If you are looking for a quick and comfortable trip from Tarija to Salta, or vice versa, I recommend that you ride on the Dragon Rojo (the Red Dragon), a comfortable mini bus that does daily trips between these two beautiful cities.
Leaving Tarija at 4:00 am in the morning you head south toward the Bolivian border town of Bermejo. While waking up to leave at that hour seems unpleasant, it does have its benefits.
Even at this early hour you see signs of life along the way as you pass through the valleys and vineyards of Tarija. There are lights shining in the courtyards of houses as people wake and get ready for their day’s work. Then as the daylight starts to creep into the countryside you get to see the small pueblos coming to life, the farmers heading off to their fields, the traders wheeling their carts to sell their wares in the local village.
After crossing the mountain range you head down into the valley with its rich tropical foliage to follow the river to Bermejo. Here you see more activity; children walking to school, people standing on the side of the road waiting for a bus to pick them up and take them to town, some early morning fisherman in their boat on the river, and farmers harvesting produce from their fields or taking their cows out to the fields to graze for the day.
Around 7:00 am you arrive at the border bridge just north of Bermejo to go through Bolivian customs while the van goes into town to refuel. When it returns you cross the bridge, pass through Argentine customs and then Argentine Immigration, where the driver takes your passports to get your Visa entry stamp.
After by-passing Aguas Blancas on the Argentine side of the border you are given a light breakfast snack and are reminded to adjust your watch by 1 hour.
The scenery in Argentina is different. They valleys and mountains have given way to wide flat plains filled with crops, orchards, and sugar cane. You see lines of trucks with several trailers qued up waiting to enter the sugar refineries, roadside stalls with their fruit orderly displayed.
You pass through small towns, some nice others not so, pause at numerous police check points, take a bathroom stop and get to buy a drink or a few snacks before you finally arrive in Salta around 1:00 pm.
If you are travelling from Salta to Tarija the van leaves Salta at 5:00 am and arrives in Tarija around 2:00 pm.
From Salta to Tarija the cost is just 140Ars and from Tarija to Salta 250Bs (USD36.00) per person. (See Argentina to Bolivia – the Best Route for the Dragon Rojo contact details)