Mission San Juan Bautista

The Legacy of Padre Tapís at San Juan Bautista

Much of the 15th mission of the Alta California mission system, Mission San Juan Bautista, in San Benito County, California, has been preserved due to its relatively isolated location. This breathtaking mission sits near the only remaining Spanish Plaza in California and the original dirt road, El Camino Real. Here, the road is only 9 feet wide; the width of El Camino Real varies and is generally wider than 9 feet.

The view from the mission is spectacular. It’s no surprise that San Juan Bautista is a popular wedding location. The beautiful church with two side naves is wide (the widest, not the largest of all missions). The mission was and is still nicknamed the “Mission of Music” Native American converts were taught to sing and play musical instruments by Padre Esteban Tapís, a skilled musician and composer. His mission choir was famous for its beautiful singing.

The mission maintains its original function as a place of worship. We were mindful of a private mass inside. We silently took a quick peek while respecting the ongoing service and quickly went outside to explore the beautiful grounds.


When we entered the inner courtyard with inviting gardens, a guide informed us that an owl was resting in the palm tree. We found it sleeping peacefully, high up in the tree, enjoying the sun’s warmth. It certainly picked a perfect spot to rest.


Saturday, October 21, 2023


2.14 miles

Moving Times

0:58:37 hours


66 °F, sun, calm