This Jesuit Missions tourist attractions page will simply list all the things to do, places to go and what you can visit or see in each Jesuit Mission town. Have you already been to the Jesuit Missions? Share your travel stories, photos, comments and suggestions on tourist attractions in this region if you've already traveled and want to share a special gem-of-a place with the rest of us. Christmas, New Years, Easter Weeks, and specific local festival days are also listed below.
Read my page on Urubichá here
●Río Blanco river near the town
●Franciscan temple in the center of town
●World renowned music school, choir and orchestra (in the center of town)
●A little town called Yaguarú 35 kilometers from Urubichá
●Laguna Yaguarú (lagoon) also 35 kilometers away
Urubichá also has artisan shops where you can buy woven fabrics, hammocks, wood carvings, and handmade musical instruments.
Urubichá is one of the towns that participates in the International Baroque Music Festival that takes place every two years (the next one is scheduled for April or May 2010 and reservations must be made months in advance).
August 2nd is their Patron Saint Day
San Ignacio de Velasco
Read my page on San Ignacio de Velasco here
●The Jesuit temple on the main plaza
●The main plaza itself (called Plaza 31 de Julio)
●San Juancito indigenous community about 20 kilometers away
●Represa Guapomó (a dam that has turned the river into a lake just outside of town)
Also, tourists usually stay in San Ignacio and take a day trip through Santa Ana, San Miguel and San Rafael, each about one hour from San Igna, returning to San Igna in the afternoon.
If you're truly adventurous and didn't FLY to Noel Kempff National Park (if you're driving there I salute you) San Ignacio is one of the last major towns you'll go through for the next 400 kilometers.
San Ignacio also has many artisan shops and is one of the main towns in the International Baroque Music Festival every two years. There are also NATIONAL baroque music and theater festivals each year called the Festivales de Temporada here.
These three towns are very very small and their main attractions are their central plazas and mission temples. All have some artisan shops where you can purchase wood carvings, woven fabrics, and baked goods, as well. You can usually cover them all as part of a day trip leaving and returning to San Ignacio de Velasco.
San Rafael's Patron Saint Day is October 24th.
San Miguel's Patron Saint Day is September 27th and celebrations (traditional music and dancing) carry on for two days, ending on the 28th.
There is also a yearly National Woodcarving Festival and Fair in San Miguel each year, usually during the first week of November.
Read my page on San Javier here
●Jesuit mission complex, temple and museum on the main plaza
●Germán Busch Casa de la Cultura (Cultural Office) downtown
●Laguna Soroboquí (a lagoon 2 kilometers from town)
●Los Tumbos, Las Abras - community 18 kilometers from town
●Aguas Calientes just 13 kilometers from town
●Aguas Tibias 36.5 kilometers from town
●The Piedras de los Apóstoles Park and Mirador Bibosí - a scenic overlook south of town. Santa Rosa de la Mina
(9 kilometers after San Ramón and 35 kms before San Javier)
San Javier has numerous artisan shops where you can purchase wood carvings, woven goods, baked goods, ceramics, flowers and plants, clothing, clay figurines, and San Javier's hugely famous artisan cheese!! (3 blocks from the main plaza).
Santa Rosa de la Mina is one of my favorite places to go. It is a 5-star resort with lakes, 18-hole golf, horseback riding, sauna, jacuzzi, spa, swimming, restaurant, fishing etc. and a REAL gold mine on the property!
Many people don't know this, but
(famous Bolivian artist and sculptor, and one of the founders of the
Manzana Uno art gallery
on the central plaza in Santa Cruz) has his own art gallery in San Javier called the
It's two blocks from town and it's amazing!
San Javier participates in the International Baroque Music Festival every two years, and also in the Festivales de Temporada (the national yearly music and theater festivals).
San Javier also shows off its wonderful cheeses during a yearly Festival del Queso usually in March or April.
You can also see the Danza de los Yarituses (traditional dances) during the Festivals of San Pedro and San Pablo each year, usually on June 20th and June 30th, respectively.
On the last Sunday in September San Javier has it's San Javier Tradition Days called Fiesta de la tradición Xaviereña.
And finally, December 3rd is San Javier's Patron Saint Day.
Read my page on Concepción here
●Mission complex and temple on the main plaza
●Vicariate Artisan workshops in the town center
●The Jesuit Mission museum at the front of the church
●The Ayoreo-Chiquitano ethnological and cultural museum
●Represa Zapocó (a dam that has turned the river into a lake 2 kilometers from town)
●Laguna La Pachanga (a lagoon about 3 kilometers from town)
●Cascada San Isidro (waterfalls) about 17 kilometers from town
●Huge black rocks where you can get a view of the entire region about 5 kilometers from town
●The Santuario de la Orquídea (Orchid Sanctuary) about 47 kilometers from town.
