Top Markets in La Paz
The steep streets of La Paz house some of the world’s most distinctive markets, where vendors in petticoats and bowler hats sell everything from vibrant textiles to dried turtles to exotic fruit. Here are a few of the best markets in Bolivia’s sky-high capital city.
Witches Market The city’s best known market is the Witches Market (Mercado de Hechecería or Mercado de Las Brujas), famous for uncommon wares such as dried llama fetuses, withered frog corpses, and owl feathers. All are part of local Aymaran rituals meant to bring love, luck, health, and abundance. A market visit is especially rich with a small-group walking tour, as guides can explain the significance of products within Aymaran culture. It’s wise to be respectful when photographing vendors and goods in this sacred space.
Mercado Rodríguez Foodies flock to Mercado Rodríguez, one of the city’s best spots to sample Bolivian cuisine. The stalls of this mostly outdoor market are bursting with exotic fruits, fresh fish from Lake Titicaca, and an incredible variety of colorful potatoes. Try a salteña, a baked empanada filled with meat or vegetables. Visit with a walking tour to learn about unfamiliar foods and make the most of the experience.
Mercado 16 de Julio This sprawling market in El Alto, open Thursdays and Sundays, is a local favorite for its vast range of products—food, clothing, electronics, and much more. Bargain for brightly colored handmade blankets and other souvenirs, or simply walk the streets and marvel at the surprising array of things for sale, from used cars to live animals. Mind your wallet as you work your way through the sea of shoppers. To arrive in style, combine your visit with a cable car tour to El Alto. An added bonus: As you float above the neighborhood, you’ll be able to admire the cholets, fantastical buildings by Bolivian architect Freddy Mamani.