The Sama Biological Reserve protects sandy Sahara-like dunes, tens of thousands of flamingos and startling clear night skies, all within several hours of Tarija. On the cold and windy puna (high open grasslands) portion of the reserve (3400m above sea level, nearly the same altitude as La Paz), you can visit the Tajzara Lagoons, a Ramsar site of international importance for aquatic birds. Here, several shallow flamingo-filled lagoons appear like jewels in the harsh altiplano, vegetated only by thola (a small desert bush) and paja brava (spiky grass of the high altiplano).
Tarija’s New Agers consider Tajzara to be a natural power site while the locals claim that the lakes are haunted by nocturnal spirit voices and woe betide anybody that stays out after dark. The night air does produce some eerie voice-like cries, but unimaginative people ascribe the phenomenon to winds rushing through the thola.