In the example sentences I have now come across 'de la tarde' and 'por la tarde' both meaning 'in the afternoon'.
Are they interchangeable?
No, they aren't interchangeable.
We use "por la mañana", "por la tarde", "por la noche" to say "in the morning, afternoon, evening". However we use "de la mañana, de la tarde, de la noche" to specify if it is AM or PM, so, for example:
Voy a correr por la mañana.
I go jogging in the morning.
Tengo una cita a las 7 de la tarde.
I have an appointment at 7 in the afternoon (= 7 PM, not 7 AM)
I hope this clarified it.
Thanks for clarifying the difference, Inma.
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