At the Junction of Ruta Nacional 3 with Ruta Nacional 281 is the village of Jaramillo, Where he was executed, a statue of FacĂłn Grande, an organizer of the 1920-22 workers strike in Santa Cruz Territory, watches travelers turn off onto Ruta 281 for Puerto Deseado. Highway 281 cuts across the steppe to Puerto Deseado, on left bank of the RĂo Deseado estuary near the mouth of the river into the Atlantic Ocean. This port is anchored upon the massive boulders that stud of a landscape sculpted by wind and water.
In these modern times, Puerto Deseado has a dry port for ship repairs and a shipping port. But for many centuries, sailors knew this protected bay to be the perfect place to do ship repairs and seek refuge from storms. In 1520 Hernando de Magallanes was the first European to give this stretch of the Patagonian coast a name, Bay of Forced Works. A few decades later (1586) English corsair Thomas Cavendish entered the estuary and baptized it Port Desire for his ship. The name stuck, later to be translated to Puerto Desire. Another of his expeditions, in 1592, would seek shelter here after encountering problems in trying to traverse the Magellan Strait. The point of land at the mouth of the rĂa is called Punta Cavendish, in honor of that pirate. The British Empire temporarily gained possession of this valuable harbor. John Narborough took in 1670 for King Charles II. In his 1740 report submitted to the English Crown about his three-year disguised as scientific expedition, Lord Anson, declared â€śDesireeâ€ť a strategic point for guaranteeing access to the Magellan Strait and for the exploitation of whale and seal colonies for oil. He reported it was not being protected by Spain. During the Seven Years War, Captain John Byron defended it for the British crown â€“ but lost the territory and a ship, HMS Swift, in 1760. The corvette was uncovered in 1982 and is now the topic of Museo Municipal Mario Brozoski.
Because of the continued British threat to Spanish interests in Patagonia, in 1790 King Carlos III ordered Francisco de Viedma y NarvĂˇez to found several experimental colonies along the coast, including Fuerte San Carlos. The fortress was abandoned in 1807 due to the harsh climate and continued British attacks. Local historians dispute the ruins' precise location. Some say they are next to the obelisk Monumento Oneta near the coast. Others say the drawings of Conrad Martens of the Beagle expedition (1833) prove they were closer to the shore, and were destroyed when the coastal road was laid in the 1930s.
Puerto Desire's modern incarnation began July 15, 1884. It soon became an important port for the exportation of sheep hides and meat. After 1906, work began on a rail line from Deseado to Las Heras to the west, one of four in the region to spur economic growth in the region. During the height of mine exploitation around Chileâ€™s Lago General Carrera (called Lago Buenos Aires in Argentina), ores were shipped from this harbor. The port was one of the arenas of the strikes that rocked the region 1920-22. From here Coronel Varela launched the last blow against the resisters in early 1922 that culminated in the execution of FacĂłn Grande near Jaramillo. The railroad car in which he traveled, Coche Reservado 502, is now a small museum to those events (San MartĂn and Brown). Deseado's train station was used in the filming of Patagonia Rebelde, a movie about the unrest based on Osvaldo Bayerâ€™s book of the same title. Buried in town's cemetery are Servando Romero and Alfonso (surname unknown) who were killed along with FacĂłn Grande at Jaramillo. The Las Heras-Puerto Deseado line continued to operate until the 1970s. It is presently being restored and service due to resume at the end of 2010.
Although Puerto Deseado continues to be an important Patagonian port, it is quickly becoming an important center for eco- and adventure tourism. Protecting the scalloped coast and upon the many islets scattering RĂa Deseado's emerald-sapphire waters are five nature reserves that are a birdwatcherâ€™s paradise. The most famous is Reserva Natural RĂa del Deseado with over 40 kilometers (24 mi) of rocky islands and inlets to be hiked and kayaked. At the mouth of the rĂa, some 24 kilometers (14.4 mi) south of Puerto Deseado, is Reserva Provincial Isla PingĂĽino. This park has PingĂĽino de Penacho Amarillo (Rockhopper Penguin, Eudyptes chrysocome) which has distinctive yellow tufts above the eyes.
Reserva Natural Cabo Blanco, 80 kilometers (48 mi) to the north, has one of the Patagonia coast's largest lobo marino de dos pelos (South American Fur Seal, Arctocephalus australis) colonies. Also to the north (96 km / 58 mi) is Reserva Provincial Monte Loayza, a research area with a large population of lobo marino de un pelo (South American sea lion, Otaria flavescens), four species of cormorant and three of tern. South of Puerto Deseado (80 km / 48 mi) is Reserva Natural BahĂa Laura, where many types of sea birds soar around two lighthouses and several colonies of pingĂĽino magallĂˇnico (Magellanic Penguin, Spheniscus magellanicus) waddle, and camping is allowed. In recent years, increased sightings of whales have been reported off Puerto Deseado's coast during the winter months.
Another adventure is to follow the Ruta de Darwin over 40 kilometers (24 mi) up the rĂa and enter CaĂ±adĂłn del RĂo Deseado to the amazing Miradores de Darwin. This is the same route Charles Darwin took in search of fresh water during his 1833 expedition. Along the way you'll be awarded with sightings of eagle, guanaco, flamingos and a small cave with rock paintings. In CaĂ±adĂłn de las Bandurrias, 17 kilometers (10.2 mi) from Puerto Deseado, with walls over 20 meters (65 ft) tall and a cascade falling into a small pool. Since 1947 faithful have pilgrimaged here thrice yearly.
(Altitude: 6 m / 20 ft , Population: 10,237, Phone Code: 0297)
Neighborhoods in Puerto Deseado: Near Puerto Deseado,
Other places nearby Puerto Deseado: BahĂa San Blas , RĂo Gallegos, Trelew, San Antonio Oeste , Caleta Olivia , Comodoro Rivadavia, Playa Union , Rawson , Puerto Piramides and Gaiman.