Parque Cretacico Sucre is home to one of the world’s largest collections of fossilised dinosaur footprints, over 5000 to be exact.
Believed to have been formed an unfathomable 65-68 million years ago during the Mesozoic Era, this area of Bolivia has got history and then some. It’s seriously impressive.
I mean these are real dinosaur footprints! That you can get up close and personal with. It doesn’t get much cooler than that.
In this guide to Parque Cretacico Bolivia you’re going to get the run down on all you need to know about taking a trip to Sucre Dinosaur Park. Including a little bit about the history, how to get there, the best time to visit and entrance fees.
Plus our top recommendations for where to stay in Sucre.
Here we go!
Parque Cretacico Sucre
So back when dinosaurs were stomping around this area of South America, there was a huge ocean inlet. The water, extending from the South Atlantic coast, crossed what is now Argentina all the way until the Valley of Potosi in Bolivia.
And it was on the soft clay shores that the dinosaurs left their mark. The dinosaur tracks were then covered with layers of sediment and became fossilised. Preserving them in time.
The 5000 odd real dinosaur footprints are made up of around 15 different species. With some of these Bolivia dinosaur footprints measuring up to an astonishing 80cm in length.
The most impressive of the Bolivia dinosaur tracks is, however, a 347m trail left by a baby Tyrannosaurus Rex. It’s the only kind in the world.
Parque Cretacico Sucre has the highest concentration of footprints from different dinosaur species. And when discovered it revealed the diversity of dinosaurs was far greater than previously thought.
Sucre Dinosaur Park History
Now a popular Sucre tourist attraction with replica lifesize dinosaurs and museums, Sucre Dinosaur Park once looked very different.
You see, the Bolivia dinosaur tracks were actually discovered in 1995 by a neighbouring cement factory while quarrying for limestone.
Work on that area of the quarry was subsequently stopped and paleontologists from around the world came to investigate the site.
There have been applications submitted for the area on which the dinosaur footprints are – Cal Orck’o – to be designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But as of now it’s still on the UNESCO tentative list.
There seems to be some conflict in that the land is owned by the cement company, Fancesa, which is still a fully operational factory and quarry.
It’s a shame because the designation would bring a welcome cash injection for the preservation of the Sucre dinosaur footprints.
But there are supposedly some preventative measures in place. Such as monitoring systems for the vibrations from the quarry’s dynamite use and heavy machinery running along the nearby busy road.
Cal Orck’o Cliff
Yep, you read that right, the Cal Orck’o paleontological site where the dinosaur footprints are is actually a cliff.
Meaning ‘Lime Hill’ in the local Quechua language, the dinosaur footprints literally run up and down a near vertical limestone wall.
But how are the dinosaur footprints on a vertical wall? Well shifting tectonic plates are the answer.
Millions of years ago a huge shift created the expansive Andes mountain that runs through the South American continent and pushed the ocean outwards by thousands of kilometers.
And so what was once flat clay ground is now a vertical limestone cliff, almost 3000m above sea-level.
During 2010, part of the wall broke off which destroyed some of the dinosaur tracks. But it revealed another layer underneath.
So it’s really unknown how many layers of Bolivia dinosaur footprints there might be at this site.
And there may even be fossilised bones in other layers too.
It was also once closed off from visitors. But you can now go right into the quarry and up to the base of the Cal Orck’o limestone wall.
You can only go with a guide though and you’ll need to wear a safety helmet as a precaution for the occasional falling rubble.
One plan with the UNESCO funding was to install a clear fibreglass layer over the dinosaur footprints.
The idea is to protect against the weather and subsequent erosion of the Cal Orck’o limestone wall. But who knows if this will happen.
Getting To The Bolivia Dinosaur Wall
The Cretaceous Park is in district 2 of Sucre and is situated along the road to Cochabmaba.
It’s around 5km from the centre of Sucre city and there’s a few different ways to get there.
First up there’s a shuttle bus service called the sauromovil (aka dino bus), running from the main square of Plaza 25 de Mayo. It’s normally right in front of the cathedral, you can’t miss it.
It leaves and 9.30am, 11am, 12pm, 2pm, 3pm and a return ticket is $15 BOB each. The dino bus will take you right up to the Cretaceous Park entrance.
The return times are 11.30am, 1.30pm, 2.30pm, 4pm and 5pm.
Another and cheaper option is to just jump on a local bus. You’ll need to take the #4 from the corner of Junin and Arenales, one block from Plaza 25 de Mayo.
There’s one every 5 minutes and Parque Cretacico Sucre is the last stop so there’s no confusion where to get off. And the cost is $2 BOB one way.
It will feel like you’ve got off in the wrong place though because you’ll be dropped outside the cement factory.
There’s a big sign saying Parque Cretacico but it’s not obvious which way to go. In fact it actually points you in the wrong direction!
It’s located behind the cement factory premises, so you’ll need to walk past the main factory buildings and up a short but steep hill.
You’ll soon see the Parque Cretacico in front of you.
You can also take a taxi from Sucre to Parque Cretacico. It will cost you around $20 BOB each way.
There’s not really any need to have the taxi wait for you either because there’s usually plenty. Just make sure you agree the price in advance.
