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Witches' Market (Mercado de las Brujas)
Witches' Market (Mercado de las Brujas)

Witches' Market (Mercado de las Brujas)

Melchor Jimenez, Melchor Jimenez, La Paz, Bolivia

The Basics

The Aymara are indigenous people living in the Altiplano and Andes regions, with a population of nearly two million in Chile, Peru, and Bolivia. Local witch doctors known as yatiri run this La Paz market, and goods sold include folk remedies, raw ingredients and amulets such as dried frogs and armadillos, medicinal plants, owl feathers, candles, and soaps.

Visit the Witches' Market as part of a half-day or full-day sightseeing tour, visiting prominent city monuments such as the Presidential Palace and La Paz Cathedral. Longer tours may combine a trip to include nearby Valley of the Moon (Valle de la Luna), a dramatic lunar-like landscape with dramatic pinnacles and gorges. Multi-day tours add on excursions to Copacabana, Lake Titicaca, and Salar de Uyuni.

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Things to Know Before You Go

  • Witches’ Market is ideal for travelers interested in investigating indigenous culture.
  • The market may be difficult for wheelchairs as the pavements are uneven.
  • It’s not recommended to bring children, as they may get scared.
  • Ask the sellers before taking photos.
  • Some exotic items are fake, so make sure to inspect the items first.
  • Be careful of pickpockets in crowded public places.
  • Bring cash in small notes.
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How to Get There

Witches’ Market is located at the corner of Calle Jiminez and Calle Linares, around the way from the Alpaca Market, and a block from San Francisco Church in the historic center of La Paz. This unusual, colorful market is easy walking distance from most attractions in the old town, and is quite difficult to miss.

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When to Get There

The market is open daily. Come early to avoid the crowds. La Paz, in general, enjoys pleasant weather year-round. Come during festival season from May to June for Fiesta del Gran Poder, one of Bolivia's most celebrated religious festivals, and watch the colorful procession featuring costumed dancers and brass bands.

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Wildcard

Curative Items and Magic Brews As a rule, dried frogs are used to attract financial fortune. Increase your chances by sticking a cigarette in the dead frog. Naked ceramic couples are said to improve one’s sex life or to fix fertility and impotency issues, and embracing couple statues will help you attract a mate. And dried armadillos affixed to the entrances of homes deter thieves.xa0Pose any questions to the witch doctors wearing black hats and carrying coca pouches.

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