Founded in 1574 by the conquistador Luis de Fuentes as San Bernardo de la Frontera de Tarixa as a Spanish frontier outpost on the far southeast edge of Alto Peru to guard against incursions by the indomitable Chiriguano tribes of the Chaco, Tarija is one of Bolivia’s oldest settlements.
Located at an altitude of nearly 6500 feet above sea level, the city of Tarija is well known for its pleasant and sunny weather, with warm days and cool nights.
The climate is mild and even year round, with an average high of 29°C (84°F). In June and July though, night time temperatures combined with cool wind can plummet down to 8°C (46°F).
Today the town has a population of over 300,000 and is the second fastest growing city in Bolivia economically thanks to large gas reserves.
The surrounding country landscape includes rivers and lakes flanked with vineyards surrounded by sprawling valleys and beautiful mountain scenery.
The city itself has a small-town feel and the “Chapacos”—as Tarijeños call themselves—are friendly and easy-going people who are proud of their indigenous and colonial heritage. They are easy to engage in conversation and will gladly give of their time to visit with strangers.
Tarija is widely known as the "wine capital" of Bolivia, regularly receiving regular visitors from as far away as Europe. But for many of the locals, alcoholism is a big struggle. It is very common to see people passed out on the street from too much to drink.
Located just a 3 hour bus ride from the border of Argentina, it is a very popular tourist destination.