Tarija

Onto my final destination in Bolivia, a town called Tarija. Perhaps to the suprise of many of you Bolivia has a wine region, certainly this was a suprise to me! Tarija is the main town of this region. It is a popular holiday destination for Bolivians and Argentines, due to its proximity to the border. There is not a huge amount to Tarija itself, there are a couple of nice plazas with nice restaurants, cafes, etc. However, the main attraction is the nearby vineyards which offer tours to show you about the processing of the wine.
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I decided that a couple of wine tours was the way forward, especially since so far south America had proved rather poor on the wine front. Tarijas unique selling point is the altitude at which the wine is grown, apparently the highest in the world. The vineyards, or bodegas as they are known here, are set in stunning locations with beautiful mountains all around. For some reason the wine that we tasted was by the far the worse wine the vineyard offered. In terms of business sense this seemed confusing, until I realised that the bolivians on the tour were all buying multiple bottles. The more premium wines are for the more discerning Europeans and North Americans!
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We were also given to taste some of the local spirit, called singani. Our guide kindly told me it was just water, perhaps more stupidly I believed him, and took a massive gulp. Needless to say I did not enjoy this experience! The tour was typically bolivian in organisation, in that we toured a vineyard called Kohlberg, but were only able to buy other branded wine at a wine shop we stopped at! I did however manage to get a couple of bottles subsequently and they were actually very good. A lovely surprise!
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After 3 days in Tarija tasting a multitude of drinks, some good others not so much, I took yet another night bus into Argentina to Salta my next stop.

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