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The Travel Well Guide
City: N/A State: Tarija Country: Bolivia
Tarija or San Bernardo de la Frontera de Tarija is a city in southern Bolivia. Founded in 1574, Tarija is both the capital and largest city within the Tarija Department. Set close to the Equator but far from the sea, Tarija has a Mediterranean atmosphere, reminiscent of southern Spain. Luis de Fuentes, the city's founder, named the nearby river the Guadalquivirafter Andalucia's biggest river) and left the Chapacos - as residents of Tarija are known - with a lilting dialect of European Spanish. The main plaza is planted with stately date palms and the surrounding landscape mixes cowboy country with lush grape-filled valleys - this is Bolivia's primary wine-producing region. The valley climate is idyllic, although winter nights can cool off a little. The student population is very lively so watch out for water balloons as you drink wine from the grapes of the world's highest vineyards and dance through the streets at Carnival season! The colonial architecture, sizzling Argentine barbecues, cafe terraces and Karaoke dives all add to the fun atmosphere. The city is known too for its fiestas and unique musical instruments. Tarija's patron saint is St Roque (the Saint for goodhealth and dogs), and at the Fiesta de San Roque every August canine beauties parade the streets dressed in outlandish outfits with feathers, sequins and flowing ribbons.At the city's world-famous Paleantology Museum you can see the remains of a prehistoric armadillo (glyptodon) and a giant ground sloth (megatherium) as well as old hunting weapons, such as a rompecabeza (head-breaker).
Climate | When to Visit
Visit during: April to November
Directions | How to Reach
By Air: The Oriel Lea Plaza Airport is 3km east of town off Av Victor Paz Estenssoro.It offers regular service to primary Bolivian cities like Cochabamba, Santa Cruz and La Paz. By Road: The regional bus terminal has connections to Potosi, Uyuni, Oruro, Cochabamba, Tupiza, Villazon, La Paz, Santa Cruz and Sucre. It too offers international services to Santiago, Mendoza, Asuncion, Iquique and Monevideo.
miscellaneous | Important Information
Don't miss:The daily siesta - from 1.00 pm till 3.00 pm the place is a ghost town. Iglesia de San Juan - built in 1632 - where the Spanish signed their surrender to the liberation army; the garden has a fine view over the city with a dramatic backdrop of sand coloured mountains. A visit to a local winery to taste not only the wine but also the local distilled grape spirit - Singani - forty per cent alcohol with a flowery fresh fragrance. Mirador Loma de San Juan, above the tree-covered slopes of Loma de San Juan, with great views of the city. Casa Dorada - a house once lived inby a wealthy merchant. It has many large and lurid rooms - kitsch for the rich.