The Andalusia of Bolivia

Tarija, Bolivia

By: John Kazaklis

Nestled in a southern corner of Bolivia lies the attractive city of Tarija. This Mediterranean-like city may not be on the well-travelled touristic path or as big as La Paz or Cochabamba, but it sure does have soul. I may be a little biased since Tarija is where my grandfather was from and where I still, to this day, have a large portion of my Bolivian family, but I truly believe this place is one of Bolivia's best kept secrets. This city is known all over Bolivia and the region for several things: its favorable climate, the laid back Andalusian-esque lifestyle, its famous cueca folk songs, its famous vineyards and high altitude wine, and its charming people. Even the local TarijeƱos, or chapacos as they call themselves, speak Spanish with a rhythm and cadence that sounds like they are singing. Locals truly enjoy living life. The local dish, saice (pictured below), and a chicha de mani drink from a street vendor (also pictured below) are definitely musts. Life here is slow and good.