Witches' Market

The Witches' Market (Mercado de Hechiceria or Mercado de las Brujas) is one of the more unique sights in La Paz. Located on Calle Jiminez and Linares between Sagarnaga and Santa Cruz, vendors of the Witches' Market sell llama fetuses and dried frogs for Aymara rituals, as well as soapstone figurines and aphrodisiac formulas.

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What to See at Witches' Market

Located amidst the lively tourist market, the Witches' Market of La Paz sells herbs, folk remedies and a variety of fascinating ingredients used to manipulate the many spirits that populate the Aymara world. Common products include dried herbs, seeds and various parts of frogs and insects used in rituals.

But the most prominent product available in the Witches' Market are dried llama fetuses, which are fairly large and moderately disturbing to the foreign visitor. These are always buried in the foundations of new constructions or businesses as a cha'lla (offering) to the goddess Pachamama.

The llama sacrifice encourages the goddess to protect the workers from accidents and bring good luck to the business. The fetuses are only used by the poor; wealthier Bolivians are expected to sacrifice a live llama to Pachamama.

Often circulating through the market are yatiri (witch doctors), identifiable by their dark hats and coca pouches, who offer fortune-telling services to locals.

Quick Facts on Witches' Market

Site Information
Names:Witches' Market
Visitor and Contact Information
Coordinates:16.496491° S, 68.138430° W
Lodging:View hotels near Witches' Market
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours and prices can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

References

  1. Lonely Planet Bolivia, 50-51.

More Information

© Valeria Lemaître
© Andrew Jones
© Nick Leonard
© Sergio Serrano

Map of Witches' Market

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