Cretaceous Park Opening Times
Parque Cretacico is open Tuesday – Sunday from 9am – 5pm. It’s closed on Monday.
Parque Cretacico Entrance Fee
Ticket prices for foreigners are $30 BOB plus an extra $5 for permission to take photographs.
The price for locals is $10 BOB and for children under 10 it’s just $5 BOB.
Best Time To Visit Cretaceous Park
The best time to visit Sucre Parque Cretacico is between 12-2pm.
This is because this is when the sun is highest in the sky so you won’t have a shadow over the Cal Orck’o paleontological site and can see the dinosaur footprints at their clearest.
Another reason to visit during this time is because this is the only time that you can go down into the quarry to see the cal orcko dinosaur tracks up close. More on that below.
Parque Cretacico Tours
There are two available Parque Cretacico tours. Both of which are included in your entrance fee and available in Spanish or English.
The first tour of Sucre Dinosaur Park will take you around the gardens and introduce you to the life size reconstructed dinosaurs.
You’ll learn about the different species of dinosaurs that have been found here in Bolivia and in Argentina too.
It lasts around 20-30 minutes and starts at 10am, 11:30am, 12:30pm, 2pm and 3pm.
Even as a model replica, the massive long necked Titanosaurus is seriously impressive.
You’ll also touch on the history of paleontology in the area, with more on that to come in the second footprints tour.
Dinosaur Footprint Tour
The footprints tour is the one that takes you down into the quarry right next to the Cal Orcko paleontological site and is the best part of visiting the Cretaceous Park Bolivia.
So do be mindful that this tour only runs twice a day at 12pm and 1pm. And that you have to go down with a tour guide, it’s not possible to go on your own.
This tour lasts around 45 minutes including getting up and down into the quarry.
Just to prepare you there are lots of stairs involved in going down into the quarry, and back up. Plus you are at altitude making it even harder.
You are advised to wear hiking shoes, but trainers are fine. Just don’t go in flip flops or open toe sandals.
As you walk along, the guide will point out the different types of dinosaur footprints that crisscross the limestone wall and explain in more detail about how they formed. Of course, you can’t touch them!
Take water and sun protector because the area is exposed and during the midday sun – it gets hot hot hot.
You can see Cal Orck’o from the museum viewing platforms and there are some telescopes but it’s not at all the same as seeing the Bolivia dinosaur tracks up close.
Buses and traffic in Sucre can be a bit of a nightmare so our advice is to leave early and aim for the 12pm quarry tour but know that you have the 1pm tour as a backup in case you are stuck in traffic.
It took us around an hour to get there the day we went.
Dinosaur Footprints Bolivia
For the dinosaur mega fans out there, these are the specific dinosaurs that are featured at Parque Cretacico:
- Sauropods, theropods and ornithopods (footprints)
- Tyranosaurus rex (skeleton and footprints)
- Titanosaurus (sculpture and footprints)
- Iguanodontian (sculpture)
- Abelisaurian (sculpture)
- Carnotaurus (skeleton)
- Hadrosaurs (footprints)
- Ceratops (footprints)
- Ankylosaurus (footprints)
As well as a few museums with fossils and replica dinosaur skeletons, there’s also an audiovisual room showing the BBC documentary ’Caminando con Dinosaurs’ (Walking with Dinosaurs).
There’s plenty to keep you entertained for a couple of few hours.
Where To Stay In Sucre
Sucre is one of the most popular places to visit in Bolivia, so there are plenty of great places to stay.
However, this also mean that the very best accommodation gets booked up quickly. We’d suggest booking well in advance to avoid missing out on your first choice.
Here’s our pick of the best places to stay in Sucre for very budget.
Affordable Luxury: Hotel Boutique La Posada
Just 200m from the main square, staying in this gorgeous colonial building is a real treat. The rooms are spacious and all have private bathrooms and WiFi. There’s a cracking restaurant and bar on site, with room service also provided.
Reviews consistently point out how helpful and friendly the staff are. Breakfast is included, there’s parking available and a lovely terrace to chill out on. Choose from single, double, king and family rooms.
Mid Range: Casa Verde B&B
This popular place to stay in Sucre is a rare find. Why? Because along with it’s beautiful patio, it also has a swimming pool. All rooms have private bathrooms and hot showers.
A good breakfast of fresh fruit and eggs is included and there is a large shared kitchen for use at lunch and evening times. Plus it has a great central location, just a few blocks from the main square.
Cheap and Cheerful: KulturBerlin
This is the hostel that all backpackers passing through Sucre gravitate to. The tastefully renovated huge old house has a well equipped shared kitchen and also a courtyard and terrace garden.
There’s usually something going on most nights of the week so it’s a great place to meet people. And there are a variety of rooms to choose from whether you’re after a dorm, a private room, a family room or even a loft studio.
Bolivia Travel Insurance
As with any trip abroad, make sure you have a good quality travel insurance in place.
Our go to travel insurance provider is World Nomads. They have a no bullshit approach to policy wording & are perfect for adventurous travellers like us.
Plus you can buy a policy even if you’ve already set off on your travels.
Get a no obligation quote here: