|Department of Tarija
Tarija is also known as the Bolivian Andalusia. It is a land of couplet-makers, beautiful valleys and vineyards; a nice, warm place meant for relaxing and enjoying nature. People are essentially catholic and deeply rooted in tradition, in such a way that the celebrations haven’t lost their vernacular enchantment. It has a rich folkloric, religious and cultural tradition, with well-known celebrations, such as the one-of-a-kind Chapaco Carnival, the Blooming Easter, San Roque´s Celebration, the “Chaguada”, the “Rosario”, among others; there are also events, such as the “EXPOSUR” (South expo). Youthfulness and tradition are always present in these events. The state capital has the same name, and it is known to be one of Bolivia’s most welcoming cities.
In the city
THE CATHEDRAL: It is, without a doubt, an architectural jewel of the XVIII century. It currently holds the Diocese created in 1925, becoming a synthesis of the Jesuit legacy that Tarija’s people are so proud of.
GOLDEN HOUSE: Today, converted into The House of Culture (The City Government’s official culture diffusion centre), it is the main stage of artistic demonstrations, i.e. theatre, music and dance. It is also a major architectural piece from the nineteenth century. The façade echoes a zocle with columns placed as doorjambs and window posts. The interior is decorated with Persian rugs, refined crystal chandeliers and mirrors framed by wood covered in gold leaf.
FRANCISCAN LIBRARY: Placed in the Franciscan Monastery, it houses more than 17.000 titles. It has become one of the most important academic reference places for students and researchers.
SAN FRANCISCO MUSEUM: Repository of the Franciscan Order, established in 1978 at the San Francisco Monastery, in which there is a permanent exhibit of religious, colonial and republican art.
PALEONTOLOGY MUSEUM: Established in 1940, it is a part of the local State University “Juan Misael Saracho”. On display is an invaluable collection of palaeontology pieces and archaeological remains found in Tarija’s provinces.
HOUSE OF “JOSÉ EUSTAQUIO MÉNDEZ”: This is the home of Tarija’s Independence hero. It was established as a museum on September 18, 1966 with an exhibit of personal pieces and war relics.
VICTORY’S CORNER: Located 18 Km. from the capital city, it is a virtual paradise with copious vegetation and pleasant temperature. It has become one of the major tourist attractions. For both locals and foreigners, nature displays green in its entire splendour.
TOMATITAS: Located barely 5 km. from Tarija, you´ll find a natural bathing resort with sun covered beaches, born in the junction of the Guadalquivir and Erkes rivers. It also features a suspension bridge and a small forest park, elements that make it an ideal place for picnics.
SAN JACINTO DAM: Located 7 km. from the city, it is one of the most interesting attractions, because of the mirror made as a result of the quiet waters, resting in the middle of thick vegetation. It is the perfect place to practice water sports, such as swimming, kayaking and sport-fishing.
SAN LORENZO: A place brimming with colonial style, where you can see cobblestone streets, rustic hay roofs, houses with balconies and fences; not to mention the lush field featuring Moto Méndez´s house, currently a museum.
TOLOMOSITA NATURAL BATH RESORT: Geological formations made out of a large extension of white clay walls, standing freely along the riverside, contrast with the sun covered beaches of the opposite river banks of Tolomosia and San Jacinto, located barely 7 km. from the city.
SAN ANDRÉS: Located 25 km. from Tarija, this resort can be added to the many natural baths available in the area. Surrounded by two rivers, it annually welcomes more than 5.000 people visiting the Potato Fair. The place is known thanks to the variety and quality of potatoes to be found.
SAN LUIS: It is practically an urban boulevard; located 7 km. form the centre of Tarija. Thousands of visitors are attracted to San Luis because of the abundant ornamental vegetation, as well as the fruit and vegetable plantations.
PADCAYA: For those interested in research and adventure tourism, Padcaya is the place to be. Located 55 km. from Tarija, it displays a very important variety of fossils and other pieces worth studying.
CHAGUAYA: This town is located 60 km. from the city. Its main attraction is the sanctuary of the “Virgin of Chaguaya”, which, according to tradition, is visited by thousands of the faithful, from August 15 to September 15. It also takes advantage of the land’s richness, so that it has become the area where the best grapes and other fruits are produced.
COMATA: Located 15 km. from Tarija, Comata is a natural attraction with crystalline waterfalls descending between the hills. At the end of the slope there is a pool which is very popular due to the low temperature of the water. Climbing up the ravine, 3 km. approx, one finds big cascades of a 30 meter drop, in the middle of plentiful and beautiful flora, resulting in one of the favourite places to visit for most tourists.