By: Noemi Gamel
In Sucre, we decided to do something different. Instead of renting an apartment, we participated in a homestay. For those who have never done one, a homestay means living with a local family, in their home.
Our Bolivian homestay has been one of our most positive experiences of the trip! We are staying in a typical Bolivian home where all the rooms open to a central courtyard. We are sharing this home with a family of five and any other guests that happen to be there (ranging from 1-4 people). While we have two private bedrooms, we share a bathroom, kitchen, and the patio.
Our host family is lovely, sweet, and inviting. They have been helpful and friendly from the start and give us privacy when we need it. These are some of the best aspects of the homestay:
1. The family only speaks Spanish, so Chris and the kids have been practicing their language skills. In fact, our landlords own the Spanish school Chris and the kids have been attending during our 3 weeks in Sucre.
2. We are getting a glimpse into how a real Bolivian family lives. Our host family is part of a large, multi-generational family. One weekend, they had a birthday party for one of the uncles, so we were able to experience the local food and culture first hand.
3. Tristan has been thrilled because he plays futbol (soccer) with the son of our landlords every day.
4. Our host family has cooked typical Bolivian meals for us a few times as a kind gesture (meals are not included in the price), and we have cooked for them too (they loved the traditional Mexican Migas, though it took a bit of running around town to find all of the ingredients). Sharing meals has been a great way to learn more about each other’s life and culture.
5. Like most typical Sucre homes in this neighborhood, all rooms open to an enclosed outdoor courtyard. This means that if you have to go into the kitchen or bathroom when it is raining or cold, you have to prepare for an adventure. This has not been a problem at all, except during the brief hailstorm that came down upon us one day.
Even though I was initially reluctant to book a homestay because I feared the lack of privacy, I am so glad I did. We will all be leaving with great memories and wonderful new friends.
Do you have previous homestay experiences? Share them with us in the comments below!