Cookies

At Journey Latin America we use cookies to give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on our website.
Find out more


My Enquiry is for
*
Contact details
*
*
*
*
Enquiry
*
*

Santa Cruz and the Oriente: Visit the historic Jesuit missions

Visit Us

Visit the historic Jesuit missions

In the early days of the colonisation of the steamy forests and rugged mountains of the remote Bolivian interior the conquistadores failed to subjugate the fierce indigenous tribes.  Jesuit missionaries were invited in. They managed to beguile the indians to congregate in settlements (reducciones) clustered around grandiose churches.  The opulence of the wooden places of worship, with their intricate carvings and gold leaf, contrasted markedly with the humble homes of the worshippers. The Jesuits also taught the local populations to write and play religious music, some manuscripts of which have only recently been uncovered.  A festival of baroque music is held in Concepción biennially, (even number years).

The Jesuits were expelled and the churches fell into disrepair until the 20th century when many of the churches were meticulously restored by the local populations and are now protected by UNESCO World Heritage Site status. 

Now you can visit the small, isolated rural towns and villages, where most homes are still constructed from adobe and thatch, and the population is predominantly indian. The pitched roofed churches, the bell towers and the cross surrounded by four palms dominate the large grassy main squares, a public space much used by the community for relaxation and even for grazing animals.

Once inside you will be overwhelmed by the richness and intricacy of the interior, the delicate, detailed artwork, often referring to the history of the missions, interweaving their story with that of Christ. Marvel at the gold leaf, the graceful carvings, the sacred ornaments. Each church is distinct from the next; some are simple, others more elaborate. Visit the workshops and see the local people at work, the craft shops, and even maybe a rehearsal for the music festival.

Our holidays including Visit the historic Jesuit missions

View all holidays
Market life in Bolivia

Signature Bolivia: The final frontier

Private journey

14 days from £3,935pp

Tailor-made holidays

We specialise in creating bespoke holidays designed according to your specific requirements.

Our tailor-made holiday service includes:

  • • A dedicated and friendly specialist to guide you through the planning process
  • • Our unrivalled knowledge of the region based on over 36 years' of expertise
  • • Access to the widest range of accommodation and activity options
  • • Your perfect itinerary, crafted exclusively for you

Speak to an expert 020 8747 8315

Other ideas

Bolivian orchid

Samaipata, El Fuerte and Amboro National Park

La Higuera

Follow the Ruta del Che: Guevara Trail


Articles you may like

Browse our inspiration area of the site. It's packed with insider travel tips, Top5s, competitions, events, recipes and holiday ideas for Central and South America sure to whet your travel appetite.

More inspiration

96% of our clients rated their experience with us as Good or Excellent.


© 2016 Journey Latin America

Consumer and Financial Protection

Page Full Path: /sitecore/content/JLA/Home/destinations/bolivia/places-to-visit/santa-cruz-and-the-oriente/things-to-do/Visit-the-historic-Jesuit-missions

Page ID: {941BF751-A289-4C65-A7A8-115B5F328224}

Page Name: Visit-the-historic-Jesuit-missions

Page Display Name: Visit the historic Jesuit missions

Page Template Name: T012-Activity

Page Template ID: {1C3DC5E2-9625-40B4-8DA8-8DE959FA4ADF}

Parent ID: {D215588F-3144-44C7-B857-8324607A7666}

Parent Name: things-to-do

Parent Display Name: Things to do

Parent Template Name: T006-ThingsToDo-Place

Parent Template ID: {C7611AAD-8D6F-4D65-A35B-1EDD0CF924B0}