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Introducing Comodoro Rivadavia

Surrounded by dry hills of drilling rigs, oil tanks and wind-energy farms, tourism in the dusty port of Comodoro (as it’s commonly known) usually means little more than a bus transfer. What this modern, hardworking city does provide is a gateway to nearby attractions with decent services. It sits at the eastern end of the Corredor Bioceánico highway that leads to Coyhaique, Chile.

Founded in 1901, Comodoro was once a transport hub linking ranches in nearby Sarmiento. In 1907 the town struck it rich when workers drilling for water found oil instead. With the country’s first major gusher, Comodoro became a state pet, gaining a large port, airport and paved roads. Today it is a powerhouse in the now-privatized oil industry. Although the recession hit hard in 2001, this boomtown rebounded with a flashy casino, elegant shops and hot rods on the streets. Now it holds the dubious status of the largest consumer of plasma TVs in Argentina. Indeed, the recent arrival of Walmart has been a boon for the whole province.

Commerce centers on principal streets Avs San Martín and Rivadavia. Between Mitre and Belgrano, San Martín has upscale boutiques and shops unknown to most of Patagonia.