The Witches Market in La Paz – How to visit Mercado de las Brujas

At first sight, the Witches Market in La Paz didn’t look so witchy.

For the first 10 meters or so, it was just stalls with small figures stapled on top of each other, some herbal tea, and old women sitting lazily on the stairs of the cobblestone streets.

You’d never guess that this is the place to buy, say, powdered dog’s tongue, which can be secretly added to a man’s food to make him loyal to his lover like a dog is to its master. 

But it is  – for the right price.

The Witches Market was one of the most fascinating places I visited on my trip to Bolivia. If you want to know more about it, you’ve come to the right place.

Why you should visit the Witches Market

No visit to La Paz would be complete without a trip to the Witches Market.

Despite what the name might suggest, it’s not a spooky place. It’s actually a market where locals shop for traditional items, like herbs for medicine, good luck charms, and even llama fetuses that are used in local rituals.

The market is open to everyone, and you don’t need a tour to see it. Just walk around and get a real feel for the local culture.

It was my favorite stop in La Paz because it’s so unique. 

Witches market, La Paz, Bolivia

What is the Witches Market?

The Witches Market covers two streets around Calle Linares in the hilly old quarter of La Paz.

Also known as Mercado de las Brujas or El Mercado de Las Brujas de La Paz, it’s a traditional market where local vendors sell items related to Andean spiritual beliefs and rituals.

These items include medicinal plants, potions, dried frogs, amulets, talismans, and even dried llama fetuses, which are believed to bring good luck and protection.

For centuries, medicine women, witches,  astrologers, fortune tellers, and sorcerers have lived and worked on these streets, so being here is like getting a glimpse into the soul and history of Bolivia.

History of the Witches Market

The Witches Market has been part of the city for a few hundred years.

It’s run by Yatiri, who are healers among the Aymara people.

In that sense, the market is a testament to the Aymara culture’s staying power, showing that even in a fast-paced, ever-changing world, there’s still room for the traditions that have existed since way before the city’s modern streets were even laid out.

Witches market, La Paz, Bolivia

Where is El Mercado de Las Brujas?

El Mercado de Las Brujas is located in La Paz, along Calles Jiménez and Linares between Sagárnaga and Av Mariscal Santa Cruz.

Instead of pounding the ever-so-steep hills of La Paz in vain, use this map and get to the destination without getting lost like yours truly. 

The Witches Market is a five-minute uphill walk from the San Francisco Church, so start from there.

Witches market, La Paz, Bolivia

Opening hours

The Witches Market is open daily and runs from 9:30 AM to 10 PM all week. 

Witches market, La Paz, Bolivia

Why the llama fetuses?

The most famous goods at the market are the dried llama fetuses, and like everyone else, we aimed straight for them. 

They were hanging from the door openings, lying in baskets or standing, while their hollow eyes and ghastly mouths made a disturbing image of the street.

Totally in a trance over the crowd of llama corpses, I suddenly heard a voice behind me saying: “It’s okay. You can touch them.” It was the owner of the shop, a twenty-something guy.

Since I didn’t feel the urge to pet scary, dead llamas, I asked him to explain this custom to me instead, and he was more than eager to share. See it (and more) in the video below.

He pointed out that the llamas weren’t meant to give the place a gruesome vibe. They are the most important part of an offering to Pachamama, a goddess that Bolivians and Peruvians call Mother Earth.

Together with candy, cotton, and other small items, the llama fetus is burned after which the ashes are buried under the house for protection.

He also told me that they don’t kill the llamas, but that they come from miscarriages. That explains why we saw them in so many different sizes.

Witches market, La Paz, Bolivia
Witches Market Bolivia
Witches market, La Paz, Bolivia
Llama fetus Bolivia

Get good fortune or cast a spell

Dried llama fetuses are not the only witchy thing the Witches Market has to offer. You’ll find lots of small figures of condors (for good trips), amulets of the Inca sun (for good energy), and desiccated frogs (for good luck). 

Charms, herbs, and powders designed to influence the gods and other people are for sale stall after stall.

It’s also the place to find a sorcerer to cast a spell to avenge a cheating ex-boyfriend – or to make a fortune at your job.

Witches market, La Paz, Bolivia

Facts about the Witches Market

1. You can buy dried frogs for wealth

Yes, you read that right.

People actually buy dried frogs at the market, and they use them in rituals that are supposed to help bring in more money. It’s a pretty unique tradition when you think about it.

2. Ekeko dolls could make you rich

These little guys are said to bring good luck, especially during the Alasitas Festival. You hang tiny stuff on them, like mini food or dollar bills, hoping the real things will come your way.

3. Llama fetuses are buried for good luck

So, burying a dried llama fetus is a thing here.

It’s not for everyone, but it’s a meaningful gesture for many locals who want to honor Pachamama and keep their homes under her protection.

4. Find a potion for whatever’s bugging you

Whether you’ve got a case of the love blues or you’re looking for a health kick, there’s probably a potion for it at the market. It’s like the old-school version of a wellness shop.

What else is there to see in La Paz?

Besides the Witches’ Market, La Paz is full of interesting spots for visitors.

Check out San Francisco Church, a big church in the city center with a mix of local and Spanish design.

You can also ride the Mi Teleférico cable cars to get a high-up view of the whole city, which can be pretty cool.

If you feel like a hike, go up to El Alto. It’s high and the air is thin, but you’ll see a different side of Bolivian life.

For a good view of the city, Mirador Killi Killi is the place to go. It’s a lookout point where you can see all of La Paz.

La Paz Bolivia

FAQ – Witch Market La Paz

What to buy at the Witches Market La Paz?

Buy traditional items like medicinal herbs, amulets, talismans, and dried llama fetuses.

Why is it called the Witches Market?

It’s called the Witches Market because local witch doctors, known as yatiri, sell items used in Andean spiritual rituals.

How to get to the Witches Market Bolivia?

The market is in central La Paz, easily reached by taxi or public transport from most parts of the city.

What is sold at the witch’s market?

Items sold include medicinal plants, good luck charms, amulets, and other ritualistic items often used in indigenous ceremonies.

Witches market, La Paz, Bolivia
Llama fetus Bolivia

Have you been to the Witches Market? If not, would you go?

More posts from Bolivia you might like

Save it!

The Witches Market in La Paz, Bolivia is a street with stalls of small figures stapled on top of each other, some herbal tea and old women sitting lazy on the stairs of the cobblestone streets. You’d never guess that this is the place to buy powdered dog’s tongue, which can be secretly added to a man’s food to make him loyal to his lover like a dog is to its master. But it is – for the right price.

Similar Posts


  1. What a crazy post, Miriam. As if Bolivia could get any more wacky than to have a whole street where you can buy any type of llama fetus known to man. I loved that city; it’s gotta be one of the strangest cities I’ve ever been.

    1. I totally agree with you, Brad! In fact, I think Bolivia overall is one of the strangest countries I’ve been to. The lunar landscape in Moon Valley and Uyuni is just so unearthly and then this llama fetus market…. It’s almost as weird as it gets 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *