This small Santa Cruz town of approximately 3000 inhabitants is located on the southern margin of the broad estuary of the Santa Cruz River. Only 17 km. there is the deep-water port of Punta Quilla , located at the mouth of the river in the Atlantic Ocean.
On May 3, 1520 Juan Serrano , member of the Magallanes expedition at command of the caravel Santiago, arrives at a large estuary and calls it ” Ría de la Santa Cruz “, because that was the day of the” Invention of the Holy Cross “. On August 26 of the same year, Magallanes himself spent the night on the south bank before embarking on the crossing of the strait. In 1862 the Anglican missionaries , Schmidt and Hunziker arrived on board the Schooner “Tilton”, with the aim of evangelizing the Tehuelche Indians. The missionaries settle in a canyon to the west of the current city, which later would be called in tribute to it Cañadón Misioneros . The evangelization campaign fails and the following year the missionaries leave the area.
With the landing December 1, 1878 of the Commodore Luis Py , the foundation of Puerto Santa Cruz will be officially confirmed. In 1884 the town is declared as the capital of the National Territory of Santa Cruz , but in 1888 the governor then moved the transfer to Río Gallegos, a fact that was legalized by national law at the 1898 meeting.
A lot to see
The walk along the Costanera of the Ría Santa Cruz is one of the luxuries that the town has. The river has an extension of 25 km throughout its route, forming a channel 2 km wide. It is curious to observe how the waters that bathe it change their tone according to the time of day. In the estuary and its margins you can practice water sports such as boating, water skiing and sailing. Of course, fishing is another attraction, being possible to catch specimens of sea bass, trout and perch. The Provincial Party of Róbalo is a classic every year (usually held in February).
From the waterfront you can observe the avifauna and toninas overas. But what amazes you most is the history. There are still on the coast of the estuary the small boats that, in the golden age of the town, moved goods to the main commercial centers of the country and abroad.
On the coast itself, more precisely at the junction of the Avenues Julio A. Roca and Cmte. Luis Piedra Buena is the Cruz del Centenario . It was inaugurated on December 1, 1978, when the centenary of the historic arrival in Cañadón Missionaries of the Naval Squadron commanded by Commodore Py. The base of the monument forms a rectangle of approximately forty by twenty-five meters, in whose center stands the cross.
Another monument of singular importance in the life of the town is the mausoleum of Captain Carlos María Moyano , the first governor of the National Territory of Santa Cruz. The structure occupies a space of 14 by 14 meters, and 5 meters high. The bronze statue of the governor shows him full-length with his eyes facing the estuary, wearing his military uniform. The mausoleum, inaugurated on December 1, 1970, is located at the end of Avenida Piedra Buena.
The Church Exaltation of the Holy Cross , located on 9 de Julio Street, was inaugurated in 1909, being one of the first masonry buildings in the town. A salient feature is that it has one of the two articulated Christs existing in the world. It was sent from Italy, as well as the bells, images, stained glass and the clock.
The Regional Museum “Carlos Borgialli” , created in 1987 is an obligatory point of reference for your visit to Puerto Santa Cruz. There you can discover the historical evolution of the town and its inhabitants, from the first settlements to our days. In this tour, the influence received from the different colonizing currents and from the Tehuelches that haunted the area will have great relevance. The collection of the museum is made up of photographic, lithic material, utensils, weapons and old machines, clothing, old local newspapers and paleontological, mineralogical and anthropological collections.
17 km southeast of Puerto Santa Cruz (only 4.5 km from the mouth of the Santa Cruz River in the Atlantic Ocean), is the Puerto Punta Quilla , one of the best prepared natural harbors of the Atlantic coast. They can berth deep-sea vessels with ample maneuverability, due to the wide surface and depth of the site. In addition, the ships that dock are protected from the strong winds by a natural cordoned-off of 130 meters high. The port, which operates 365 days a year, works as support for oil operations.
From Puerto Punta Quilla, 2.5 km on foot along the waterfront, you will find the Punta Entrada Penguin Colony . It has a population of Magellanic penguins of 20,000. They can be seen between the end of August and April, period in which they complete their reproductive cycle.