Tarija, Bolivia Travel Guide
Noted for its spring-like climate (with less fluctuations of extreme heat or cold than other areas of Bolivia) and Colonial architecture, the city of Tarija in Southern Bolivia is a favorite haunt of travelers passing through on the way to Salta, Argentina or other destinations for a short or long-term stay.
Editor’s Note: I traveled through Tarija and had intended to include the city in our Cheap Places to Live in South America section. Unfortunately, I was surprised to find prices on average 20% higher than in Sucre. A more workable budget for long-term living in Tarija would be $900 USD. Cost of Living in Tarija
There are two plazas separated by four, short blocks both with a selection of cafés and restaurants. The main plaza – “Plaza Principal” – is Plaza Luis de Fuentes & Vargas with a ‘flapping in the wind’ pigeon-lined (most days!) fountain at its center.
Plaza Sucre is the other, a short stroll away with free outdoor WiFi. Passing from Plaza Sucre to Mercado Central haphazardly you may stumble upon the Iglesia San Francisco (La Madrid & Daniel Campos streets), Catholic University (Bolivar & Suipacha streets) or the Palacio de Justicia (Colon & Ingavi streets).
To reach Mercado Central from Plaza Principal head north two blocks. The upper level has an assortment of cheap eats, a couple of bars (beer, wine, some alcohol) and outdoor seating overlooking the streets below… perfect for people watching on one of the many sun-filled afternoons in Tarija.
Things to Do in and Around Tarija
- Satisfy your prehistoric yearnings searching for fossils and dinosaur bones in the sandy beach of the Guadalquiver River.
- Now that you have a fossil in your hot little hand and are quite full of yourself in general… why not a visit to the Archaeology and Paleontology Museum and see if you can actually gain a little more knowledge to warrant that self-satisfied smug.
- Get outa town. Take a daytrip to the quaint town of San Lorenzo located approximately 15 km (9.3 miles) away and sample fresh-baked pastries at the local market (at the town square where the bus drops you off).
- Try your hat at being a wine connoisseur and tour the vineyards located on the outskirts of Tarija such as in the El Valle de Concepción. There is a grape festival held every March.
- Visit Chorros de Jurina waterfall only 21 km (33.7 miles) from Tarija – popular as a day trip with visitors to the city.
Like many larger cities in Bolivia that recieve a steady-stream of International tourists, language schools have popped-up to serve the needs of those wanting an extended stay sharpening their Spanish skills.
One option is Language School Altiplano – owned and run by two Kiwis who relocated from New Zealand in 2010 and haven’t looked back. They also have a lovely B&B hotel – “Residencial Altiplano“. For more information on both, visit their website: Residencial Altiplano. They also offer relocation services for those interested is moving to Tarija.
Transportation from Tarija to Salta, Argentina by Bus
There is public bus service plus a private shuttle from Tarija to Salta, Argentina. The route takes 8-9 hours and crosses into Aguas Blancas, Argentina from Bermejo, Bolivia.
The private shuttle is run by the company Dragon Rojo (Red Dragon), a more comfortable option in vans than 20+ year old public busses. You pay a bit more but do not have to change busses or pay for taxis. There is an office in Salta (Calle Alberdi #647) and in Tarija (Calle Sucre #235).
Salta is one of our featured relocation destinations: Salta, Argentina – Cheap Place to Live in South America.
Name: Club Social Tarija Restaurant & Hotel
Address: Sucre y 15 de Abril #508 B
Website: None. Formal, business-like atmosphere, located across the street from Plaza Luis de Fuentes y Vargas with WiFi in the hotel and restaurant.
Name: Hotel del Sol
Address: Calle Sucre #782
Website: None. Elegant surroundings at a reasonable price, Internet stations in lobby, WiFi.
Name: Miraflores Hostal
Address: Calle Sucre #920
Website: None. Half block from the market, clean, friendly low-end basic and higher-end fancy rooms. Take your pick.
Address: Corner of Abril & Colon streets at Plaza Sucre
Website: None. Ambiance-full space with seafood galore, pastas, meats.
Name: Cafe Mokka
Address: Calle 15 de Abril at Plaza Sucre
Website: None. Coffeehouse with tasty chow such as crepes, fajitas, enchiladas, pastas and assortment of salads. WiFi.
Name: Oruro Restaurant
Address: Corrado #265 (three blocks from market)
Website: Set menu at lunch, sandwiches, milanesas, salads plus plenty mugs of beer.
Photograph by Molly McHugh, all rights reserved.