Ayni Bolivia is a fair trade handicrafts shop. Ayni Bolivia groups more than 30 workshops with 200 artisans from all over Bolivia that produces high quality handicrafts with classical and modern designs.
Ayni Bolivia is an organization formed with small groups of artisans. With the fair trade they have an oportunity to sell their crafts and improve their way of living.
All the products are made respecting the enviroment and with non toxic materials.
What to buy: There are fine alpaca garments with actual designs and classical for all the family.
Wide variety of ceramics perfect for a gift or as ornament, modeled and enameled by hand.
Hand embroidered cards and bookmarkers.
Products of the Mollo culture with traditional embroiderings.
Jipi Japa products with brillant colors and inspired in the Bolivian jungle: butterflies, ladybugs, ants, bees, etc.
Orange peel boxes with a natural smell of orange.
Llamas and insects carved in wood and hand painted.
Earings made of Alpaca.
Shoes, and flowers made of wool felt.
Vessels made of exotic wood of the Bolivian Amazon.
Native textiles that represent the Bolivian Culture.
What to pay: Prices range from 1 USD to 60 USD
The Spitting Llama imports and distributes Lonely Planet books and sells a wide range of camping gear. They have a HUGE bookstore and book exchange offering 2 for 1 and 1 for 1=50% off price. They rent and sell tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads and other gear. They sell everything from Swiss army knives and nice fleece jackets to organic fair trade coffee and memory cards.
They have friendly knowledgeable staff and lots of fliers, maps and tourist information so stock up!
Calle Linares #947 (adentro de la Posada de la Abuela, local #12)
Av. 6 de agosto, entre plaza Sucre y el Lago
(591) 2-2599073 - (591) 70398720
#615 Calle España N.
(591) 4-4894540 - (591) 70398720
What to buy: They distribute Lonely Planet books and have an incredible selection. They also have over 1000 english, german, french and dutch books for sale or exchange. They have professional down sleeping bags, tents, hiking poles, hiking boots, backpack covers and more. They distribute Victorinox swiss knives for really cheap! They have Garmin GPS units, flashlights, headlamps and lots of little necessities for travel.
What to pay: Prices range from insanely cheap to moderate depending on the source of the item.
I really liked this store for its range of woven rugs and other items. I love the bright colours of the rugs, cushion covers, table cloths etc that you can get here. During my trip in Bolivia I bought most of my souvenirs in La Paz and am glad I did as the prices were reasonable and the range of items available was better than elsewhere.
What to buy: I bought a big floor rug
The best place to buy handicrafts (for tourists) is in the area around Calle Sagarnaga behind the Church of San Francisco.
There are street stalls and small shops with good quality alpaca goods, like sweaters, gloves, hats... as the main items for sale. There are also ethnic textiles, antiques and silver jewellery. One item of great interest to me is the curious little gemstones that are peach-and-lavendar in shades called 'bolivanita' (or ametrine, which is mined only here in Bolivia). You can find many earrings, necklaces, etc... with this special stone set in them.
What to buy:
Buying the usual Andean fare of llama, pardone me, ALPACA products, is more economical in Bolivia than in Chile. Peru is close but more touristy and unpleasant surprises are posible.
What to pay: 10USD for a pulover, sweater, jumper!
In the Witchery Market you can also find a lot of nice souvenirs made of stone and some beautiful candies with many colours and huge size. I didn't taste them, as they seemed to have too many sugar for me, but I guess that would be a great gift for your children or nieces back at home.
Walking around La Paz you can see many many stalls of fake CDs, Videos, DVDs... Don't know about the quality, but they seemed to have every new commercial success in the world, specially caribbean music and latinamerican singers.
This crowded and compact market is called so because of the stolen items sold here, but in fact you can find almost anything in its narrow crowded streets.
Each group of items are located in a certain section, so once you find the section you are looking for, just compare the stuff and prices.
BTW, be careful with your bag and pockets!
This is one of the most original and famous markets of La Paz. Its main attraction are these shops where they sell natural remedies, strange dead animals for superstitious spells and all that kind of popular wisdom stuff. You can find skulls, dried frogs, snakes' skins, remedies for love problems... just imagine!
Torre Ketal is an upscale mall in the Miraflores area (the large building with the red trim). The day we were there, they were having a bicycle race in La Paz. It was to finish on the street next to the mall but we did not wait to see the end.
In bolivia, specially in la paz you`ll see a lot of markets, but they are not on a house as usual. it`s because this is a poo country. so the people do not have a good jobs. so they rather to sell on the streets
the sellers and called Caseras, who are women dressed called CHOLAS.
What to buy: you can buy some vegetables, potatoes, fruits and everything.
What to pay: not too much. it`s really cheap.
The local markets of La Paz are colorful and full of Indians in traditional clothing. They are great places to wander about and take photos.
What to buy: There is a great variety of fruits, all worth trying. Just walk around and point.
What to pay: And ask how much of course.... Really, you can bargain or just pay, the prices are incredible either way so enjoy them.
Beside the San Francisco temple, a nice concentration of good handcraft really impressive.
What to buy: if you like andean music, a xarango is a good choice.