- If you see a package on the street or landing on the street, don’t pick it up.
- Don’t take prison tours
- Don’t pass out on the sidewalks
So, today I took the Red Hat Tour of La Paz. It’s rated #1 on Trip Advisor for a reason. Recent tours I have experienced, lacked interesting info or organization and this one had both. The guides, Brian and Marasol kept it interesting. The tour used to be free until the rules were enforced requiring tourist pay for the experience. Thumbs up to the Red C&P Tour folks for charging the minimum, $20 BoB, which equates to less than $3 USD. Not to bore you…back to the rules.
So, number one, packages of drugs (and by drugs, I mainly mean cocaine) get in and out of prison via holes in the roof. Dealers toss the drugs up and the rest is history. Now, this sounds insane, and I need to do more research, but it’s my understanding that the inside of prisons in Boliva are not guarded--only the exits. Inside is much like a neighborhood, where prisoners do what they need to do to make money (sitting in prison is not free, nor is exiting prison). Strangely enough, anyone can stay the night. Some prisoners families stay with them. During the day, the woman may go out to make money for their guy.
So, number two, there is an interesting history in how prison tours became popular in Bolivia (check out the book: Marching Powder) Soon enough, these tours got bad reputations (read more here). Visitors were getting assaulted and robbed and so forth and so on. So, prison tours became illegal. Well, “don’t take prison tours” seems intuitive then right? Wrong! Again, anyone can enter...just pay a entry and exit fee. So, some street hustlers will sell the dream of a prison tour and run away with your cash or lead you there and disappear after you enter (leaving you to have to pay at least $2,000.00+ BOB to exit unless you've made friendly with the guards).
Moving on to #3. There is a witch market here and lots of beliefs about spells and sacrifices. For instance, if you want to build a home, you may create a alter and sacrifice a baby lima (dried ones or carcasses can be found all over the witches market). If you want something bigger and better, you may sacrifice an adult human (that must be alive). So, as a visitor here, avoid getting your drink spiked at bars and avoid being drunk alone at night because you could end up buried alive at a future construction site. Oh, I’m just playing. The easier targets are drunk and homeless people with no family to miss them. That’s if any of this is true. And it might be. Lol.
Anyway, the pictures below could well have gone into the first Bolivia post. They include some shots from the tourist witches market (the original is further away and looks.... ...authentic). There are also shots from Tiwanaku Ruins as well as shots from the Fighting Cholitas (wrestling).