Bolivia Destinations Latin America

Witch markets and electric stars in La Paz

By day, La Paz is a bustling, pollution-clogged, horn-tooting city. It’s set upon some of the most mountainous landscapes in the world, meaning that its suburbia actually towers above the centre.

At night, it is a different city altogether. Its hilly crests and individual buildings disappear, replaced with a shimmering multitude of blue and white electric stars rising to the heavens. 

Plaza Murillo in La Paz

Plaza Murillo in La Paz is a great starting point for sight-seeing.

This city is not designed for a strict daily itinerary but rather caters to spontaneous meandering. You can spend a whole day at the witches’ market searching for souvenirs. There are multicoloured woven table cloths, llama-patterned mittens, and alpaca-wool ponchos, along with the less family-friendly shrivelled llama foetuses and strange packets of herbal mixtures promising greater love making and other bizarrely sexual feats.

The witches' markets

The witches’ markets have all manner of funky – and strange – souvenirs.

There are the miradores, or look-outs, that involve steady climbs up suburban landscapes to concrete public gardens. Children play on swings and slippery-dips here while adults mull over life-sized chessboards, contemplating strategic moves.

La Paz  valley

La Paz is set in a valley, with outer suburbs ascending high into the surrounding hills.

Few people linger in La Paz. It is a chaotic, unfocused city. Beautiful, but stifling. And after a few days, you feel the call of nature beyond. Where to? The options are endless, including:

 

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