Jesuit Missions of the Chiquitos
Jesuit Missions © Bamse
The Jesuit Church sent missionaries to a number of Bolivia's rural areas in the 16th century, with instructions to 'civilise' and convert indigenous tribes. Today, travellers can visit the churches they built and cultivated. Many vibrant villages lie around these beautiful colonial structures, which were collectively designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990. The six historic missions that remain intact are San Miguel, San Jose, Santa Ana, Concepcion, San Rafael, and San Francisco Javier. All of them are in the Chiquitania region near Santa Cruz. Many local tour operators offer packages that include visits to several villages, all within easy reach of the city.