The area around Puerto Deseado and, in general, the geography of Patagonia were not always as they are now.
There was a time when the climate was mild in the region. There was no Andes mountain range, so the moist winds from the Pacific Ocean came to the area without hindrance. Under these conditions, soil flourished, forested with conifers.
But then, 150 million years ago a change occurred: it began to blow strong winds and volcanic activity was intensified. The trees did not resist and fell, covered with volcanic ash that reigned. Silicon rain penetrated and replaced by mineral the plant tissue. And nothing was ever the same. The region became what it is today: an arid, windy and with little vegetation, almost desert.
However, from those times only remains witnesses. Jaramillo Petrified Forest in northern Santa Cruz and 256 kilometers from Puerto Deseado, is one of them. The place is literally a forest. Its trunks of stone are struck down, but its roots are in the same place where they spent their lives.
The site is impressive and is considered one of the most important fossil sites in the country. Why? Because there are the largest petrified trees in the world: some specimens reach a length of 35 meters in length (not including parts buried, under branches and cup) and have up to 3 meters diameter. Until petrified they had 1,000 years old.
To preserve this awesome site, in 1954 Jaramillo Forest was named National Natural Monument. In this vast area of 10,000 hectares are not just trees. Despite being an almost deserted (not over 200 mm rain per year) and very windy place, numerous fauna inhabits the place. You can see guanacos, red foxes, pumas, maras, lizards, skunks, piches, ostriches, rheas, eagles and martinetas among other species who walk by the petrified trees, so the guards prevent them from being bothered.
Nearby amenities are few, having only one museum and information center. Park rangers organize guided walks.
Driving directions from Puerto Deseado, you can take the National Route 3 heading north and then connect with Provincial Route 49.