Comodoro Rivadavia



Comodoro Rivadavia, Argentina, a center for petroleum exploration and refining 910 mi/1,465 km southwest of Buenos Aires, is usually visited only by passengers connecting to flights to other parts of Patagonia. That's a shame, because the city is near some natural wonders and has one of the nation's better museums.

The museum is the Museo del Petroleo. In spite of its name, it isn't dedicated solely to petroleum exhibits. Paid for with petroleum money, it has natural history and cultural exhibitions, as well as some displays related to Argentina's oil industry.

To the southwest is the Jose Ormachea Petrified Forest (Reserva Geologica Bosque Petrificado), and due south are the Cuevas de las Manos, a series of prehistoric caves with 10,000-year-old images of hands, camels, reptiles and other animals painted on the walls. At low tide, you can see sea lions on the beach at Rada Tilly (3 mi/5 km south), though it's too cold for swimming.

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