La Paz, Bolivia


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Things to see in La Paz consist of:
Sagarnaga Street, just south of Plaza San Francisco, is La Paz' main tourist strip. It's mainly a market street with artesano and souvenir stores, but you'll also find budget hostels, tour and travel agencies, cafes, and lots and lots of backpackers. Don't be suckered by the roving sellers of "trilobite-in-a-rock". The Witches' Market (Mercado de Hechiceria or Mercado de las Brujas) is on Calle Linares between Sagarnaga and Santa Cruz. Vendors sell llama fetuses and dried frogs for Aymara rituals, as well as soapstone figurines and aphrodisiac formulas. This street is also the best place to pick up a charango or other Bolivian musical instrument. The Mercado Negro ("Black Market"), though not very clandestine, is quite comprehensive, selling clothing, household items, liquor, and other products in its many blocks. Eloy Salmon Shops on this street sell cheap electronics. Calle Jaen is one of the few places in the city with preserved colonial buildings, currently housing several interesting museums. Plaza Murillo contains government buildings and the city cathedral. The Valle de La Luna - surreal, weathered rock. Just outside the city. Take a local bus to Massalla (Bs2.30) or a taxi (Bs 35) or join a tour. The entrance to the park is located next to the flags and costs Bs15. The Thursday & Sunday Market in El Alto -A huge market held in El Alto every Thursday and Sunday with great bargains including vintage clothing, antiques, everyday goods, e Museum San Francisco - Plaza San Francisco. This restored religious complex has housed some of Bolivia's most important historical moments, including the birth of the Independence Revolution of 1809. Also, one can climb the church tower to get a panoramic view of both the indigenous and Mestiza quarters. Displays are in Spanish and English along with personal guides. Tiwanaku Museum (Museo Tihuanaco) Museum of Contemporary Art (Museo de Arte Contemporaneo), Av. 16 de Julio 1698 (Prado). The permanent collection upstairs (Bs10 admission) contain many works by renowned Aymara painter Mamani Mamani. The downstairs gallery containing work by students and up-and-comers is free. Coca Museum - A favourite of foreign tourists, this small museum details the history and significance of the coca plant, including the effect of the U.S. War on Drugs. The displays are in Spanish, but booklets of complete translations in other languages are provided. According to the museum, crack cocaine is the greatest epidemic since the Plague in the Middle-Ages. And yes, there are free samples of coca leaf for visitors. 10 Bs