Situated along the banks of the Río Guadalquivir, this pleasant city with streets and plazas planted with flowering trees, is often called the 'Andalucía of Bolivia' for its resemblance with that region of Spain. It is blessed with plenty of sun and a spring-like climate almost all year-round. Tarija is known for its fruit and wines and its traditions which set it apart from the rest of the country. The best time to visit is from January onwards, when the fruit is in season. There are fewer indígeneshere than elsewhere in Bolivia, but Tarija has a strong cultural heritage and a justly deserved reputation for the easy-going nature of its inhabitants. It is also culturally closer to Argentina than to the rest of Bolivia, something the nativetarijeñosor chapacos, as they are also known, point to with pride.

Tarija is the capital and largest city of the department of the same name. It lies in the fertile Valle Central, where the regions famous vineyards and several quaint colonial towns are also located. Further afield, the department of Tarija boasts little-explored natural areas as diverse as Altiplano (between 3500 and 4000 m) sub-Andean yungas (from 1000 to 2000 m) and Chaco (below 400 m). Three national parks have been created to protect representative sections of these ecosystems, an important counterweight to the large-scale natural resource exploitation that makes of Tarija the country's main natural gas producer.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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