Bolivia Wine Tours in Tarija.

Posted by on Jul 26, 2011 in Bolivia | 2 comments

They have a saying in Tarija, “Si usted no va a beber el vino en Tarija entonces por que venir a Tarija?”  Translation, “If you are not going to drink the wine in Tarija then why come to Tarija?”

Whoa, we thought… Bolivia has a wine country? Nice we thought we’d accidently “stumbled” into a city full of winos, we should have no problem fitting in here.

We “wasted” no time scouring the city for a suitable tour and found a promo wine tour that was only $100 Bolivianos or $15.50 US dollars for both of us! Yay for budget travel! We also lucked out again and got an English-speaking guide. Huge perk since we usually don’t understand what’s going.  Smiling and nodding is still our go to response even though our Spanish is starting to improve… alittle.

Thirsty anyone?

Our first stop was an Industrial Bodega (winery) called Campos de Solana, whose label is commonly found in restaurants and grocery stories all over Bolivia.  While we sipped on Cabernet Sauvignon reserve and snacked on chocolate covered peanuts, olives, and cheese, we learned that we should not get attached to any of the wines we taste on our tour since Tarija and hence Bolivia does not export any of their wines.  Sad face.

Doors to happiness.

They don’t export because they just don’t produce enough. One industrial winery in Mendoza, Argentina produces as much as the whole Tarija wine region!  But just because they don’t export doesn’t mean they don’t know how to  “hold their own” with the world’s best. Campos de Solana’s tasting room is adorned with medals they’ve received in world completions.  Below is a picture of us holding Campos de Solana’s Reserve bottles that won a wine tasting competition in Atlanta, GA!

Tarija Reserve, won in Atlanta

Next we visited Canon de la Angostura, which was breathtaking, like I had to catch my breath every time a car went past on the suspension bridge we were on because it felt like it was going to give out.

Canon de la Angostura

Next, we tasted some jellies, cheese and desert wine at Boutique las Duelas, which is a tasting room in some small village outside of Tarija.  When you walk in you feel like you are walking into a wine barrel.  There, we were served by a Cholita, which is a traditional Bolivian woman wearing a skirt, braids and an English bolder hat.

Ben and I posing with a Cholita

The last bodega (winery) was an Artisan bodega called Casa Vieja, meaning Old House.  The Jersuits built it 400 years ago as a convent. It was a remarkably charming hacienda style building with gorgeous view of the vineyard and the Andes.

The wine tasting at Casa Vieja meant that they poured one glass for each of their wines and we passed the glass down a line, each of us taking a sip out of the same glass.  Hygiene is just not a priority here in Bolivia and you could tell the German couple was happy to be at the beginning of the tasting chain.   It was my birthday, which I happily announced at the beginning of the tour so I got to be at the end to “finish” the glass of wine.  How could I say no to that kind of hospitality?  eek! Down the hatch, here’s to wishful thinking and no backwash. Hopefully none of the 5 prior people were sick and if there were any unfriendly germs the alcohol would kill it.

The tasting group. I drank after everyone, kinda gross, but they all looked clean.

The tasting group. I drank after everyone, kinda gross, but they all looked clean.

It was such a beautiful place that Ben and I convinced our guide and the German couple on our tour to have lunch here instead of heading back.  This was our view as we sipped on Orange Fanta and ate Pollo Picante (Spicy Chicken) and rice.


The view.


  1. Hi, guys! I am heading to Tarija soon and was just wondering what tour company you did the wine tour with.

    • Hi Stephanie, Oh… we are jogging our memories trying to remember the name of the company, but we can’t remember. There was a very nice tourist office in Tarija which was very helpful.

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