Concepción also has numerous artisan shops and the Gran Hotel Concepción (the huge hotel on the central plaza) is worth a walk-through. It has some great masks and handmade items up on walls and all over its interior design.
What Concepción is famous for is its International Orchid Festival (Festival Internacional de la Orquídea) held each year the 2nd weekend in October. It's one of the most beautiful times to go and reservations fill up at least 2 months in advance.
December 8th is Concepción's Patron Saint Day.
Read my page on San Matías here
●Laguna La Gaiba
●Indigenous communities such as: Candelaria, Posone, Bahía Negra, Santo Corazón
Being right on the border with Brazil, in Bolivia's beautiful Pantanal region, San Matías has a lot of Brazilian influence. This is not a Jesuit Mission town but is part of the Mancomunidad Chiquitana, which is why it is included in this section. Most of what you'll find here is Brazilian merchandise.
In early August of each year San Matía has an exposition fair where people sell all types of merchandise called the Fexpo Matías.
San José de Chiquitos
Read my page on San José de Chiquitos here
●Historical town center
●Mission complex and temple
●Santa Cruz La Vieja (2 kilometers away - the ORIGINAL and first location of the city of
Santa Cruz de la Sierra
which was later moved to where it is now)
●Barrio Artesanal 24 de Septiembre (artisan neighborhood) in the center of town
●Mennonite colony 45 kilometers from town (be respectful and you'll be welcomed, otherwise NOT)
●Santa Cruz la Vieja National Park 5 kilometers from town
●Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley) 7 kilometers from town
●Serranía San José (gorgeous mountain range) 5 kilometers from town
San José de Chiquitos celebrates the foundation of the original Santa Cruz de la Sierra on the 26th of February each year.
This is also one of the towns that participates in the International Baroque Music Festival every two years
Every 1st of May San José celebrates its Patron Saint Day with a cattle fair and auction
The 2nd Sunday in October of each year San José celebrates Día de la Tradición (Traditions Day)
Roboré and Santiago de Chiquitos
●Chorro San Luis (3 kms from town)
●Cascada de los Totaizales waterfall (5 kms from town)
●Cascada de los helechos (waterfall and fern forest) 5 kms to the North
●"San Manuel" natural pools and swimming area (3 kms northeast)
●Balneario Natural Ferroviario (another area of natural pools) 2 kms east
●Cueva de los Monos (a cave) 5 kms north
●San Manuel rock paintings (2 kms from Roboré)
●San Sabá rock paintings (20 kms from town)
●Serranía de Santiago de Chiquitos (mountains 25 kms north)
●Serranía de Chochis, La Torre (mountains 40 kms west)
●Santuario Mariano de la Torre de Chochis (sanctuary) 40 kms west
●Aguas Calientes, Los Hervores, El Burrito (about 40 kms east)
●Santiago de Chiquitos Jesuit Mission temple and town (23 kms northeast)
●Santuario de la Virgen Asunta (sanctuary) in Chochis (40 kms west)
Roboré is located right on the road and Santiago de Chiquitos is a small 23-km drive off the main road. If you want to visit this mission town you will most likely stay in Roboré although Santiago does have 4-5 tiny places that provide accommodations.
This is an especially beautiful area of Bolivia. It's natural beauty is breathtaking.
Santiago de Chiquitos participates every two years in the International Baroque Music Festival.
July 21st is Santiago's Patron Saint Day.
Roboré is not a Jesuit Mission town. Here you can purchase leather goods, hand-carved furniture, hand-woven and macramé purses and handbags, hand-carved figurines, and learn about traditional medicines.
In Santiago there are several artisans you can visit as well.
The Bolivian Pantanal is one of the best areas to see wildlife, birds and plant life. It's one of the most biodiverse areas on Earth.
Otuquis National Park is amazing - you need a guide and a permit to enter national parks in Bolivia.
Puerto Suárez is rapidly becoming a booming trade point as it is on the border with Brazil. You can purchase handcrafts and lots and LOTS of Brazilian merchandise.
In Puerto Quijarro you can visit the Tamengo Channel and Free Trade Zone where you can purchase Brazilian merchandise. Handcrafts are also available here.
Neither one of these is a Jesuit Mission town. However I've included them in this section because they are members of the Mancomunidad Chiquitana. Both are located where the Chiquitanía region ends and the Pantanal begins.
El Mutún is the world's largest deposit of iron ore and is currently under development.
Puerto Suárez celebrates its Foundation Day every year on November 10th with the FEXPO PANTANAL which is a large exposition or trade fair where you can purchase merchandise of all kinds.
Puerto Quijarro celebrates its Foundation Day on November 21st.