Travelling from Santa Cruz to San Jose De Chiquitos.
The train on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays leaving Santa Cruz at 11.45 no longer runs.
A bus leaves Santa Cruz at 10.30. The road is now surfaced. The journey takes approx. 3.5 hours.
We stayed at La Villa Chiquitana. Calle 9 de Abril. Private room with cable TV, mini-bar, en-suite. Very good breakfast. Swimming pool and nice garden. WiFi only in restaurant and patio area, not in rooms. Helpful French owner (Jerome Maurice) speaks English and can arrange tours. Price $71 a night + 13% VAT. www.villachiquitana.com
Non-guests can use the pool at a cost of BOB 25.
Restaurants in San Jose De Chiquitos.
Little cafes around the plaza selling drinks, empanadas/saltenas in the morning and chicken at night.
Sabor y Arte.
Atmospheric little pizza/pasta place. About BOB 35 for a main dish. Some seating outside. Opens about 19.00. Not open at lunch. Couple of vegetarian options. The French owner Pierre speaks English and is very helpful with information about the surrounding area.
The museum is open 09.00 – 12.00 and 15.00 – 18.00. Sundays 09.00 – 12.00.
Entrance to the church is free. Entrance to the museum, BOB 20 p.p. Information in Spanish only.
Travelling between San Jose De Chiquitos and San Ignacio/San Rafael.
The tourist office told us that a bus leaves on Mondays and Fridays at around 07.00. You just have to stand on the side of the road (opposite the railway station – about a 15 minute walk from the plaza) and wait for it. Or a bus leaves every day at 00.30. Again you just have to wait at the side of the road. This bus reaches SR at approx. 04.00.
But this information turned out to be incomplete. We travelled on another bus, which left on Saturday at 07.15, leaving from the company office. Think this company runs a bus on Fridays and Saturdays. Not sure if the bus on Mondays exists. The journey time to San Ignacio De Velasco is approx. 6 hours.
The other option is private transport, which is very expensive. We were told between BOB – 800-1,000.
Hotels San Ignacio De Velasco.
We stayed at Casco Viejo (just around the corner from Hotel La Mission). Clean, spacious room and bathroom (bathroom did smell a bit musty) – good breakfast, cable TV, Wifi, and fridge. BOB 250.
Owner eager to please. Able to arrange a taxi to visit other mission churches.
There is an Alojamiento and the Hotel Palace, both on the central Plaza 31 de Julio.
Couldn't find Casa Suiza – don't think it exists anymore.
Get a map from the tourist info. (not open on Sat. or Sun. if you arrive at the weekend) on the corner of the plaza – it lists 17 places to stay in town.
Restaurants San Ignacio de Velasco.
Club Social. Seemed to be open only at lunch time. Offers filling, tasty and reasonably priced food. After some bewildered looks, they gave us soup, rice and vegetables for BOB 40. Meat looked and smelled delicious!
Heladeria Ame Tauna. A lovely little place at the side of the church. Outdoor seating. Serves toasties, empanadas, cake, juices and good coffee as well as ice-cream. Open 16.00-22.00 Tues. - Sun.
Food at “5 star” Hotel La Mission is overpriced and not that good (but a nice place to sit).
Transport to San Miguel, Santa Ana, and San Rafael.
Can easily be done by taxi in a half-a-day round-trip from San Ignacio. Cost BOB 450.
Transport to Concepcion.
Transporte 31 del Este runs a daily bus to Santa Cruz via Concepcion. Leaves at 11.00. Cost BOB 60. Other companies run buses which leave at 18.00. Journey to Concepcion takes approx. 5 hours. All transport companies are listed on the tourist info. map.
Hotels in Concepcion. (13 according to tourist info. map)
We stayed at Hotel Colonial. (2 star on tourist info. map).Very simple, small room with private bathroom and hot(ish) shower. No fan. Nice people, friendly place, very clean, good breakfast for the price, small garden. Perfect, except for the mattress, which is probably the worst we've ever slept on. We left after one night. BOB 100 per night.
Moved to Residencial Westfalia. (1 star on tourist info. map). German/Bolivian owners. Great. Very quiet, clean, with fan. Rooms arranged around a small garden. Place to sit outside in a shady corridor. Breakfast pretty good. We had a room (no. 14) with 3 beds and private bathroom (hot shower). BOB 160 per night.
El Buen Gusto. Nice patio, food OK. Not much choice and even less for vegetarians. Good salad buffet at lunch and dinner – free with meal.
There is an internet cafe on one corner of the plaza. Infotur was very helpful here. Museum ticket costs BOB 25 and is valid for 1 day.
Travelling from Concepcion to San Javier.
Buses leave for Santa Cruz at 07.30, 10.30, 13.00, 15.00, 18.30, 22.30, and 23.00 and stop at San Javier on the way. Journey takes about 50 minutes. Bus Company: 102 Trans Guarayo.
Travelling from San Javier to Santa Cruz
One option is to wait for the next through bus from Concepcion, but you might have to wait awhile and may not get a seat. We got a trufi (shared taxi), which was more convenient, quicker and not expensive. However the trufi did not drop us in the centre of Santa Cruz, or even at the bus station, but at their company office, which is not very central.