La Gran Chiquitania

April 18, 2012 Condé Nast Traveller India

“On All Souls Day, the butterflies arrive,” Mauricio told me, clutching his violin and bow, “and the spiders cross the road.”

We were in the tiny village of Santa Ana de Velasco, a remote settlement on the Jesuit Mission Circuit of the Gran Chiquitania in the lowlands of southeastern Bolivia. We had just left mass at the village’s 18th-century church, the last and smallest of the UNESCO-protected Jesuit missions built in the region. Outside, the expansive plaza was empty save a few boys roughhousing in the pavilion at its centre. (more…)