This gorgeous, colorful 18th-century church is part of one of Bolivia’s few surviving Jesuit missions.
Enter this 18th-century church, and you’ll find yourself immersed in a world of bright colors, intricate patterns, and superb architectural details. It’s a feast for the eyes, made possible by a troubling concoction of Old World colonialism and New World traditions.
The church is part of the mission of San Xavier (sometimes also spelled San Javier). The mission was first established in 1691, but moved around a bit before finding its permanent spot in the 18th century. A Swiss Jesuit architect completed the church that still stands today in 1752.
Missions sprouted up across Bolivia during the 17th and 18th centuries. Each one typically featured a church, workshop, and school, all centered around a courtyard. Jesuits sent by the Spanish Crown to explore the South American frontiers created them to convert the indigenous people to Christianity.
Despite their colonial pasts, which sadly involved removing native people from their homes and forcing them to convert, the missions stand as beautiful examples of New World religious architecture.
Florida manatees swim and sleep in the sunshine and golden-brown panthers prowl the shady forests at Everglades National Park.
A swampy wilderness of gnarled cypress stands and waving sawgrass just beyond Miami’s suburbs, this 1.5 million-acre UNESCO World Heritage Site can seem timeless.
But rising sea levels have spiked the fresh groundwater beneath the Everglades with salt, and plants and wildlife must quickly adapt to new conditions to survive.
That’s why the Everglades are among the eight World Heritage Sites in the Americas included in UNESCO’s list of “World Heritage in Danger,” an exclusive club of 55 destinations, dominated by war-torn countries and terrorist hotspots.
Stretching from the Florida backwoods to an ancient Peruvian city and ghostly Chilean mines, these eight sites are some of the Americas’ most extraordinary places.
Are you stressed, bored or in dire need of an excuse to take a little ‘vacay’ out of the country? Our world is a huge place to cover and popular has become boring. So pause your US and Europe plans for just a second, have you considered South America?
Well, geography isn’t everyone’s strong-suit so here is a little reminder – South America boasts some of the world’s finest places; Amazon – the world’s largest rainforest, The Andes – the world’s longest mountain ranges and Angel Falls – the world’s highest waterfalls are all found in South America.
Do we have your attention now? Good. We’re going to tell you about some of the popular destinations that most tourists visit in South America and some that will just be a treat for you peeps.
Where everyone goes in South America and you should too
LA PAZ – Located in the lower eastern zone of Bolivia, far from the arid altiplano, among huge haciendas and isolated communities, are the last functioning Jesuit missions in the Southern Cone, those that survived destruction after the expulsion of the Jesuits in the 18th century.
In Bolivia’s Chiquitania region, located in eastern Santa Cruz province, there are six missions recognized in 1990 as Unesco World Heritage Sites: San Javier, Concepcion, Santa Ana, San Miguel, San Rafael and San Jose de Chiquitos.
Founded by the Jesuits between 1696 and 1760, all have virtually their entire original structures, the facades bearing the characteristic ochre tones and even the paintings that church officials and local residents made during that period.
Currently, local residents continue attending mass inside the missions and listening to the music from the organs there, which have hundreds of years of history.
2016 was a big year on our little road trip through the Americas with a total of 15,200 miles (24,462 km) on the road. While that pales in comparison to the miles we were putting on annually when we were in North America nearly a decade ago, it’s double the mileage of most recent years.
All those miles really got us around and in 2016 we visited or revisited seven countries: Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Brazil, Bolivia, and Argentina. Our previous record was five countries in one year back in 2011 when we were in Central America. We also had a record eight border crossings in 2016, bringing our total border crossings for the Journey so far to 56. For more amazing road trip stats, visit our freshly updated Facts & Figures page.
We look at skyscrapers and dams and see them as pinnacles of human engineering, content in the fact we can build whatever we want. However, we often fail
to remember the technological marvels of ancient history—buildings or temples which seemed impossible to construct by primitive cultures. Here are ten hopefully lesser-known examples of amazing ancient construction.
Located in Northwestern New Mexico, Pueblo Bonito is the largest and most well-known example of a great house (village) built by the ancestral Pueblo people. The village’s construction began in the early part of the 10th century AD and continued for nearly 180 years, reaching a peak of around 800 separate rooms, with some buildings having as many as five stories.
It was first discovered in 1849 by US Army Lieutenant James H. Simpson and his guide, Carravahal.