Día de maní in El Alto

One thing I noticed instantly when getting to Bolivia were the peanuts. They are just so  flavorful. And I guess the Bolivians are well aware of that fact because they make a soup (yes, that’s right- a soup) out of peanuts!

I wake up my first morning (very sleepy as I’m starting to feel the altitude taking its toll on my body) to my couch surfing host feeding us sopa de maní in bed. We then go to the humongous market in El Alto where I do some serious shopping. Must-have purchases included: toy dinosaurs in preparation for my trip to Salar de Uyuni, fruits and nuts. When you’re able to buy 4 mandarins and three bananas for $0.14 (1 boliviano) you know you’re in a cheap place.

We continue the peanut-themed day by eating more peanut soup, drinking peanut drink and buying actual peanuts. Safe to say my fat intake skyrocketed that day.

Here are a few interesting things I noticed while meandering through this market:

  • People don’t speak Spanish. That’s right. The population in El Alto is largely from the Aymara culture and so the primary language is… you guessed it…. Aymara!
  • If you want to build your own chemistry lab you can get all the supplies you need here. Test tubes, syringes- you name it!
  • People will spit on you as a distraction to steal your valuables. Unfortunately one of the people I was with ended up being a victim of this evil stunt. Lesson número uno: “thou shalt not carry any valuables in thy pockets.”


“Cool story, bro. But how much did it cost?”

Bus to the market: 1 Bs

Essential purchases at the market (aka dinosaurs, fruit and peanuts): 6 Bs

Lunch: 1 Bs

Total: 8 Bs

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