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Andean Condor

Tarija, Bolivia

 

Wine and Traditions

With 200,000 inhabitants, Tarija is the main city of the province of the same name. Set in a broad, fertile valley on the shores of the Guadalquivir River (so-named by the Spanish conquistadores after the river that flows past Seville), it occupies the south central portion of Bolivia.

Tarija sits at a comfortable altitude of 1,850 to 1,950 metres (6,070 to 6,400 feet) above sea level.

 
Bolivia's Best Kept Secret

Tarija linda... Pretty Tarija!

Tarija lies at the centre of a rich agricultural region known as the Andalucia of Bolivia on account of its sunny, Mediterranean climate, vineyard-filled valley and the arid mountain scenery that surrounds it. Tarija is a clean, safe, and welcoming city. Off the normal tourist route, Tarija is arguably one of the prettiest regions of Bolivia.

Unique expeditions, exclusive hotels and tours for people who don't like tours in Bolivia.

Founded in 1574 by the conquistador Luis de Fuentes as San Bernardo de la Frontera de Tarixa as a Spanish frontier outpost on the far southeast edge of Alto Peru to guard against incursions by the indomitable Chiriguano tribes of the Chaco, Tarija is one of Bolivia’s oldest settlements.

Today the town feels prosperous, with a thriving middle-class, and is the second fastest growing city in Bolivia economically thanks to large gas reserves and a thriving wine industry.

Tarija — Bolivia’s Best Kept Secret

The bucolic landscape includes rivers and lakes flanked with vineyards surrounded by sprawling valleys and beautiful mountain scenery. Mild climate and sunny blue skies year round complete this postcard-like setting.

The city itself has a small-town feel and the “Chapacos”—as Tarijeños call themselves—are friendly and easy-going people who are proud of their indigenous and colonial heritage.

The proximity of some of the major attractions in Bolivia (i.e. Sucre, Potosi, Uyuni) makes Tarija a worthy halt off the beaten path in your busy travel itinerary and on your way to/from Argentina or Paraguay.

Last but not least, Tarija is one of the top three wine destinations in South America, along with Mendoza, Argentina and Santiago, Chile.

Getting there and away

Tarija airport (Capitán Oriel Lea Plaza Airport) offers daily connections with La Paz, Santa Cruz, Cochabamba and Sucre.

There are long distance buses daily to the primary cities in Bolivia — La Paz, Oruro, Potosí, Sucre, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz. Inter-provincial service includes Bermejo, Yacuiba, Villamontes, Villazón, Tupiza and more.

International services to/from Salta in Argentina every day: count 8-9 hours by reg. bus crossing into Aguas Blancas, Argentina and Bermejo, Bolivia. Private shuttles also available.

From Tarija towards the Salt Flats: Only 6 hours away by car through spectacular landscapes (or 10 hours by overnight bus) is Tupiza, your point of departure for a trip to the deserts of Southern Bolivia and Uyuni Salt Flats.

Climate in Tarija

Located at an altitude of 1,850m (Tarija airport) to 1,950m (central plaza), the city of Tarija is well known for its pleasant and sunny weather, with warm days and cool nights.

The climate is mild and even year round, with an average high of 29°C (84°F). In June and July though, night time temperatures combined with cool wind can plummet down to 8°C (46°F).

Tarija has four distinct biogeographic areas and climatic zones.

  • The main city is located in the dry, temperate valleys around the Río Guadalquivir.
  • Altiplano tarijeño: The western area of the province features typical altiplano scenery, with high altitude lakes and cold temperatures!
  • The eastern half of the province belongs to the cactus region of Gran Chaco, which is mostly flat and hot, with temperatures reaching 50°C.
  • Finally, the so-called “Southern Triangle” of the province includes steamy jungle and rainforest, not much different from what you would find in the northern Amazonian region of Bolivia.

What to do around Tarija

There is a surprising number of other attractions that you won’t want to miss in Tarija and there are activities for all tastes and budgets. Here are just a few of them.

Meet the Chapacos - Let us take you on a tour to meet local Tarijeños and visit colonial buildings, plazas, markets and recreational areas in the surroundings. Hike the spectacular waterfalls and natural rock pools at Chorros de Jurina, just a few kilometers from the city. Take a daytrip to the quaint colonial town of San Lorenzo. Play golf at the picturesque 18-holes golf course at Rincón de la Victoria. Try an Ambrosía morning drink in the company of local farmers...

Nature tours - Trek the Valle de los Cóndores, only 12 miles away from Tarija, and visit some of the best protected areas in Bolivia, including Reserva Nacional Tariquía, Parque Nacional Aguaragüe...

Paleontology - Search for fossils and dinosaur bones the Tarija Basin, one of the richest sites in South America: learn about mammalian evolution in this part of the world during the Pleistocene and visit the onsite Archaeology and Paleontology Museum.

Astronomy - Learn about the southern stars in Tarija. Ask us for a nightsky excursion and explore the Southern Skies at the Santa Ana astronomical observatory in Tarija. Modern and powerful telescopes will enable you to observe planets, constellations and more.

Language schools and social programs - Tarija is also a good place to spend some time taking Spanish lessons. Sharpen your Spanish skills at a local language school in Tarija.

Tarija is also packed with festivals and events of all sorts.

click here to openTarija Festivals

Laid-back atmosphere and a love for fiestas
in the "Bolivian Andalucía"

The city remains provincial in the best sense of the word: small enough to get around on foot and culturally self-contained, but open to foreign influences and welcoming to outsiders.

Tarija has a rich folkloric tradition and the year is packed with festivals and events of all sorts.

