The 6 best markets in La Paz
La Paz, Bolivia’s capital, is located on the Andes’ plateau at more than 3,500 meters above sea level. A beautiful destination, the city is home to a few markets which are great for picking up bargains. Here’s a rundown of some of the best markets in the city
Located on the streets Jiménez and Linares between Sagárnaga and Santa Cruz, the witches’ market is a great place to pick up handmade leather goods such as beautiful rucksacks and colorful Aztec print handbags. Its name isn’t coincidental – this market does in fact sell a wide variety of traditional herbs and medicines associated with witchcraft. If you’re curious, you can get your palm read or future told by one of the wise market stall sellers.
Melchor Jimenez, La Paz, Bolivia
Mercado 16 de Julio
This huge market stretches all the way through the main square, Plaza 16 de Julio, and beyond. Whatever you need you’ll find it here: clothes, food, animals, tools, cds and more – the market is a bargain hunter’s paradise. Eternally busy, you should watch out for pickpockets here, but other than that you can roam freely, haggle down some prices and shop until you drop at one of the city’s largest street markets.
Opening hours: 6am-3pm Thurs & Sun
Plaza 16 de Julio, La Paz, Bolivia
Located in the middle of Plaza Pérez Velasco and Calle Figueroa is Mercado Lanza, one of the city’s principal food markets. A wonderful spot to sample some local food, here you can find incredible value lunches and breakfasts, where a two-course meal can cost as little as £1. Marvel at the array of exotic fruit and vegetables on offer, and snack on the Bolivian version of an empanada, a salteña, that you can get from one of the main cafés in the market.
Ingreso Callie Potosi, La Paz, Bolivia
While it might be less than encouraging to hear that for a bargain you should head to La Paz’s black market, this is just a name – the Mercado Negro is just another one of the city’s many markets and has nothing dodgy about it (other than its notoriety for pickpockets, so look after your belongings). Selling everything from clothes to camping gear, head to this market if you’re looking for cheap products which needn’t be the best quality. When you’re paying 20p for a headlight you can’t really complain, can you?
Opening hours: 6am-8pm Mon-Sun
Calle Murillo 727 between Graneros and Santa Cruz
A much calmer and organised market than some of the larger ones in the city, Ayni includes more than thirty craft workshops selling artisan handcrafted goods. Over 200 families come here to sell their goods, and the market’s selling environment guarantees they’ll be decently paid for their work providing a safe space to exhibit their skills and cultural diversity. Here, not only can you get some incredible goods and gifts to take back home but you can also be sure in the knowledge that those making the products are receiving a fair wage.
Illampu 704, La Paz, Bolivia
More of a show gallery than a market, Comart Tukuypaj offers exquisitely made fair-trade llama and alpaca goods and artesanías (artisanal goods) from around the country. Here, if you haggle enough, you can get yourself some incredible handmade goods, such as jumpers and bags, for a wholesale price. Upstairs there’s an Inca Pallay women’s weaving cooperative, which exhibits some famous Jal’qa and Candelaria weavings.
Linares 958 Rosario, La Paz, Bolivia
The Culture Trip | By Eve Bidmead