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Mission of San Rafael de Velasco

The Mission of San Rafael de Velasco, founded in 1696 by Jesuit Fathers Juan Bautista Zea and Francisco Hervás, is a baroque jewel in Chiquitos. Its missionary complex, built between 1743 and 1747 by Father Martín Schmid, was painstakingly restored to its original splendor in 1971 under the direction of the architect Hans Roth and Father Godofredo Trenker, OFM. The temple houses valuable pieces from the Jesuit era, such as paintings on canvas, carved wooden furniture embedded in the walls, the pulpit, the image of San Rafael brought from Europe and an altar veneered with pink mica. In addition, its natural environment, surrounded by abundant wildlife and vegetation typical of the Chiquitano dry forest, offers a unique ecotourism experience, especially in the San Rafael Municipal Reserve.

San Rafael de Velasco plays an important role in the Baroque Music Route of Bolivia as part of the Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos. These missions, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1990, are a living testimony of the encounter between different indigenous cultures and the Catholic religion. Baroque music, along with other cultural manifestations such as handicrafts, dances and fiestas, are an integral part of Chiquitos’ identity. San Rafael, with its restored mission complex and stunning natural surroundings, invites visitors to immerse themselves in this unique experience and appreciate the rich cultural heritage of the region.


    • Address
      San Rafael, Bolivia
    • Web
    • Visiting Hours
    • What to see
      Ancient church from colonial times

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