When one thinks about Bolivia
shopping, immediately the well-known witches
market in La Paz comes to mind.
Away from the bustle of the sleek and modern facade of
La Paz, past the quiet side streets and sun splotched
alleyways, Located in the cobblestone streets of the old
La Paz district of Calle Linares, are the narrow aisles
of the Mercado de Las Brujas, or the Witches Market. Bolivian
food, unusual objects, and potions are just a few of the
things you can buy here.
As soon as you begin exploring the strange and colorful
object and jars of strange powders displayed in these
ramshackle stalls, you will see why this is named the
witches market. This experience can really be considered
Bolivia shopping at its most authentic.
A plethora of strange and the armadillos are supposed
to ward off thieves, so this animal can be considered
a large and strange good luck charm. It'll be interesting
to explain when your bag gets scanned at the airport.
The small figurines of embracing couples are to bring
you luck in love and hopefully lead to marriage. Another
kind of these ceramic couples are to be for improvement
of your sex life.
There are two different purposes that the dried llama
fetus fills, the one that is seared on a plate with herbs
and sweets is for good luck in business, while the regular
dried llama fetus is to protect your home. It is widely
known fact that most homes in Bolivia have these dried
llama fetus interred in the foundations of the building.
Both locals and tourists in La Paz go to the witches
market. The stall operators sit patiently and sometimes
engage their acquaintances in gossip with visitors, who
stop their conversation and watch bemusedly as the tourists
ask the requisite questions. Brave the cool morning and
wander the market at its best. You can enjoy a breakfast
on the go and sample some fresh Bolivia food, and savor
the prime stall views. The vendors have plenty of time
to tell you what potion does what or simply fill you in
on Andean folklore and customs.
Aside from strange objects, the market is a repository
for the quickly dying practices of herbal healing that
the people here have used for millennia. A whole new world
of knowledge will open up to you, and you will realize
that there is wisdom here is the Andes that we have no
inkling of in our own country. Herbal tinctures as well
as aromatic high quality boxed herbs from Brazil add to this unique Bolivia shopping experience. You can
also find many of the herbs used for cooking in Bolivia
Santa Cruz, Potosi, Sucre and other towns in Bolivia have
lesser-known versions of the market at La Paz, but with
their own unique twists. A coca leaf reading is one of
the things that the locals come here for. Prayers to Pachamama,
or the mother earth, is thought to be also useful, and
is often included in rituals conducted by these Kallawayas,
or medicine-bringers. Locals rely heavily upon these healers
and soothsayers for advice and traditional herbal remedies.
The market is a thriving bustling center of Bolivia food
and culture, and is increasingly becoming more important
to the economy of cities in Bolivia. The vendors in La
Paz are happy to see a visitor, and a visit to any one
of these markets will put on a smile on both of your faces.