of the page. Love to hear from you!

Gallery Cal Orcko and the Glorieta Castle

Check the gallery for more photos taken during this trip. If you like to use any photo for commercial, private or editorial use please contact first for permission and/or pricing.

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