Generally seen by travelers as a way station to several international borders, this region of southern Bolivia sees relatively few tourists. The culture gravitates toward neighboring Argentina and dreams of being closer to faraway Andalucía. Famed for its dances, wines and Mediterranean feel, Tarija especially is worth a visit in its own right. Only a short distance from its charming, tightly packed, colonial center are vineyards, waterfalls and hiking trails in high alpine country.
Further to the east in the isolated Gran Chaco, the greenery fades to flat, petroleum-rich, scrubby red-earth expanses backed by stark highlands. This is where you’ll find Bolivia’s hottest town, Villamontes, and a series of remote, difficult-to-access reserves where wildlife abounds and few people tread. If you're well-outfitted and self-sufficient or plan far enough in advance with a tour company, a trip here could be one of your most memorable experiences in Bolivia.