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See also: Excursions in Puerto San Julián
San Julián Port
You can access the Port of San Julían through National Route No. 3 that flows into the town’s center by a 5 km connection. This traditional port settlement of Patagonia has the charm of simpleness. Its large coast is always windy and it invites the visitors to witness amazing sunsets that bathe the coasts and the landscape hills.
The town’s oldest part is the most picturesque one: metal houses with gambrel roofs, windows without blinds and white curtains. They are a sample of the traditional English-style buildings that populated Patagonia in the times the landlords were English. Nowadays there are shops in some of them that sell crafts or souvenirs.
Except for the access avenue, the one that runs along the coast and a few more avenues, most of the streets are unpaved. They are all wide, of a size that would be a four-lane avenue in any other city.
San Julián offers a lot to tourists who want to get to know the history of the place and the attractions of this special area on the coast of the Atlantic, in the Province of Santa Cruz.
In said aspect it is one of the most important tourist service centers of the coast area of the province. It has accommodations of different categories, restaurants (you have to taste local seafood), organized excursions and a well-served Tourism Office.
The past of San Julián deserves a whole separate chapter. In fact, most of its attractions are related to the origin of this town as it was in this location where European disembarkations, some of them quite complicated, in Patagonian lands took place and this was the place where the European men first met the Tehuelches. That is the reason why the city’s motto “Origin of the Patagonian Myth” is well deserved.
Tours and activities
The city is located in a semiarid plateau, with lush vegetation and soft depressions that end in the beach. The greatness of this landscape, together with its interesting history and the protected areas with unique animal species make up its main features.
The Port offers a coastal circuit that runs for 30 km, where a spectacular and beautiful landscape unfolds in front of your eyes. Large beaches bordered by cliffs invite you to visit them. Some of them are: Playa Sholl, De los Caracoles, Cabo Curioso, Playas de Drake, Garganta del Diablo and Playa La Mina.
The best option is to go for a two-hour Minitrekking through the area near the coast that is closest to the city. You will be able to enjoy a variety of Patagonian birds and the geologic history of the land that can be easily seen in the layers of the cliffs displayed like open books.
You can pursue a number of activities in the bay. There are excellent conditions to practice canoeing, windsurf and sailing since it is a closed bay and it has a wonderful water mirror. There is the nautical club “El Delfín” (literally, the dolphin) located near the ‘El Muelle Viejo” (literally, the old dock). Sportive fishing is one of the most promoted activities and there are even guide services available that take the fishermen to the best fishing spots.
Another possibility is to make a nautical excursion that departs from Muelle Viejo. The best season to make this tour is during the first fifteen days of December, so as to witness the birth of baby penguins and cormorants.
The La María archeological site is 150 km away, on an northwest direction from the San Julián Port through an unpaved road. This adventure is worthwhile being done since there are 80 rock paintings that are 12,000 years old in caves and eaves in a plateau that goes down to the sea in steps.
The Nao Victoria theme museum constitutes another attraction in this town. It is a replica on real scale of the only ship of the Magellan Navy that got to return to Spain after having been through many odds in a complicated voyage.
It has replicas of objects of everyday use, navigation instruments, artillery and ‘animatronics’ characters of Magellan’s Navy.
How to get there
You can get by plane to the city of Río Gallegos, which is 352 km. away. From there you would have to take a bus or some kind of tourist transfer. In order to do that, it is necessary to go from the airport to the Bus Station located in the city downtown.
For those who wish to travel by car, the whole distance from Buenos Aires to San Julian is of 2203 km. You’ll leave Buenos Aires through the Ricchieri highway and then the National Route 205 until reaching Ezeiza where there is the combination with the National Route 3. Straight through this route you can reach Puerto San Julián. Nevertheless, if you want to get to Bahía Blanca, there is a shorter option which consists of taking the route 226/76, in the city of Azul, which joins with Olavarría, and continues further until reaching the combination with the route 51, leading to Bahía Blanca. This way is 80 km. shorter than the first option. From Bahía Blanca, the only option to get to San Julian is route 3.
To get to San Julián from Bariloche, the journey comprises 1303 km. You would have to get to El Bolsón first through the National Route 258, and later combine with route 40 until passing by Gobernador Costa where the 40 joins provincial route 20 leading to Sarmiento. From there, follow the provincial route 26 until reaching the combination with the route 3 and thence straight to San Julián. Even though the route is asphalted entirely, it does have some parts in bad conditions, specially in Esquel and Gobernador Costa.
It is possible to arrive by bus as well. Sometimes Puerto San Julián does not appear as a destination, but the buses going to Comodoro Rivadavia and or Río Gallegos get to San Julián.