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Top Bolivia

San Ignacio De Velasco

Population: 30,000

The largest and the most important of the Jesuit Missions, San Ignacio de Velasco combines a laidback, welcoming atmosphere with a simmering commercial center, propelled by cattle ranching and wood exports. It’s the fastest growing town in the department other than Santa Cruz, but still manages to maintain its frontier feel with red dirt roads and bustling markets, and you’re likely to hear scatterings of Portuguese being spoken around town. San Ignacio de Velasco can be found north-east of the city Santa Cruz, 160 kilometers east of Concepción on a dirt road and roughly 280 kilometers from San Matías, on the border with Brazil.

San Ignacio was founded in 1749 by two Jesuit friars, Miguel Areijer and Diego Contreras, near the site of a former settlement called San Ignacio de Zamucos. The original church was seen as the highlight of all the Jesuit churches due to the amount of large wood carvings used in the building. The current church is a reconstruction, completed in 2001, which was painstakingly built to the exact dimensions of the old church.

The rebuilding of the church reignited the artisan community in San Ignacio and it’s a great place to pick up traditional carvings, ceramics and leather work. The municipal of Velasco, to which San Ignacio is capital, has made great efforts to support local indigenous communities, and has received national recognition for its efforts. It’s possible to visit some of these communities and observe traditional ways of life and purchase artisan products straight from the producer; San Juancito is the most accessible of these.

As is the case in all the Jesuit Missions, music is an integral part of the culture in San Ignacio and the town has its own orchestra and choir, made up completely of local children. The group has toured all over Europe and is one of Bolivia’s best. If you’re not lucky enough to be in town when they’re practicing or performing, then there is a small group who are available to perform baroque music on request, a taste of the musical heritage of the Gran Chiquitania.

San Ignacio’s location makes in the perfect base to visit the smaller missions to the south: Santa Ana, San Miguel and San Rafael. You can visit these smaller villages in a day trip from San Ignacio. It’s also the jump off point to visit the breathtaking Noel Kempff National Park, although it’s probably easier to arrange your trip in Santa Cruz beforehand. The Área Natural de Manejo Integrado San Matías can also be reached from here.

There are plenty of accommodation options in town, from budget hotels to luxury accommodation. Restaurants are more limited, but you should be able to find somewhere that’s open at any time of day, and many of the bigger hotels also have decent restaurants. As is popular all over the region, there are plenty of places to cool off if the heat gets too much – the man made Laguna Guapomó borders the northern and eastern sides of the town and is the perfect place for an afternoon dip. There are also a couple of balnearios (outdoor swimming pools) in town too.


Neighborhoods in San Ignacio De Velasco: San Juancito,

Other places nearby San Ignacio De Velasco: San Miguel de Velasco, San Javier, San José de Chiquitos, The Bolivian Pantanal, San Rafael, Samaipata, Santa Ana de Velasco , Roboré, Santiago de Chiquitos and Chochís, Amboro National Park and Vallegrande.

05 Apr 2010

Top Hotels of San Ignacio De Velasco

Hotel Palace

Hotel Palace is right on the main plaza and has beds for just over $7 per person. The rooms are functional but are bright and clean, and there are four quarters with balconies looking over the plaza. ...
San Ignacio De Velasco, Bolivia

Hotel 31 del Julio

The super budget option in the centre, Hotel 31 de Julio has basic rooms along the side of a large courtyard. There’s doubles, twins, triples and one room with five beds, all going for roughly ...
San Ignacio De Velasco, Bolivia

Hotel La Mision

The luxury Hotel La Mision offers tranquility and culture in the center of town. There’s a small swimming pool, garden patio, restaurant, internet room and 32 rooms with cable TV, frigobar and ...
San Ignacio De Velasco, Bolivia

Parador Santa Ana

There has been a lot of attention paid to detail at this small hotel a few blocks from the main plaza. Rooms are tastefully decorated with beautiful wooden furniture and good beds. There are comfy ...
San Ignacio De Velasco, Bolivia

Hotel Sumuque

Hotel Sumuque is a delightful family-run hotel a few blocks from the main plaza. The rooms are bright and spotlessly clean with wooden beds, good mattresses, tiled floors, cable TV and plenty of ...
San Ignacio De Velasco, Bolivia

Hotel Caparú

If you want to get away and relax then Hotel Caparú is just the ticket. Situated right next to the lake, they provide beautiful chalet type rooms set around landscaped gardens and a decent swimming ...
San Ignacio De Velasco, Bolivia

San Ignacio De Velasco's Best Restaurants

Pollos Q'Rico

A popular local fast food spot that serves up the usual chicken, chips and hamburgers as well as the occasional fish dish - ask to see if there’s any available. The inside seating area has huge ...
San Ignacio De Velasco, Bolivia


If you want to combine a bit of people watching with having your evening meal then Venecia is the place to come. Right on the main plaza, Venecia serves up a selection of Bolivian favorites like ...
San Ignacio De Velasco, Bolivia

Club Social

A great lunch spot, the historic Club Social opened in 1906 as a cultural and social centre and is the second oldest social club in the country. Food is served at the side of the large courtyard that ...
San Ignacio De Velasco, Bolivia
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