This huge market stretches all the way through the main square, Plaza 16 de Julio, and beyond. Whatever you need you’ll find it here: clothes, food, animals, tools, CDs and more – the market is a bargain hunter’s paradise. Eternally busy, this is a place where you should watch out for pickpockets. Other than that you can roam freely, haggle down some prices and shop until you drop at one of the city’s largest street markets.
Located in the middle of Plaza Pérez Velasco and Calle Figueroa is Mercado Lanza, one of the city’s principal food markets. A wonderful spot to sample some local food, here you can find incredible value lunches and breakfasts. Marvel at the array of exotic fruit and vegetables on offer. Snack on the Bolivian version of an empanada, a salteña, that you can get from one of the main cafes in the market.
While it might be less than encouraging to hear that for a bargain you should head to La Paz’s black market, this is just a name. The Mercado Negro is just another one of the city’s many markets and has nothing dodgy about it (other than its notoriety for pickpockets, so look after your belongings). Selling everything from clothes to camping gear, this market is the place to go if you’re looking for cheap products which needn’t be the best quality.
A much calmer and organized market than some of the larger ones in the city, Ayni includes more than 30 craft workshops selling artisan handcrafted goods. More than 200 families come here to sell their goods, and the market’s selling environment guarantees they’ll be decently paid for their work. It provides a safe space to exhibit their skills and cultural diversity. Here, not only can you get some incredible goods and gifts to take back home but you can also be sure in the knowledge that those making the products are receiving a fair wage.
More of a show gallery than a market, Comart Tukuypaj offers exquisitely made fair-trade llama and alpaca goods and artesanías (artisanal goods) from around the country. Here, if you haggle enough, you can get yourself some incredible handmade goods, such as jumpers and bags, for a wholesale price. Upstairs there’s an Inca Pallay women’s weaving cooperative, which exhibits some famous Jal’qa and Candelaria weavings.