When getting in to La Paz, one of the first tours you will hear about (I guarantee it) is Cholita Wrestling.
Sounds odd, huh? In case you don’t know what “cholitas” refer to, it is a term used for indigenous women in Bolivia.
And the “wrestling” part?
Well, that’s just good ole’ wrestling.
I wasn’t too sure what this would turn out to be like and made a deal with myself not to read up on it too much ( after all, it’s more exciting that way).
Turns out, that every Sunday and Tuesday El Alto puts on these very entertaining shows. Entertaining is used in this context for the severe lack of a better word. It was pretty weird.
You can buy your ticket pretty much anywhere along the Calle Sagarnaga in La Paz. The agency will pick you up (and drop you off) by bus and bring you to El Alto. Your ticket includes entrance to the splendid show, a souvenir at the little shop inside and a drink with a bag of popcorn.
After much anticipation the wrestling begins. Some ten acrobats emerge in different suits running around the stage doing backflips and other tricks. The audience quickly realizes that the wrestling is, low and behold, semi-staged.
Then the cholitas come out. They dance around the ring in their traditional folk dresses as their names are announced then, as the match begins, use every mean necessary (and I mean EVERY mean, they even used crates at times) to knock out their opponent. At one point one of the cholitas runs up to me, snatches the popcorn out of my hands to and starts hitting her opponent with it (I’m sure it didn’t leave her with many bruises).
All in all, definitely a memorable experience and one that I recommend if you have a spare evening in La Paz.
“Cool story, bro. But how much did it cost?”
Cholita wrestling ticket: 70 Bs
Total: 70 Bs