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Tourist information

Tour to Jesuit Missions of San Xavier and Conception

The beautiful trip starts from the city of Santa Cruz, the major business city of Bolivia, towards the “Chiquitos”, declared by UNESCO as World Heritage, the great churches are very well preserved as the musical arts of the people.

Other optional visits:

- Strolls along the city of Santa Cruz and the traditional town of Cotoca
- Full day tour to the Ceremonial and Administrative Center of Samaipata, or popularly known as "the Fort", as it was a small fort in the colonial era. It is an enormous hilltop where there are a variety of stone sculpted features such as two large slots, seats, ponds and zoomorphic figures that helped ancient Amazonian peoples arrange their agricultural cycles. This is the largest terrestrial petroglyph.
- Visit Amboró National Park, one of the places with greater biodiversity in Bolivia. There, you can find endemic flora as the giant ferns. He tour continues in Vallegrande where Cuban revolutionary and guerrilla leader Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara was taken prisoner and eventually murdered.
- INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF BAROQUE AND RENAISSANCE AMERICAN MUSIC "MISIONES DE CHIQUITOS", described as the world’s largest event of old music and one of the most influential. This encounter takes place since 1996 every two years and more than 370.000 people have attended 804 masterful concerts performer by the talent of 285 groups and 4,687 musicians from Europe mainly.
- Extension to the Bolivian and Brazilian Pantanal

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Day 1: SANTA CRUZ – SAN XAVIER – SAN IGNACIO

The Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos has endured for more than three centuries. It awakes admiration for the architecture of its mestizo-baroque temples where there are paintings, murals, splendid golden altars, colossal columns carved in wood and a variety of beautiful wood carvings decorating the altarpieces, pulpits and chest of drawers. The churches emulate European constructions due to the influence of the architect of the Missions, Jesuit Martin Schmid, who along with natives and Jesuits built these impressive churches where you can observe the technique learned by natives who enriched this art with their own visions.

We pick you up from your hotel at 7:30 and we head to the Jesuit Missions of San Xavier and Concepción. On our journey we pass through several towns from eastern low areas such as Puerto La Paila, Pailón (the Jesuit missions’ first gate), San Ramon and San Xavier. In this place we are going to experience our first missionary tour.

San Xavier was the first mission founded by Jesuits on 31 December, 1691. It hosted one of the music schools and workshops where musical instruments were manufactured at the time. Its main activities are farming, cattle-ranching and tourism. It is the gateway to the circuit of the Jesuit Missions. Its urban look creates an ideal environment that stresses the majesty of the missional group. During the festivities of San Pedro and San Pablo, the impressive ritual of Yarituses (29 June) is performed; it was also declared as Intangible Cultural Heritage. We pass through Las Piedras del Paquio where you will see the buffalo’s breeding center. Then, we continue our trip to San Ignacio where we expect to arrive at 8 pm.

Day 2: SAN IGNACIO – SAN MIGUEL – SAN RAFAEL – SAN IGNACIO – CONCEPCIÓN

We start a very busy day heading to the missions of San Miguel, San Rafael and a tour around the Missional Temples of Chiquitos, which are surrounded by abundant wildlife and vegetation in this paradisiacal region. In the afternoon, we will take a tour in the town of San Ignacio de Velasco, founded in 1748. It is the largest town of Chiquitania where the customs and traditions are kept alive both in the village and in the communities. One of its main attractions is the craft workshops and Guapomo Dam. Finally, we will travel four hours to the town of Concepción for an overnight stay.

Day 3: CONCEPCIÓN – SANTA CRUZ

After breakfast, we begin our tour in Conception, which in the past was one of the most important missions. The missional group of Conception is called as the ‘Missional Jewel’. Surrounded by exuberant nature, Concepción is a benchmark in biodiversity; it was declared ‘Sanctuary of the Orchid’ due to the wide variety of this flower in its natural habitat. The famous ‘Festival of the Orchid of Conception’ is performed annually in October. Here, we will visit the Anthropological Museum, the Missionary Church, their crafts centers and finally Zapoco Dam. In the afternoon, we return to Santa Cruz.

- Tarifas especiales en las fechas del festival de música barroca.
- El tour inicia y finaliza en su hotel en Santa Cruz.
- Consultar sobre su operación en época de lluvias (de noviembre hasta abril).
- Talleres artesanales sólo abiertos de lunes a viernes.
- Salidas todos los días.
- El programa no Incluye: Transporte hasta y desde Santa Cruz, Hospedaje en Santa Cruz, Alimentación no especificada, Bebidas en restaurantes y hoteles, gastos extras, seguro de viaje, propinas, servicios no especificados.

During the 16th century Jesuit missionaries arrived in the Viceroyalty of Peru sent by the Spanish Crown to bring Christianity to the indigenous people. They established missions in what is now Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. Until their expulsion in 1767, Jesuit missionaries spent almost 80 years in the region.

Inspired by the philosophy of the Society of Jesus, a series of “reducciones” (mission settlements of Christianized Indians) where developed in the Chiquitos territory of eastern Bolivia, at this reductions the Jesuits and the locals blended European architecture with native traditions. The urban design of the missions featured houses spaced along the three sides of a rectangular main square and the fourth side was reserved for the church, workshops and schools. Unfortunately the churches in the neighboring countries are ruins today, only the missions in Bolivia have survived the expulsion of the Society of Jesus in 1767 and preserved the Jesuit cultural and artistic living legacy, the Missions of Chiquitos have six “reducciones”: San Francisco Javier, Concepción, Santa Ana, San Miguel, San Rafael and San José.

The churches at the Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos are remarkable examples of the adaptation of Christian religious architecture to local context. Long walls defining interior aisles divided by wooden columns and exterior galleries, constitute a unique type of architecture, distinguished by the special treatment of the carved wooden columns and banisters, with the exception of the San José church, which is made of stone. All of them with a rich interior decoration and art objects such as sculptures, paintings, altars and pulpits. In 1990 these majestic churches have been declared Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

Conservation and rehabilitation activities at the temples were undertaken in the last 40 years, since they are an expression of art and architecture as the original settlers were trained in the technique of the woodwork and then enrich the art with their own vision, evident proof of this is the International Festival of American Renaissance and Baroque Music "Misiones de Chiquitos", which takes place on a biennial basis in the international version.

The Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos are located 220 kilometers far from the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, at the northeast of Bolivia, close to the Bolivian - Brazilian border of Puerto Quijarro. The first town in the circuit is San Javier, then it is possible to visit San Ignacio, San Miguel, San Rafael and Santa Ana by completing a circular circuit. There are 200 more kilometers to get to San José de Chiquitos from San Ignacio.

PRICES

  • 2 passengers
  • All included
  • Tourist-class hotel
  • Private transportation
  • Bilingual guide (Eng-Sp)
  • 3 lun, 2 din, 2 break
  • All the tickets
  • Transfers in Santa Cruz
  • $ 640 per person
  • Check Availability
  • 4 passengers
  • All included
  • Tourist-class hotel
  • Private transportation
  • Bilingual guide (Eng-Sp)
  • 3 lun, 2 din, 2 break
  • All the tickets
  • Transfers in Santa Cruz
  • $ 550 per person
  • Check Availability

* Prices in American dollars