Travel Tarija: Valle Concepcion

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Valle Concepcion is a beautiful valley region under one hour from the city of Tarija, Bolivia. Here you can visit the haciendas and wineries and see some of the world's highest vineyards. Tarija is known for its prize-winning wines which you can taste if you take a vineyard tour, along with some of the region's most typical cuisine.

Since the vineyards and wineries are the most important tourist attractions in Tarija, every tour operator offers day trips to Valle Concepción. Most tours make stops at several of the best known wineries and the tour often includes a wine tasting.

You'll also make a stop in the tiny town of Uriondo where the Casa Vieja winery is located. Many of the wineries have their own restaurants and are specifically set up to receive tourists. Tours include visits to the old hacienda houses, tours of the grounds, and sometimes a demonstration of how "vino patero" is made.

Many of the most commercial tours don't actually give you the chance to see wine being made. That's because they stop off at the largest wineries which mostly make wine for export, and thus use machinery to mass produce. You'll want to choose a tour that will give you the chance to see something more authentic, like how "vino patero" (foot-squashed wine) is made.

Tarija is also famous for its Singani, a clear alcohol that looks like vodka, but is made from grapes, and its port wines which are very sweet and delicious after a meal. Some of the wineries, such as Casa Vieja, have small stores where you can purchase wines, Singanis, and other items like bottled preserves (grapes, grape marmalade, olives, and other fruit) and local handcrafts.

Valle Concepcion is beautiful and very near the city. It's well worth a trip out here even if you aren't into wine. The mountains and valleys are a pretty backdrop for the little Colonial towns, vineyards and haciendas and are a nice place for photos. Some of the haciendas themselves are hundreds of years old and you'll appreciate them just for the architecture. Touring an old hacienda really gives you an authentic feel for how people lived during Colonial times in Tarija.

As you return to the city of Tarija you'll pass under an arched sign that speaks of how nice Tarijeños are. It says "You leave us your affection and take with you our friendship".

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