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San José de Chiquitos

Populations: 11,000

The dusty, laidback tranquility of San José de Chiquitos will have you hooked in no time. Founded in 1696 by friars Felipe Suárez and Dionisio Avila, it’s one of the oldest Jesuit Missions, with its beautiful World Heritage recognized adobe and stone church a living monument to its history. The village was founded just five kilometers away from the original site of the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, which was moved to a new location in 1595. The site is now a national park and can be visited easily from the town center.

San José de Chiquitos is situated half way between Santa Cruz to the west and Puerto Suarez and the border with Brazil to the east. It’s on the route of the notorious death train, which you could easily be stuck on for days but is never short of an adventure.

If you’re planning to do the whole mission circuit, then San José de Chiquitos will be your first or last stop. The town lies where the dry Chaco plans meet the humid forests and the road that heads north towards San Ignacio passes through some stunning scenery.

For many years San José de Chiquitos was the most important settlement on the mission circuit but those days are long gone and it now has the feel of being suspended in time. The surrounding area is made up of cattle ranches and Mennonite communities, whose residents make up the proportion of visitors to the town.

San José de Chiquitos may not be full of action, but its residents are super friendly and will be only too pleased to tell you about their town’s highlights and history. There are a few artisan stores in town where you can buy local handicrafts including the unique abuelo masks used in many of the traditional celebrations here, and hammocks that have been hand-woven in local indigenous communities.

Music is also fundamental to the culture here and the town has its own orchestra. Accommodation and restaurant options are limited, but there are a few decent places to stay and you can nearly always find somewhere to eat over by the train station, where a ton of food stalls serve weary travelers.


Other places nearby San José de Chiquitos: San Miguel de Velasco, Parque Nacional Kaa-lya del Gran Chaco, Santa Cruz, Amboro National Park, San Rafael, Villamontes, Buena Vista, Roboré, Santiago de Chiquitos and Chochís, Santa Ana de Velasco and La Higuera.

05 Apr 2010

Things to do in San José de Chiquitos

Jesuit Mission complex

The striking mission complex, the only one constructed in stone, takes up one whole side of the main plaza and consists of the mortuary chapel, the church, the bell tower and the school. The complex ...
Historical Building
San José de Chiquitos, Bolivia

Plaza Principal - Plaza Padre Felipe Suárez

The dusty plaza principal in San José de Chiquitos is at the heart of the town. It’s a picturesque spot filled with palm trees, toborochi trees and pretty blooms, and there are plenty of benches ...
Other Activity
San José de Chiquitos, Bolivia

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