Tarija Carnival

Tarija Carnival — El Carnaval Chapaco

Tarija’s annual carnival is known throughout the country.

The distinctive Chapaco folk music features strongly at all the fiestas, played on unusual woodwind instruments like the erque and quenilla. This music is accompanied by poetic and often comic folk songs known as ‘coplas’ – usually sung as duets. Altogether, the Carnaval Chapaco season, which takes place every year, lasts nearly a month! and gives rise to a panoply of popular arts expressed in masks, textiles and embroidery.

Tarija’s Carnaval Chapaco is one of Bolivia’s most enjoyable fiestas.

Tarijeños are known throughout Bolivia for their love of music, dance and a good party. Though not as strongly influenced by pre-Christian beliefs as the festivals elsewhere in the Bolivian Andes, fiestas in Tarija are still deeply rooted in the agricultural cycle, as well as the calendar of Catholic saints’ days.


Bolivia Carnival Dates:

Carnaval 2014 - March 1 until March 4
Carnaval 2015 - February 14 to February 17
Carnaval 2016 - February 6 until February 9
Carnaval 2017 - February 25 until February 28
Carnaval 2018 - February 10 until February 13
Carnaval 2019 - March 2 until March 5
Carnaval 2020 - February 22 until February 25

Ask us to arrange your trip to the next must-see Bolivia Carnival! Contact us now!


Other festivals worth checking out include the “Vendimia” Grape Harvest Festival or Fiesta de la Uva (March, during the grape harvest, in El Valle de la Concepción), Fiesta de Leche y Queso (March in Rosillas), Pascua Florida (Easter), Fiesta de La Tablada and Rodeo Chapaco (April), Fiesta de la Virgen de Chaguaya (August, including a 60km pilgrimage walk from the city), Fiesta Grande de Tarija and Fiesta de San Roque (September) and Fiesta de las Flores (October).

Check our page on TARIJA FESTIVALS in this site for further information about the many attractions and activities available during festival season. The 2014 Tarija calendar of festivities can easily be added to your itinerary for your holiday to Bolivia. (See links in the column on the right.) Contact us for more information and travel suggestions.

Tarija Carnival

 


La Ruta del Vino in Tarija


Home to the world's highest vineyards
and oldest bodegas in Bolivia

Wineries - Of course, a visit to Tarija would not be complete without an excursion to one or more of its vineyards and bodegas (cellars). Tarija produces the best wine and singani (brandy) in Bolivia and winemaking is a proud local tradition. Tour the vineyards located on the outskirts of Tarija such as El Valle de Concepción. There is a grape festival held every March.

click here to openTarija, Bolivia's wine country

Tarija Wine

The best Bolivian vineyards are located in Tarija and are called Vinos de Altura (wines of altitude).

Here the vineyards are grown between 1,700 and 2,400 meters above sea level. At this altitude the grapes gain a richer aromatic quality due to a more intense exposure to ultraviolet rays than in other regions of the world. These features make the wines produced in Bolivia quite different and help develop their own identity.

Ask us for a Wine Tour along the Ruta del Vino in Tarija.

The Festival of Wine is held annually in Tarija and the town of El Valle in nearby La Valle de la Concepción which is famous for its large scale wineries alongside the very intimate small bodegas. Aranjuez is a walking distance from Tarija’s downtown and most vineyards are located in the Valley of Santa Ana, around 17 miles southeast of Tarija.

Tarija Vineyard

 

Ask us to arrange your trip to Tarija. Contact us now!

 

Tarija is located in the southern part of Bolivia.

Tarija and Southern Bolivia

Through our intimate, small-group tours and private expeditions in this area you will be able to visit sites most tourists, even seasoned travelers, never find.

Tarija is easily accessible from all the major cities in Bolivia. There are also daily connections to/from Salta, Argentina.

Join us on a discovery of a lifetime in Tarija.

Combine Tariija and Southern Bolivia with one of our selected excursions near this area:

ESSENTIAL LA PAZ — 4 days

La Paz & Lake Titicaca
{ short bolivia excursion - fully customizable }

ESSENTIAL UYUNI — 4 days

Uyuni - Salt Flats & Sud Lípez
{ short bolivia excursion - fully customizable }

ESSENTIAL COCHABAMBA — 4 days

Cochabamba - Andes & Amazonia
{ short bolivia excursion - fully customizable }

The following package also includes this area
among other destinations.

TARIJA FESTIVALS — 8 days

Sucre / Tarija / Festival in Tarija / Tupiza / Salar de Uyuni & Lagoons / Uyuni / La Paz
{ sample bolivia trip - fully customizable }

Feel free to customize any travel package according to your own personal interests and the specific activities you expect...

Join us on one of our Natural History Tours or a Cultural Exploration into the heart of South America. Our programs are offered throughout the year, on a (very) small group basis and mostly in private.

You may also want to make an enquiry or design your own program of activities in this area.

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Call us to help you plan the best active, outdoor exploration to meet your interests, time, budget and abilities. You will be accompanied by expert local guides specializing in each region.

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Speak to a member of our team. We'll answer your questions, provide advice, help you book your Bolivia Trip, and most of all we'll help you customize your tours for people who don't like tours in Bolivia.

You may also check other Special Interest Travel and unusual tours or expeditions around Bolivia, including:

• La Paz, Tiwanaku, Lake Titicaca
• Uyuni Salt Flats & Sud Lípez Red & Green Lagoons
• Colonial Cities of Sucre and Potosí
• Central, Inter-Andean Valleys of Cochabamba
• Santa Cruz - the Lowlands & Jesuit Missions
• Bolivian Rainforests & Amazon Basin
• Cuzco & Machu Picchu Extensions

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