Patagonia's "Little Brazilia", as this pushy little city of Rawson is called, was the first urban center of the Welsh rural colony formed here on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean in the late 19th century.
Rawson has been capital of Chubut province since 1957.
In August 1854, together with dozens of Italian, German, English and local adventurers, the Welsh businessman Henry Libanus Jones arrived here. His purpose was to exploit the wild cattle which were thought to be abundant in the area. All he was able to find were some fossil remains.
Jones left the area, but his experience served for a group of Welsh colonists to take over the existing Fortín Viejo and found, on September 15th of that year the town of Tre Rawson (Rawson town, in Cymry), naming it after the Interior Minister, Guillermo Rawson, who had done so much for them.
Thanks to the efforts of its authorities and population, Rawson started growing steadily during the 20th century, incorporating technology corresponding to its status as capital city.
The railway arrived, the Playa Unión beach was inaugurated, the first Spanish-language newspaper was published, and the commercial port was transformed into a fishing one.
Rawson is the third largest fishing port on the Argentine seaboard.
And so to today. A typical day in this port city will bustle with activity in the morning to be followed by a peaceful afternoon when one can discover the beauty of its boulevards and gardens.
Together with the Playa Unión beach next to the port, Rawson serves as a tourist venue all year round. Its shores offer beautiful beaches where one can practice many sports and bond with nature.
In a sea-lion filled environment, thanks to its fishing activity, tourists will go into raptures over the exquisite dishes prepared in the port area: salmon, cod, hake and pejerrey, all just out of the sea.
From its center, Rawson links with major tourist attractions such as Trelew, Gaiman, Península Valdés, Punta Tombo, Punta Norte, Florentino Ameghino Dam, Puerto Madryn, Camarones and others.
Its population is 25,000, and its district covers 3,122 square kilometers.
WHAT TO VISIT
An ideal stroll around Rawson can start at the central square or Plazoleta Central.
María Auxiliadora Church
On the corner of Avenida San Martín is the María Auxiliadora church, whose construction began in 1886. Inside may be seen murals depicting the wedding in Canaan in Galilee.
It belongs to the Salesian Order, that founded the Good Shepherd Hospital in 1920. For many years, this and the Viedma Hospital were the only two in Argentine Patagonia.
Don Bosco Regional Museum
The Salesians collected religious items, forming a museum with them in 1941. It is located beside the María Auxiliadora church.
Here one may find religious cult objects pertaining to the Welsh colony, weapons used during the "conquest of the desert" (Indian clearance drive) and a rustic wooden Welsh cart built in 1875.
There is a very interesting collection of 32 engraved stones, carved in relief and depicting the human figure and snake, sun and moon symbols. They were found in Gan-Gan, during the second decade of the 20th century. Specialists attribute them to European settlers and not to the native Indians.
José Hernández Cultural Center
This exhibits work by important artists. It is also used for musical events and festivals as well as for plays and screening of films and other activities.
The headquarters of the local government, on Calle Fontana (triangular block), shows mural paintings by Alejandro Lanöel. On the opposite corner stands the Post Office building, built in stone and roof tile, the official architecture of the forties.
Going around the plaza and continuing along Fontana street, you will find the Civic Center (Rawson's movie theater), and together with it, the "Jardín de las Banderas" and the Hotel Provincial.
A lovely place on the banks of the Chubut river that you must visit is the "Parque Recreativo General San Martín" (Recreational Park). That is where the city zoo is located. It was created in 1978 and occupies a six-hectare area. It is surrounded by lush vegetation, making it a good place for contact with nature.
A few kilometers from Rawson, both to the north and to the south, the Patagonian coast presents wide and lonely beaches. Free from human contact, they are accessible along imperceptible trails, making them practically exclusive for those who seek to commune intimately with the peace of nature.
Those who seek these beaches should take the necessary precautions regarding the hygienic disposal of waste, since non-biodegradable substances are blown by the wind and washed by the sea but remain as pollutants in the area.
This is the seaside resort par excellence in the lower Chubut river valley. Located on Bahía Engaño, it is an open-sea beach with a fishing port where boats set out daily to fish for prawn.
The enormous breakers and high tides have produced here broad and fine-grained sand and gravel beaches that beckon visitors to take long seaside walks.
The steady, gentle sea breeze mitigates the effects of the high summer temperatures on the Patagonian beaches. During the winter holidays, there is a lot of movement, especially due to the services and entertainment infrastructure offered to Rawson residents and tourists.
The resort was created in 1923. It bears the name of the English ship that sank off the coast here. One of the sports most practiced here is surfing, together with fishing, mountain bike excursions and range-roving trips.
An additional attraction is boat trips to view tuna.
Seven kilometers away from the city, at the Atlantic delta of the Chubut river, the port of Rawson presents a very picturesque sight to tourists.
It is a largely yellowish stain on the deep blue of the sea. This is due to the predominantly yellow hue of the classical little fishing boats that make up the area's fishing fleet.
During summer, this little corner of the world hosts the traditional Fishermen's Festival, an event which not only includes cultural and sporting events, but also the religious procession with the Our Lady Stella Maris, the patron of the sea.
In Rawson Port you can also enjoy the spectacle of some sea lions as well as savoring exquisite seafood.
Near the port, and next to the exit from Playa Unión to National Route Nº 25, lies the Photo-biology Station that studies solar radiation and its effects.
Due to its location in the lower valley of the Chubut river, the city of Rawson possesses one of Argentine Patagonia's most gentle climates: both temperate and dry.
During winter months (June 21 to September 21), temperatures vary between 0 °Celsius and 15 °C, with a thermal "sensation" of between -3 °Celsius and 12 °C. This is why you should take warm clothes if you plan to make a visit during this time of year.
In spring (September 21 to December 21) and in Fall (March 21 to June 21) temperatures vary between 10 °Celsius and 20 °C.
In summer (December 21 to March 21) temperatures reach 38 °Celsius, so for this season we recommend you take a bathing costume, solar filter and warm clothes for the cooler temperatures in the evening.