Baja California Sur is a state that has lots to offer visitors, featuring a rich historic past and incredible natural beauty, making it an ideal choice for a wonderful vacation on Mexico's Pacific coast.
Something that you must include on your travel itinerary is a tour of the Jesuit Missions of Baja California Sur, which have witnessed the passing of time and the transformation that this important tourist destination has gone through.
Evangelization by the Society of Jesus started in this region at the end of the 17th century, after the Spanish Conquistadores stopped their search for treasure and faced resistance from the natives. The movement was headed by Father Juan Maria Salvatierra, and resulted in the construction of 18 different missions. Listed below you'll find the most important ones:
Our Lady of Loreto Concho Mission
Founded in 1697 by Father Juan Maria Salvatierra, and located in the "Pueblo Magico" (Magic Town) of Loreto, this mission stands out for its antique baroque altarpiece and for the authentic pieces displayed in the church, as well as for its oil paintings and original image of Our Lady of Loreto. This was the center for evangelization of the whole region.
San Francisco Javier Vigge Biaundo Mission
In 1699, Father Francisco Maria Piccolo founded what is now considered to be the "Jewel of the Baja California Missions". Here you can admire different sculptures, oil paintings, Churrigueresque-style altarpieces, the cemetery, its interior archways, and the Cavalry Cross on the exterior. Located just 20 miles from Loreto, it's popular for the festivities in the month of December, known as the Festivals of San Javier, which see the participation of hundreds of pilgrims and devotees.
Santa Rosalia de Mulege Mission
Featuring an "L"-shaped, stone construction, this mission was built in 1705 by Juan Maria Basaldua. It boasts artifacts that date back to the 18th century, like the sculpture of Saint Rosalia and a bell. The mission still holds Mass on Sundays and holidays.
San Jose de Comondu Mission
Built in 1708, by Fathers Julian Mayorga, Juan Maria de Salvatierra, and Juan de Ugarte, this mission has suffered the passage of time and the effects of political and religious changes over the centuries. It was demolished and what remains today is the sacristy, where you'll find oil paintings, bells, and stone figures.
San Ignacio Kadakaaman Mission
This site is one of the best-preserved; its construction was started by the Jesuit Juan Francisco Luyando in 1728 and concluded by the Franciscan Juan Crisostomo Gomez. It is located 45 miles from Santa Rosalia and was made using large blocks of volcanic stone. It features an image of San Ignacio de Loyola, as well as oil paintings and a wooden altarpiece covered with gold leaf.
Get the most from your vacation in Loreto and the surrounding area. Admire the contrast of the colors of the sea and the desert, sample the local cuisine, and fall in love with this beautiful place framed by the beauty of the Sea of Cortez.
A Tour of the Jesuit Missions in Baja California Sur
- Tere Leetch
San Ignacio Kadakaaman Mission