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Jesuit Missions Bolivia Chiquitania Chiquitos Concepcion Ruta Verde Tours Bolivia
Jesuit Missions Route in Bolivia

The Chiquitania receives its name from the native inhabitants of this area, the chiquitos or chiquitanos. In this place Jesuit reductions were settled in the second half of the XVII century (from 1691 until 1760). They remain in time as an extraordinary legacy because they are the only Jesuit missions in South America which were not destroyed after the Jesuits were expulsed from the Spanish colonies. They are not ruins but villages full of life, with people who still go to mass in the same majestic churches or to enjoy the same baroque music concerts, in the same way they used to do when the Jesuit ruled these missions three centuries ago.

Concepcion - Jesuit Missions Bolivia  Concepcion-Jesuit Missions Bolivia

The following are the Missions we visit in our Jesuit route:

San Javier
The baroque style church (built between 1749 y 1752, and restored between1987 and 1993) is part of the first Jesuit mission in Chiquitos founded in 1691. The edification invites to enjoy the artistic beauty of its architecture with carved ornaments in the columns and drawings in wood with yellow brown and black colors.

Concepción
It has a Jesuit baroque style church built between 1752 and 1753, restored and reopened in1982. It is built with 3 main structures, row of columns carved in wood, altars and paintings made by the local native people. This church is considered as the jewel of the region, watching it at sunset is an unforgettable view.

San Ignacio
The baroque style church (built between 1749 y 1752, and restored between1987 and 1993) is part of the first Jesuit mission in Chiquitos founded in 1691. The edification invites to enjoy the artistic beauty of its architecture with carved ornaments in the columns and drawings in wood with yellow brown and black colors.

San Ana
Santa Ana de Velasco, founded in 1755, was founded by one individual, the Jesuit missionary Fr. Julián Nogler. It is also the only settlement that has its complete original church still intact. The church was built after the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1767. Santa Ana is a quiet little town with barely 280 souls and with a timeless feel to it.

Bells in San Rafael - Jesuit Missions Bolivia  Toborochi tree in Santa Ana - Jesuit Missions Bolivia

San Miguel
San Miguel was founded in 1721 and is a small town, with less than 5,000 inhabitants. Like its sister communities of Santa Ana and San Rafael, San Miguel is a quiet spot where time seems to have stood still for the past three centuries. Its church is considered the most historically accurate of all the restored Jesuit churches.

San Rafael
San Rafael, the second oldest mission settlement, was established in 1696. Translated once in 1701 and again in 1750, it shares many of the same characteristics that nearby Santa Ana de Velasco and San Miguel de Velasco possess: a timeless charm, tranquil lifestyle, and fidelity to its Jesuit-inspired traditions.

San José
San José de Chiquitos, the third-oldest Jesuit mission in the Chiquitania, was founded in 1696. It is one of only four missions that has retained its original location. The town is quite peaceful, much like what Santa Cruz was fifty years ago: wide, dusty streets straight out of a Hollywood western movie, complete with cowboys, ranchers, and a dusty but charming main square with a beautiful church.

Ruta Verde offers you this route combining art, architecture, culture, music and nature. A unique outing by places where history has been conserved for more than 3 centuries, an opportunity to know and admire the ¨mestizo¨ baroque style, product of the European influence mixed with the artisan and artistic work of the indigenous people.

The majestic churches designed by the Swiss architect, musician and Jesuit Martin Schmidt have been declared Cultural Patrimony of Humanity by UNESCO

 


The Jesuit Missions in Bolivia


REFERENCE PROGRAM


ONE DAY PROGRAM

Early in the morning we will pick you up from your hotel in Santa Cruz with private transport to take you to San Javier (225 km/140miles).

Visit to the first and oldest mission in the region of Chiquitos, founded by the Jesuits in 1691. Visit to the Jesuit church. Lunch. Visit to the museum of the Mission and the music school. We will visit the Mirador "Piedra del Bibosi" (natural lookout point) and the place known as "Piedras de los Apóstoles", where the "pinocas" (native people) used to dance in honor of their god Nupayaré.

Return to Santa Cruz. (Approximately 4 hours)


TWO DAYS PROGRAM

DAY 1
Early in the morning we will pick you up from your hotel in Santa Cruz with private transport to take you to San Javier (225 km/140miles).
Visit to the first and oldest mission in the region of Chiquitos, founded by the Jesuits in 1691. Visit to the Jesuit church. Lunch. Visit to the museum of the Mission and the music school. We will visit the Mirador "Piedra del Bibosi" (natural lookout point) and the place known as "Piedras de los Apóstoles", where the "pinocas" (native people) used to dance in honor of their god Nupayaró.

handicraft  woodcarved church

If they are open, we will visit the workshop galleries where artisans still work the wood using the same techniques they learned from the Jesuits and enriched with their own versions of art. They create religious images and beautiful music instruments.

handicraft workshop in Concepcion  Patio in Concepcion

In the afternoon we will go to Concepción (founded in 1709), the second mission of our excursion (1 hour from San Javier). On the way we will see palm tree savannahs and we will stop at the Parador Las Piedras, a nice picture spot with big granite rock formations.

