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On the border with Argentina, not far from the most southern tip of Bolivia, you’ll find Bermejo, 180 kilometers (112 mi) south of Tarija. A town of about 40,000 people, the place runs on frontier trade and the central market is heaving with goods fresh off the barge from neighboring Aguas Blancas in Argentina, which is on the other side of the Rio Bermejo. The reason for the foundation of the town however, less than a century ago, was oil and natural gas and the country’s oldest mine shaft can be found here. It also supplies most of Bolivia’s sugar.

Most people just pass through Bermejo on their way to/from Argentina, and there isn’t much to see in the town itself, but there’s some stunning countryside surrounding it if you fancy getting off the tourist trail for a few days. Sixty kilometers (37 mi) north of the town you’ll find El Cajón, the south-eastern tip of a national nature reserve, which is filled with tall Chaco forests. It’s popular for fishing in the Rio Grande – catches here can be up to two meters (6 ft) long. For trekking, the Reserva Nacional de Tariquíais is also the place to go – it’s half way between Tarija and Bermejo. There are also some archaeological sites in the community of Flor de Oro, north of Bermejo. If you have a few hours to kill while in the town itself, there are some natural baths, El Chorro.

Bermejo has a postal service, a hospital, and internet and telephone services. There are several hotels around the plaza, or you could head to Hotel El Turista on Avenida Barranqueras (Tel: 591-4-6961198) next to the river. You can also find restaurants around this area. There are plenty of places to change money and an immigration office in town.

Altitude 500 meters. Population 40,000


Other places nearby Bermejo: Reserva Nacional de Flora y Fauna Tariquia, San Vicente, Villazón, Uyuni, Tupiza, Reserva Biologica Cordillera de Sama, Salar de Uyuni and Southwestern Lakes, Tarija and Oruro.

11 Oct 2009

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