Things to Do and See in Tarija

If you are thinking of spending a few days in Tarija, you may want to extend that as there is so much to do and see.  Apart from sitting in the beautiful tree lined plazas enjoying a coffee, beer or wine, and watching life go by, you can get out and explore any number of the local attractions. 

The good thing about Tarija is that most of these are close by and access is easy.

You might enjoy the Fossil Walk on the banks of Guadalquiver River in Tarija, where you may find numerous fossils and dinosaur bones in the loose soil.

The Archaeology and Paleontology Museum is world-renowned museum, operated by Tarija's university and is one block south of the main plaza. On display are some findings of the region, such as dinosaur bones, fossils and the remains of the only Andean elephant ever found in South America.

Basilica de San Francisco, built in 1606, is Tarija's oldest church. It has some stunning oil paintings inside and contains two libraries that hold around 20,000 books. There is also a small museum library that contains a collection of 16th century colonial books. 

Tarija has a number of other colonial buildings such as the Casa Dorado and Castill Azul.  And of course a visit to Tarija wouldn't be complete with out taking a trip out to the small town of San Lorenzo (15 km) to see the house of Moto Mendez, one of Bolivia's famous heros in the fight for independence from Spain.

Ruta de Vino is a popular tour route that takes you to a number of wineries and artisanal wineries. You can learn about Tarija’s wine production, taste some local wines, and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

El Valle de ConcepciĆ³n is located 36 kilometres south of Tarija is a great place to visit the local wineries. The Festival of the Grapes takes place here around March to celebrate the grape harvest.

Sama Biological Reserve is a huge protected reserve about 60 kilometres from Tarija. The reserve protects two regions, the Altiplano and the highlands of the Andean valley region. There you can explore the numerous lakes and see rare species of aquatic birds. There is also an Inca trail that goes through this reserve and starts in Tajzara. The trail is now paved and can be walked in about 8 hours. Along the way you'll see rock paintings, ancient remains, and excellent scenery.

San Jacinto Lake is a man-made lake 8 kilometres from Tarija. The lake is formed by a dam and you can walk across the bridge that spans gorge. At the dam there are a few stalls that sell food and drinks. This is a popular place to have lunch and sample the local fish.

Tomatitas is a village just 5 kilometres from Tarija. There is a park on the banks of the Guadalquiver river. Also you can take a 30 minute hike upstream the river and see a two-tiered waterfall that drops about 60m. Further up the valley is the golf course if you want to while away a few hours in peace.

Chorros de Jurina is a waterfall that drops about 40 meters. It is a local attraction about 21 kilometres from Tarija and is a good day trip.

If you are planning to stay longer, why not take the opportunity to brush up on your Spanish by taking lessons at Language School Altiplano?

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