Tours Jesuit Missions (from Sa. Cruz)

Much more than just churches!
Beautiful environment, friendly people, a completely different pace of life!
This tour combines culture with nature.

 

A really special tour is one to the Jesuit missions. Also called the Jesuit circuit and then people mean the "loop" from Santa Cruz to: San Javier, Concepción, San Ignacio de Velasco, Santa Ana, San Rafael, San Miguel, San José de Chiquitos, and back to Santa Cruz. Nevertheless, these are not all of the Jesuit missions.
 

From two days on you can visit the missions, which are situated east and northeast of Santa Cruz. If you want to do the whole circuit you need a bit more time.

And if you for example also want to visit the mission of Santiago de Chiquitos, -one that is absolutely worth a visit- then you should think of 5 days to a week.

You have to realize that the distances are not so big, but that the roads are not in a great condition, which means that the average speed is low.

And of course you want to have the time to see the places well.

 

If you have:
You can visit these places:
2 days San Javier and Concepción
3 days

San Javier, Concepción and San Ignacio de Velasco
or:
San José de Chiquitos, la Torre de Chochis and Santiago de Chiquitos

4 days San Javier, Concepción, San Ignacio de Velasco, San Miguel, San Rafael, Sa. Ana and San José de Chiquitos
5 days San Javier, Concepción, San Ignacio de Velasco, San Miguel, San Rafael, Sa. Ana, San José de Chiquitos, la Torre de Chochis and Santiago de Chiquitos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What makes the Jesuit missions so special is that in Bolivia, other than in Argentina or Paraguay, the churches are still intact. They are renovated under the architect Hans Roth and they even were declared UNESCO world heritage! The area of the missions is rich in culture and has a special history.

We can make a program for you in consideration with the available time. Please contact us.

 

We give you some general information already about the Jesuit missions and their history.
The area of the missions used to be inhabited by tribes that lived as nomads. The Jesuits first established an autonomous religious state in Paraguay and spread from there to -amongst others- the missions in Bolivia. Here they established settlements with two or three priests at the head of each settlement and each settlement got its own army that was reputedly the best trained army of the continent. They protected the area against the Portuguese in Brazil and the Spaniards on the other side.


Sa. Ana

The Indians profited from living in a settlement while they could escape in this way from the encomienda system (according to what system they were pressed to work in exchange for protection) and slavery.

 

The missions lived their reign supreme under priest Martin Schmidt. He had the missions of San Javier, Concepción and San Rafael de Velasco build and designed some of the altars and musical instruments.

 

The Spaniards began to realize that the Jesuits became more and more powerful and in 1767 the missions were dissolute and the Jesuits expelled from the continent.
After the Spaniards found out that the settlements weren´t profitable they left, soon followed by the Indians. What remained were ground for agriculture and the fantastic churches that can still be admired.

 

The Jesuits didn't only bring the Indians their religion, but also their culture; among other things the Indians were taught how to make musical instruments such as harps and violins out of wood, and they also learned how to play the instruments. Once every two year there is a baroque concert in the churches of the missions, which attracts worldwide interest.
Musical instruments and ornaments are still manufactured by hand in this region. You can have a look at them or even buy them in one of the workshops where you can see the craftsmen at work.

 

Natural arch, Santiago de Chiquitos

The whole region breaths a special atmosphere, life babbles on quietly. You won´t forget a visit to this area.


In addition, Santiago de Chiquitos has a splendid nature to offer.


You can choose from various (day) hikes to a viewpoint over the immense green valley of Tucavaca, to a natural formed arch and ancient rock paintings. The Tucavaca valley is a protected area and tapirs and jaguars still live here.


Santiago de Chiquitos is situated higher than the other missions and therefore it is a bit cooler.
 

 

 

  • Included:
    Private transport;
    Spanish or English speaking guide, depending on your choice and availability;
    Meals from lunch on the 1st day up to and including lunch on the last day;
    Stay(s) overnight;
    Entrance fees.
  • Not included:
    All other costs that are not specifically mentioned.




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