Colorful street vendings in La Paz and Witches market

I have to write down a few lines about street vending in Bolivia’s capital, Pa Paz. Street vendors are everywhere in South America, perhaps not so common in the parts of Argentina I passed. In Chile, you can find them in every slightly larger community, but nothing as tangible as in La Paz.

Street vending in La Paz is something extra to explore

I had my hostel or backpackers hostel in the immediate vicinity of the Witches Market, a tourist attraction like no other.  In this area, there are so many street vendors that it is difficult to get around and it is not helped by the fact that at the same time there is a traffic chaos that beats most people.

This market is located on Calle  Jiminez and Linares between Sagarnaga and Santa Cruz in, it’s impossible to miss the Witches’ Market of La Paz, Bolivia, which is found right in a lively tourist area. Dozens of vendors line the streets to sell a number of strange and fascinating products and the raw ingredients used in rituals to call on the spirits that populate the Aymara world.

old women waiting for someone who wants to buy something

When you walk on these streets, you are almost shocked by all the color around. You could almost believe that the rainbow got its origin from here.

It was colorful everywhere

Hard work to a vendor in La Paz

They sell everything from beautiful handicrafts and hand-woven rugs, tablecloths, sweaters, hats to magazines, drinks, food and everything you could wish for. Much of what is sold is also cheap junk and unnecessary. Cheap replicas of branded products can also be found in this area.

Sale of products that keep pests away.

The name ”Witch Market” comes from the fact that they also sell medicinal plants, such as coca leaves or khat, herbs but also something that resembled dried amphibians.

Yatiri womwen sales amulets and talismans perhaps to keep the ’evil away

Of course, there will also be dried llama foetuses to buy.

The dried llama fetuses are the most prominent product available at the market.
These animals are fairly large and are used throughout the country, buried in the foundations of new buildings as an offering to the goddess Pachamama.

It is believed that the buried llama fetuses keep construction workers safe, but these are only used by poor Bolivians.

If you are a wealthy Bolivian you sacrifice a living llama to Pachamama instead.

Dried llama foetus, I didn’t stay long at these stalls, felt unpleasant.


The people selling this are usually slightly older women in weird round, brown or black hats.














It can’t be easy being a street vendor in La Paz. Most people open up their colorful stalls around nine or ten o’clock in the morning and close late in the evenings.

Determined Yatiri woman, maybe on her way home for dinner

The vast majority of street vendors are women, young and old, and they sit at their stalls and knit, sew or otherwise try to make something that can be sold. From me they got nothing.

This man has something on his back which seems to be quite heavy

Many of these have their small children with them and they play, laugh and cry and in between they sleep. The mothers usually eat at their stalls and hope that someone is willing to buy their produce. Without knowing, I don’t think these street-selling women have such a high level of education and they are probably struggling to make ends meet.

Many times here in Sweden you hear complaining from those who are allowed to work longer than 8 hours a day. These women probably work 11-12 hours a day and even weekends

Keep fighting
// The Global Cyclist 1726

By |2024-03-04T22:21:48+00:00februari 10th, 2024|Bolivia, General, SouthAmerica|0 Comments

La Paz, canceling my journey and ESTA problem

Cuzco 2024-02-06

Sitting on the plane from La Paz to Bogota and then to Madrid, but not today but on the 7th early in the morning.
We have a stopover in Cuzco.

You might wonder why I’m sitting on a plane and not on my bike seat? The simple answer is that I have cancelled my cycling trip through South America.

The loneliness, insecurity, insecurity and language barrier became too much for me this time. I have previously cycled through three continents, Europe, Iran, through Central Asia, across the Pamirs, through China, Southeast Asia, Borneo and New Zealand but never felt the way I do now.

The last 3 weeks I’ve been feeling bad mentally and had a big lump in my stomach every day. In addition, sleep has suffered and appetite has decreased.  I didn’t see any other solution than to cancel my grand dream but health always comes first.

Something that is typical of these countries, Argentina, Chile and Bolivia, is the inefficiency when you want to get something done. THEY are in no hurry.

At the border checkpoint between Chile and Bolivia, Pisigia, it took 6 hours to get through. There were 6 slots for control but only 2 were active and only 1 official at each. In addition, all luggage must be screened. The queue was huge.

The vehicle queue was huge

Passcontrol between Chile and Bolivia at Pisiga was the worst control I ever passed through.

I arrived in La Paz just after 22 in the evening and the first thing I did was to get a taxi that took me to the Hostel Canoa which is located quite in the middle of town. Being a taxi driver in this city has to be a person with nerves. A traffic chaos like no other and everyone has to get there first.
I got room 218, a three bed room which was anything but fresh. But the bedding looked clean and I had to be alone.
Unpacked and then out on the street and found a bar 2h5 meters from the hostel. Everything was planned that from La Paz Airport, EL Alto I would take the flight home via Miami.

My hostel street

Traffic Chaos

La Paz is densely populated and very steep

A common sight after the La Paz Gator

Strong manI wonder what the Swedish Work Environment Agency would have said

The US Authirization , ESTA stoped me for an stopover in Miami for Europe

If I didn’t feel bad before, it didn’t get better with this answer. I thought I was going to crash completely, and I didn’t have anyone to consult either.

I took a taxi to EL Alto airport, La Paz and visited the airline Avianca and heard if it was possible to rebook. The answer was negative. Instead I had to book a new trip via Bogota to Madrid instead and this time no stopover in the US. The departure was on the 6th instead of the 8th

From Madrid, it is no problem to get a low-cost flight home to Arlanda and Sweden. After all, Madrid is located in Europe and within the EU.

I had to take a new taxi through La Paz’s huge traffic chaos and start preparing for the journey home. Now all I had to do was get all the stuff down to a checked luggage and not more than 23 kilos. Had to throw away a part that didn’t have much value. It barely succeeded.

View from El Alto down La Paz

I woke up in good time and he both with breakfast and a shower before the taxi showed up at 10 am. El Alto is only about 7 km from my hostel and the road there is steep and very busy.

Check in que

The airport itself, on the other hand, is not particularly large. The check-in went well and my baggage that was to be checked in weighed 22.8 kg, i.e. 2 hg below allowed. The same goes for getting through all the checks. Deaparture was 3:25 p.m.

The plane made a stop in Cusco but we who were going to Bogota didn’t have to get off the plane which was convenient.

Just before 9 pm we landed in a pitch-black Bogota and after the usual check of baggage x-ray I looked up a bar for some coffee, beer and a hamburger.

While I’m sitting at the bar La Belleza, I also book the flight home from Madrid to Arlanda. On the 8th at 10.15 am I’m on my way to Arlanda. I feel pretty mentally tired and it will probably feel good to come home after all.

See yeah
// The Global Cyclist 1726

By |2024-02-08T21:47:14+00:00februari 7th, 2024|Bolivia, General, SouthAmerica|0 Comments

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