South America Living

Witchy Woman….

Witch-in-La-Paz

It’s easy to find. Located, ironically, right behind the Iglesia de San Francisco. The Witches’ Market located on Calle Jimenez and Linares between Sagarnaga and Santa Cruz is a don’t-miss destination in La Paz.

For many, this will be their first encounter with the Aymara spirit world. And despite the fact that it has grown in popularity with tourists — the market is as authentic as they come.

dried llama fetus

Vendors line the streets selling the raw ingredients used in rituals and potions that call the spirits.

Among the many items sold at the market are dried llama fetuses. Dried frogs are used for Aymara rituals.

Soapstone figurines are used for casting spells. Aphrodisiac formulas for well… organic viagra.

There are owl feathers, armadillos, dried turtles and snakes, herbs, and folk remedies.

Yatiri (witch doctors) easily recognizable in black hats and traditional dress wander through the market offering fortune-telling services to both locals and visitors.

They carry coco pouches containing amulets, powders and talismans.

I bought some amulets at the market, making my requests for emphasis on health, finance, intelligence, travel and love — not necessarily in that order!

The dried llama fetuses are probably the most shocking to foreign visitors.

They’re used throughout the country, buried in the foundations of new buildings as an offering to the goddess of the earth, Pachamama.

witches market

It is believed that the buried llama fetuses keep construction workers safe and bring prosperity to the inhabitants. These dried fetuses are only used by poor Bolivians. Wealthy Bolivians usually sacrifice a living llama to Pachamama.

So, if you find yourself in La Paz, make sure to visit The Witch’s Market. Pick up an amulet. You never know just what fortune it may bring you.

And as always, Buen Viaje!




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