Mission San Xavier del Bac Tours
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Located in nearby Tucson, Mission San Xavier del Bac is a Spanish Catholic mission dating from 1692 when it was founded by Father Eusebio Francisco Kino, a Jesuit missionary. At the time the area was an Indian village, and Kino was the first non-Indian to visit the place, which was then known as Wa:k (although he wrote “Bac,”). It is he who called for the construction of the church, named in honor of San Francisco Xavier; however, the church needed to be rebuilt after 1770 due to destruction from Apache attacks.
Because at this time Spanish Jesuits were banned from the Americas, it was rebuilt under the eye of the Franciscans. This is a unique facet of Mission San Xavier del Bac, as it’s one of the few Arizona missions still led by Franciscans, with mass still taking place. Additionally, the church is touted as the oldest European structure in Arizona still intact, and often the country’s best example of Spanish Colonial architecture.
As soon as you arrive at the site, you’ll understand why it’s known as the “White Dove of the Desert.” The structure is done in white adobe with a sand-colored ornate entrance, which appears striking against the cacti-filled desert landscape. Inside, original statuary, frescos and sculptures bring history to life with such beauty even non-religious visitors can appreciate it. In fact, the artwork is a highlight of a visit. It is recommended to take a tour with a docent -- which typically take place 9:30am, 10:30am 11:30am and 12:30pm, although call first to confirm -- to really grasp the history of the mission and understand what you’re looking at in the church and museum areas. Before leaving, light a prayer candle and browse the gift shop for a momento of your trip.
Mission San Xavier del Bac is free to enter, and is open 7am to 5pm daily. The mass schedule is Saturday Vigil at 5:30pm; Sunday 8:00am, 11:00am, 12:30pm; Monday through Friday 6:30am (Juan Diego Chapel); Tuesday through Friday 8:30am (Mission church).
Address: 1950 W. San Xavier Road, Tucson, Arizona 85746, USA
2 Tours and Activities to Experience Mission San Xavier del Bac
On this all day trip from Phoenix to Tombstone, travel back to the days of the Wild West to 'The Town Too Tough To Die,' where you’ll visit the famous OK Corral and Big Nose Kate’s Saloon. Hear tales and legends of American outlaws in this legendary frontier outpost, where money, fame and lust were always at odds with the law. You’ll also visit San Xavier de Bac Mission while enjoying the drive back to Phoenix, for a full day of exploring two of Arizona’s most popular sights. Choose between a small-group or private option.
Price varies by group size
Price varies by group size
Travel back in time to one of the most famous Old West towns with a day on the streets of Tombstone. The home of the famous OK Corral lets you experience the lives of outlaws, businessmen, miners, and cattlemen who flocked to the area for a chance to strike it rich on the frontier. A ride straight from your hotel takes you out of the city for your visit to the historic town. While you're in Tombstone, pay a visit to the original gathering spots for outlaws and gunmen, like Big Nose Kate's Saloon and the Bird Cage Theatre, which earned a reputation as the wickedest nightspot between Basin Street and the Barbary Coast. True to the reputation of the Wild West, gunfights and stand-offs were a regular occurrence, and many of their victims are buried at the infamous Boot Hill Cemetery—named for the men who died and were buried, with their boots still on. On your way back, visit the White Dove of the Desert; one of the Southwest's best-preserved missions at San Xavier del Bac.
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What's the best way to experience Mission San Xavier del Bac?
The best ways to experience Mission San Xavier del Bac are:
- Small Group or Private Tombstone & San Xavier Mission Day Trip from Phoenix
- Private Tombstone Arizona and San Xavier Mission Day Trip
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