Jesuit Missions, 2 days
Your guide will pick you up at your hotel in Sa. Cruz for the journey through the beautiful green lowlands.
After we leave the city behind us, the landscape changes. You can see Mennonites riding in their covered wagons in this region where they have their colonies. From San Ramón you will enjoy the slopes in the landscape. Your guide can point you to palm trees that are suffocated by bibosi trees. In the whole area you will see agriculture and cattle. San Javier is known for its dairy products, cheese and yogurt.
If you pay attention you can probably see some birds of prey and toucans.
After about 4 hours of driving we will arrive in San Javier.
San Javier was founded on December 31, 1691 by two Jesuits missionaries. It was the first mission in the Chiquitania. The missionaries had been instructed to find a route between Asunción and Santa Cruz. San Javier was chosen as a stop between both places.
The founders were almost starving of hunger when they became friends with the Piñocas, the original inhabitants of the place. They could not travel any further and so the settlement came here, further north than planned.
As with several Jesuit missions, San Javier was moved several times. Since 1708 it is located on this spot. From its inception, San Javier was the capital of the Jesuit Missions for almost 90 years.
Former president Herman Busch (1937-1939) was born in San Javier.
Nowadays, the city is frequently visited for a quiet weekend by rich cruceños, many of whom have luxury cabañas (weekend houses) and farms on the outskirts of the city.
We will visit the church and the museum. The paintings of the church have different colors than the churches in the other missions because natural dyes that were available on the spot were used.
After lunch it is still an hour's drive to Concepción.
Along the way we will pass a collection of huge stones dating from the ice age, Piedras de Paquió.
There are many different types of orchids in the Concepción area.
Concepción was founded in 1699 and was also moved. Since 1722, Concepción has been located at the current location. The Jesuits lived here until they were expelled by the Spaniards in 1767 and fled into the woods.
We will visit the church. Dinner and stay overnight are in Concepción.
The next day we will visit two museums, one of which is located in the former home of Hugo Banzer, ex-president (1997-2001) and dictator. Then we will return to Sa. Cruz.
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