Mercado de Hechicería

Top choice market in La Paz

The city’s most unusual market lies along Calles Jiménez and Linares between Sagárnaga and Av Mariscal Santa Cruz, amid lively tourist artesanías (stores selling locally handcrafted items). What is on sale isn’t witchcraft as depicted in horror films; the merchandise is herbal and folk remedies, plus a few more unorthodox ingredients intended to supplicate the various spirits of the Aymará world.

Here you'll find ingredients like dried toucan beaks, intended to cure ills and protect supplicants from bad spirits. If you’re building a new house you can buy a llama fetus to bury beneath the cornerstone as a cha’lla (offering) to Pachamama (Mother Earth). If you're feeling ill or being pestered by bothersome spooks, you can purchase a plateful of colorful herbs, seeds and assorted critter parts to remedy the problem. As you pass the market stalls, watch for wandering yatiris (traditional healers), who wear dark hats and carry coca pouches, and offer (mainly to locals) fortune-telling services.

Inquiries and photographs taken here may be met with unpleasantness – ask politely first.


Advertisement