Check-in at the hotel in Concepción where we will spend the night.

DAY 2
After breakfast we will visit the church of Concepción and its museums. The most complete museum about the Jesuit Missions is located in Concepción. We will have lunch in Concepción and afterwards drive back to Santa Cruz. (Approximately 5 hours)


THREE DAYS PROGRAM

DAY 1
Early in the morning we will pick you up from your hotel in Santa Cruz with private transport to take you to San Javier (225 km/140miles).

The first and oldest Jesuit Mission (1691) was founded with the name ¨San Francisco Xavier¨. After visiting the church and its museum we continue our travel towards the second Mission called ¨Concepción de La Virgen Maria¨ (Concepción), founded in 1709. On the way we will see palm tree savannahs and we will stop at the Parador Las Piedras, a nice picture spot with big granite rock formations.

In Concepción we will visit the museum and the church. Check-in at the hotel in Concepción where we will spend the night.

DAY 2
Today we will drive to San Ignacio (171 km from Concepción). Of the 12 originally founded Jesuit Missions, San Ignacio represents the 7th Mission, founded in 1748 (476 km/296miles from Santa Cruz). San Ignacio has the highest number of inhabitants of all the Missions. We will spend the night in San Ignacio.

*Optional is visiting the Missions Santa Ana, San Rafael and San Miguel this day. In order to do so, we must leave Concepción early in the morning and the schedule doesn't allow us to spend a lot of time in Santa Ana, San Rafael and San Miguel.

DAY 3
Return to Santa Cruz (Approximately 8 to 9 hours). We will have lunch in Concepcion or San Javier.


San Miguel  Santa Ana

FOUR DAYS PROGRAM

DAY 1
Early in the morning we will pick you up from your hotel in Santa Cruz with private transport to take you to San Javier (225 km/140miles).

The first and oldest Jesuit Mission (1691) was founded with the name ¨San Francisco Xavier¨. After visiting the church and its museum we continue our travel towards the second Mission called ¨Concepción de La Virgen Maria¨ (Concepción), founded in 1709. On the way we will see palm tree savannahs and we will stop at the Parador Las Piedras, a nice picture spot with big granite rock formations.

In Concepción we will visit the museum and the church. Check-in at the hotel in Concepción where we will spend the night.

DAY 2
Today we will drive to San Ignacio (171 km from Concepción). Of the 12 originally founded Jesuit Missions, San Ignacio represents the 7th Mission, founded in 1748 (476 km/296miles from Santa Cruz). San Ignacio has the highest number of inhabitants of all the Missions. We will spend the night in San Ignacio.

DAY 3
After breakfast we will take off to the Missions of San Miguel (1721), San Rafael (1695) and Santa Ana (1755). Santa Ana is the penultimate Mission founded before the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1767. It is the most native in its art expression. In all these villages (where it seems time stood still for 300 years) you will be able to enjoy the typical scenery of the Chiquitania, the museums and the handicrafts workshop galleries where native artisans still carve the wood using the same techniques they learned from the Jesuits and e enriched with their own expressions of art. They create religious images and beautiful music instruments.

After lunch we will continue the trip to the last mission of the route: San José de Chiquitos (1797) where we will have dinner and spend the night.

Church in San José de Chiquitos  San José mask

DAY 4
After breakfast visit to the church. The architecture of this church differs from the others because it is completely made of stone. Lunch and return to Santa Cruz (approximately 4 to 5 hours).

Please contact us for more information or for making a reservation.

Please read what our clients say about their trip to the Jesuit Missions!


The Misional museum in Concepción.



Recommended: Baroque Music International Festival - Chiquitos  RECOMMENDED: The NEXT International Baroque Music Festival- and other Misional Music Festivals in August every year in the region of the Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos. Contact us for more information.
If it is not possible for you to plan your visit during the music festivals then we can arrange a private miniconcert so you can taste a bit of it during your visit to the beautiful missions!

Seasonal Baroque Music concerts Orchids Festival



The International Baroque Music Festival.


Does your interest go more to the nature? for example to beautiful orchids?! Then visit the Missions in october during the Orchid Festival. Contact us! for more information.


The Orchid Festival in October every year. More info.




Seasonal Baroque Music Festival in August every year. More info.




 

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