At the north end of the Prado, Plaza San Francisco is the gateway to the main Aymara neighbourhoods of La Paz, which climb up the slopes of the valley to the west. Founded in the colonial era as the parroquias de Indios – the Indian parishes – these neighbourhoods were where the Aymara population from the surrounding countryside was encouraged to settle, living around churches built as part of the effort to convert them to Christianity; less idealistically, this separate indigenous quarter was also designed as a pool of cheap labour, neatly separated from the Spanish city by the Río Choqueyapu. Today the area retains a very strong Aymara identity and its narrow, winding and at times almost vertical streets are filled with the bustling markets that make it one of the most vibrant and distinctive parts of the city: nowhere more so than in the Mercado de Hechicería – without doubt one of the most extraordinary sights in La Paz.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Bolivia features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

15 things everyone learns backpacking South America

15 things everyone learns backpacking South America

South America has become a favoured destination for the intrepid backpacker, and while it’s impressive in the astounding diversity of its nations, there are a…

02 Mar 2016 • Steph Dyson insert_drive_file Article
8 must-visit places in South America you've probably never heard of

8 must-visit places in South America you've probably never heard of

Access to even some of the more remote parts of South America has improved in the past few decades, establishing a now well-etched tourist trail. But if you wan…

15 Feb 2016 • Steph Dyson insert_drive_file Article
Bolivia’s most beautiful journeys

Bolivia’s most beautiful journeys

As T.S. Eliot once said, “The journey, not the arrival, matters,” and nowhere is this truer than travelling in Bolivia. Here, we've picked five of the most…

04 Nov 2015 • Steph Dyson insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month