Tarija is Bolivia with a gaucho soul. It rarely fails to charm with its sunny climate, beautiful vineyard vistas in the nearby valleys, great food, and the foot-stomping, violin driven folky chacarera soundtrack that seems to fill the air. This is the nation’s wine region and is already producing a handful of excellent wines, even raising eyebrows in neighboring Chile and Argentina. Unfortunately, local taste demands sweet and powerful wines, which doesn’t leave the wineries much room to explore the potential of a very interesting terroir. The town, though growing, still feels sleepy and peaceful, only really coming to life in the evening when everyone heads out onto the streets and plazas. The central market is a good place to try some local dishes; it is clean and well run, and the food is all thoroughly cooked, boiled, or fried—and sold in such quantities that freshness is guaranteed.


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