Upon arrival in Tarija or Tupiza, the two main towns in the Bolivian far south, you may be forgiven for thinking you had wandered onto the set of a Hollywood spaghetti western.
Dramatic landscapes of red rock mountains and jagged quebradas blend into thorny arid plains of cacti and scrubland. The connections with the American wild west are deeply embedded in the mythology of this region where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid supposedly made their final stand against the Bolivian army after a string of South American bank robberies. Local tour operators offer adventurous horseback riding trails to the reported site of the outlaw’s final battle and whilst the accuracy of the location can be questionable, it is a great way to see the striking landscapes of the Potosí department.
Similar to the sleepy towns of northern Argentina, the pace of life here on the southern border is slow, where traditional ways of life predominate and delay the gradual onset of Bolivian modernity. Hikes to local waterfalls, horseriding, mountain biking, glamping under clear starry skies and touring the boutique high-alititude vineyards outside of Tarija are a few highlights of the area.