Tarija - imageTarija is a city to the south of Bolivia known for its amazing wines and Mediterranean climate. The city is also host to The Festival of Wines held in the town annually. Some of the finest wines are found in this area, which should come as no surprise, given Tarija’s proximity to Argentina and Chile, two countries famous for amazing wine production. Tarija has a population of 170,000 people and the local people call themselves Chapacos.

Tarija city has a relatively mild climate making it an interesting place to visit during most times of the year. November to March are the summer months in the city, and cooler temperatures can be experienced outside of this period. Although “cooler” should be taken lightly; temperatures will never be freezing.

If your reason for visiting the city is to get into the local culture, you can expect the local residents to take a siesta from around 12 noon to 3 p.m. Between these hours, most small businesses and shops close, and the streets are relatively empty. The locals have a reputation for being very laid-back; something most of them take pride in.

Tarija’s main plaza is a nice setting in which to take a break from exploring the city. It is where you will find restaurants, cafés and the city’s Paleontology Museum. You can expect this plaza and the surrounding area of the city to be relatively clean in comparison with other Bolivian cities of a similar size to Tarija. The city is situated along the Guadalquivir river, and the land and climate have many qualities that contribute to the city’s perfect environment for grape and wine production. There is a natural bathing resort 5 kilometers from the city, known as Tomatas – a relaxing location where you can catch some sun and some of the water provided by the Guadalquivir river.

If you’re after a nice weekend getaway from the city, Rincón de la Victoria is a popular tourist attraction 18 kilometers from Tarija offering beautiful views and a great way to experience nature.

The city also has a nightlife, and you can expect to see youthful high spirits out and about while you explore the night. Like most places in Bolivia, you can be sure of low prices. The city has straightforward options for accommodation. You can expect to find cheap, shared dorms or you may decide to check into a basic hotel. Comfortable hotels are on offer in the city, as are bed and breakfast establishments, and most staff will be friendly and point you in the right direction for city guides and things to do.

Tarija is a perfect place to experience a Bolivian city with a small-town feel and friendly locals who will happily show you their easy-going Bolivian culture and make your stay one to remember.