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Paraguay: The Jesuit Missions of the south

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Two of the most southerly of Paraguay’s departments, Misiones and Itapuá, are distinguished not so much by their geography or land use, but by their unique cultural history.  This is the peaceful, rolling land of the Jesuit Missions, the history of which has until now exerted a huge influence on the region.

When Jesuit Missionaries arrived here during the early 1600s they established settlements known as Reductions, which  flourished for over 150 years. Here, the indigenous Guaraní people were housed, educated and given spiritual guidance by the priests. They were introduced to co-operative farming, music, architecture and art, the vestiges of which are on display long after the decline of the Missions in the 18th century left most of original 30 towns in Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil in ruins. These sites are now protected by UNESCO listing and form part of the Ruta Jesuita, a convenient way to visit the ruins and museums while passing through a totally rural landscape cornfields on decent roads. 

Our holidays to The Jesuit Missions of the south

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Jesuit Route - Trinidad

Signature Paraguay: The Missions and the Chaco

Private journey

12 days from £3,801pp

Things to do in The Jesuit Missions of the south

Jesuit Route - Trinidad

Explore the Jesuit Missions


A night walk in Trinidad Jesuit Mission ruins

Our insider tips for The Jesuit Missions of the south

Claire Milner

Claire Milner

Don't miss the chance to appreciate the skills of the Jesuits and their Guarani understudies in the stone friezes and door lintels of La Santísima Trinidad del Paraná and Jesus de Tavarangue.

Chris Parrott

Chris Parrott

To see more of the creative output of the Reductions, visit the museums of San Ignacio Guasú and Santa Maria de Fe dor fabulous examples of Jesuit-Guarani art.   

Chris Rendell-Dunn

Spend a night in Santa Maria (4hrs from Asunción), travelling through typical small towns which offer a snapshot of Paraguayan life, and soak up the atmosphere of the most idyllic and picturesque part of the country. 

David Nichols

The Ruta Jesuita is conveniently situated for a visit if you are making your way between Iguazú Falls and Asunción. 

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