You find the Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos in the province of Santa Cruz, in the eastern part of Bolivia between Santa Cruz and the border with Brazil. They were founded to convert local tribes to Christianity. The missional towns are a mixture of European and Amerindian cultures and are today all UN World Heritage sites.
Between 1767 and 1768 the Jesuits were expelled from the Spanish Empire including from the Spanish-controlled part of South America, leaving incomplete and abandoned their work. While in Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil the missional towns mostly disappeared, they remain intact in Bolivia.
The “Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos ” were declared in 1990 a World Heritage Site by Unesco. Tourism has become an important source of income in the region, improving infrastructure. The Chiquito Missions are a highlight for educational travel and music festivals. There are also numerous natural attractions such as rivers, lakes, hot springs, caves, and waterfalls.
The Chiquitania is a region still off the beaten track for most South American Travelers. We plan to travel to the Chiquitania aboard the “Expreso Oriental” on our Bolivia – Brazil by Rail Tour that we organize for the end of 2017 and in 2018. The tour will include many outstanding but unknown travel destinations as most our tours do.