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Piedra Buena

Buses traveling up and dwn Argentina’s Ruta Nacional 3 in southern Patagonia often stop at Piedra Buena, a small town at the junction of Ruta Nacional 288 to El Chaltén. Passengers gazing out the windows catch views of the village’s public art. Trash bins are creatively masked by wood sculptures of local fauna. The streets are an outdoor gallery with colorful murals narrating the history and legends of the region. The most impressive is a 27-meter (88 ft) long embroidered wool tapestry recounting the adventures of mythic Aónikenk hero Elal.


When in 1859, Comandante Luis Piedra Buena arrived on Isla Pavón, the only settlement in Argentina's Patagonia was Carmen de Patagones far to the north. He left three sailors ashore who built a small shelter. Their efforts grew into a major shipping port on the north bank of Río Santa Cruz called Paso Ibáñez. During the 1920-21 labor unrests, severel bloody confrontations occured here. The following decade its name was changed to honor Piedra Buena.


The heart of the town is Isla Pavón in the center of Río Santa Cruz. Here is Casa Museo Comandante Luis Piedra Buena, a replica of the house in which Luis Piedra Buena, one of the first explorers of the Patagonia, had lived. The museum contains photographs of Piedra Buena, Francisco “Perito” Moreno, Carlos Moyano and other notable Argentines who resided there. Also on display are artifacts discovered on the original site, and a miscellanea of antiques, fossils and indigenous items. Isla Pavón as well has a tourist complex with camping, tourist information office, and top-notch hotel and restaurant. From December to April, you can drop the line into the river for perch and trout. The steelhead trout season is mid-February through May. Piedrabuenenses host the Festival de Teatro Provincial every year.




Piedra Buena has a complete slate of services, including a Dirección de Turismo tourism information office (Avenida Ibáñez 157, Tel.: 02966-1557-3065, E-mail: /, URL: /, police (Lavalle Este 70, Tel.: 49-7063), Banco Santa Cruz with ATM (Avenida Ibáñez 168), post office (Ibáñez Norte 374 ), telephone centers, internet, hospital (Mayer, between Lavalle and Mitre, Tel.: 49-7125) and pharmacies.



Camping Isla PavĂłn (

Huayen (Belgrano 321, Tel.: 49-7265, E-mail: – single $17, double $26-29

El Alamo 1 (Lavalle 08, Tel.: 49-7249) – single $34, double $37

Río Santa Cruz (Ruta Nacional 3, acceso Piedra Buena, Tel.: 49-7245, E-mail: h_Rí – single $40, double $47; includes breakfast



No Hay Dos Sin Tres (Lavalle 708, Tel.: 49-7947)

Rotisería Doña Blanca (Dufour 29, Tel.: 49-7493)

Restaurant La Pilla (Ruta Nacional 3 and acceso a Piedra Buena)



(Altitude: 10 m / 325 ft, Population: approximately 5,000, Phone Code: 02962)




Other places nearby Piedra Buena : Península Valdés, Viedma and Carmen de Patagones , Trelew, Río Gallegos, Monumento Natural Bosques Petrificados, Las Grutas, Gaiman, Puerto Santa Cruz, Rawson and Caleta Olivia .

By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

02 Oct 2009

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