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South America > Bolivia > Tarija (department) > Tarija

Tarija

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Tarija is the capital and largest city of the Tarija Department of Bolivia, with a population of some 235,000.

Understand[edit]

In the central valley of the district, at 1,800–2,000 m, the climate in Tarija is mild and semi-arid, in contrast to the harsh Altiplano and the humid heat of the Amazon Basin. Average daily highs are 27–30 °C year round, while average nightly lows vary 8–17 °C depending on season. Freezing temperatures in winter are not uncommon. The winters (May–Aug) are dry, while summers are more rainy.

As the Inca Empire conquered the valley, the original population was dispersed. The stone roads might be built by the pre-Inca cultures. The city was founded in 1574.

Tarija is the most important wine district of Bolivia.

Get in[edit]

By bus[edit]

There are direct connections from most cities including Villazón, La Paz (18 hr, Bs. 100) and Santa Cruz (14 hr, Bs. 90).

  • Tupiza – Buses leave from Tupiza at 10:00, 20:00, and 22:00.
  • From Argentina, it is possible to take a bus or hire a colectivo (shared taxi) at the bus station from the Bolivian border town of Bermejo. If you have crossed by small ferry from Aguas Blancas and there is no Bolivian immigration officer to stamp you in on the Bolivian side of the river or at the bus station, take a taxi or instruct the colectivo driver to take you to the immigration office at the bridge.

By plane[edit]

  • Capitán Oriel Lea Plaza Airport (TJA IATA).

Get around[edit]

The main plaza is picturesque and pleasant. The plaza is surrounded by restaurants of various cuisines, local handicraft shops, and internet cafés. The public market, a university campus and a number of sights are nearby. These areas are easily walkable.

  • Hop-on micros, many lines, ask the locals or watch the windscreen for routes & destinations; ride within city limits Bs. 1.50. Some go further afield (e.g. San Lorenzo, San Jacinto).
  • Trufis and colectivos go to El Valle de la Concepción from the stand at Calle Corrado (btwn. Trigo & Campero) – Bs. 10 per person.
  • Short rides in taxis cost Bs. 3.50 per person.

See[edit]

  • Paleontology Museum, Calle Gral. Trigo No. 402 Esquina Virginio Lema, +591 4 663-6680, . M–F 08:00–12:00 and 15:00–18:00, Sa 09:00–12:00 and 15:00–18:00.
  • El Castillo Azul (Bolívar @ La Paz). Strange white and blue striped house in the gabled style of a castle. Old governor's house.

Do[edit]

  • Valle de los Condores, Tienda Ecosol, Calle Virginio Lema entre Mendez y Suipacha. The condor's valley is a great undiscovered gem in Bolivia. 1 to 4 days treks, the scenery is spectacular and you get to see a lot of condors, some coming as close as 10 m. You can also to experience the countryside life harvesting honey or baking traditional bread with a family of the local community.
  • Nature reserves. For visit to both Sama (Reserva Biológica de la Cordillera de Sama; 1,000 km²) and Tariquia (Reserva nacional de Tariquía; 2,500 km²) you need permission (free) from the Serdap at Av Jaime Paz Zamor 1161 ( across the bus terminal ) . Formalities for sama is only registration of details; bring a photocopy of your passport. Tariquia is more difficult, depending on weather and reason of stay.

Buy[edit]

Eat[edit]

  • Gattopardo, Plaza Luis de Fuentes (main plaza). Smart restaurant, very popular with local middle class, parillada, good pizzas, salads, salteñas, good selection of local wines; try the fillet steak finished rare or "a la Inglés" (Bs. 40) - heaven!
  • Pastelería Yenny (pronounced Jenny), Av. 15 de Abril (btwn. main plaza & D. Campos). Great cakes and real coffee, welcoming staff; definitely try "torta de tres leches y nuez".
  • Cafe Show, Sucre (corner Del Carpio). Simple, reliable budget option. Set lunch (starter, soup, main course and dessert) for Bs. 10, limonada to drink. Also sells cakes and empanadas. Just don't expect coffee here.
  • El Molino, Calla la Madrid O-0803, near Ramon Rojas. Vegetarian 'comedor' for lunch until 14:00. Set menu includes soup, main course and salad bar for Bs. 15. Come around 12:00 to eat with the locals. (March 26th 2012 - seems to be operating at a different location nearby on Ingavi O-550)
  • Nature Center. Vegetarian food set menu for Bs. 14, on the block of Gral Trigo 800, upstairs at the sign. Lunch only.

Drink[edit]

  • Cafe Mokka, Plaza Sucre (Ave 15 de Abril). Great coffee and cakes, also fairly good speed free WiFi
  • Nougat (General Trigo @ 15 de Abril). 09:00-23:00. Pretty cafe, nice decor, like most of South America, the milkshakes are mostly milk. Slow Wi-Fi, waitress unwilling to fix order when she got it wrong. Fair prices.
  • XOXO (Sucre @ 15 de Abril). Americana-decorated diner-esque bar with a solid burger (Bs. 29) as well. Marilyn Monroe & Elvis Presley plaster the walls. One TV for watching sports. Split level seating. Quick Wi-Fi. Fair prices.

Sleep[edit]

  • Hotel Gran Londres, Campos 1072 (Campos 1072), +591 4 664-2369. Check-out: 12 noon. Brilliant hotel in a decent, medium rise building that stays warm in winter. Nice rooms, some with TVs and some with balconies with excellent views over the town and surrounding area. Some en suite rooms. Very friendly staff, lovely people. Brilliant location, right in the middle of town. All in all, a great hotel, the best place to stay in town at a very reasonable price. Bs. 30-40.
  • Hostal Bolivar, Bolivar (on Bolivar and Sulpacha). Check-in: -, check-out: 12 noon. Great budget hostel, very clean with friendly staff, simple breakfast included. Bs. 100-120.
  • Hostal Miraflores, Sucre N-920. Close to the plaza and mercado central. Breakfast included. Double bedrooms with private badroom and television Bs. 130.
  • Residencial Guadalquivir (left of terminal de autobuses (on Ángel Calavi)). Check-out: 12:00. Cheapest hostel I could find, a little noisy due to the bus terminal across the street, but acceptable and clean. 20 min walk from main plaza. No Wi-Fi. Bs. 40 pp.
  • Hostal Estrella (Sucre @ 15 de Abril). Nice pace in an old building shared with Club Social de Tarija. Comfortable beds, creaky floorboards, and a nice outdoor balcony overlooking the main plaza. Twin Bs. 180.

Connect[edit]

Internet cafes and centros de llamadas (call centres) everywhere; expect modem- rather than broadband-like speed. Some places allow you to hook up with your own laptop, e.g. two shops in the plaza principal (opposite Bufalo).

Go next[edit]

  • Sama Biological Reserve - flamingo gathering, 90km away on the road to Villazón.
  • Potosi and Oruro. Flecha Sur operates fast minibuses to them from the bus terminal. Depart when full. Bs. 100 to Potosí (2016).


This city travel guide to Tarija is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.