Nature and Adventure
Best time to visit and see whales in Puerto Madryn
Whales come every year to the Nuevo Gulf, and offer you a unique spectacle in the world.
Whales come every year to the Nuevo Gulf, and offer you a unique spectacle in the world
The city of Puerto Madryn is located on the shores of the blue and crystalline waters of the Nuevo Gulf, comprised of Península Valdés and Punta Ninfas, on the coast of the province of Chubut. Is one of the most protected places on the Patagonian coast. With five kilometers of beaches bordering the city, Puerto Madryn is the entry point to many natural attractions in Argentina. The main one is the Valdés Peninsula Reserve, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999.
The whale season is one of the tourist attractions that made the beautiful city of Puerto Madryn known throughout the world. Let’s know a little more about this region:
Peninsula Valdes – Argentina
The Valdes Peninsula (Spanish Península Valdés) is a peninsula along the Atlantic coast in the Viedma Department in the northeast of Chubut Province, Argentina. Its size is about 3,625 km² (1,400 sq miles).
The only town on the peninsula is the small settlement of Puerto Piramides. There are also several estancias, where sheep are raised.
Most of the peninsula is barren land with some salt lakes. The largest of these lakes is at an elevation of about 40 m (131 ft) below sea level until recently thought to be the lowest elevation in Argentina and South America.
It is an important nature reserve that was listed as a Natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999.
The coastline is inhabited by marine mammals, like sea lions, elephant seals, and fur seals.
Southern right whales can be found in the Nuevo and San José Gulfs, protected bodies of water located between the peninsula and the Patagonian mainland. These baleen whales (or great whales) come here between May and December, to mating and give birth, because the water in the gulf is quieter and warmer than in the open sea. Orcas can be found off the coast, in the open sea off the peninsula. In this area, they are known to beach themselves on shore to capture sea lions and elephant seals.
The inner part of the peninsula is inhabited by “ñandúes” or ostrages, guanacos, and maras. High diversity and range of birds live in the peninsula as well; at least 181 bird species, 66 of which migrate, live in the area, including the Antarctic Pigeon.
Situated on the wild southeast coast of Patagonia, here Nature reigns supreme with the magical Patagonian steppe contrasting with the water of the Atlantic Ocean that breaks against the rocks and cliffs on the coast.
On the shores of an intense blue quiet sea, the Patagonian plateau spreads towards the horizon. A few villages and small towns break the monotony of arid and infinite land, only gone through by winds that blow, tirelessly, during the whole year. Winds that bring with themselves incredible stories of pioneers and the impressive sounds of nature, the persistent and enigmatic communication of sea species that, year after year, choose these shores to reproduce.
How to reach Puerto Madryn?
The City of Puerto Madryn has 2 ports: Almirante Storni Port, which is used to transport minerals; and Luis Piedra Buena, originally a fishing port, but that was reconditioned to receive cruise passengers. At Summertime, Cruise lines such as Norwegian, Costa, and Royal Caribean stop in Puerto Madryn before getting to Ushuaia, Antarctica, or Chile.
There is also a bus station where long-distance buses arrive.
For air transportation, the city of Trelew (60 Km. from Madryn) has got a modern international airport, with regular flights from several companies in Argentina. The airport at Puerto Madryn is smaller, with a low amount of traffic.
There is a domestic airport called “El Tehuelche”, which receives four flights a week from Buenos Aires and another flight coming from Ushuaia. To this airport, arrive airlines such as Andes and LADE.
Please note that most planes fly into Trelew instead of Puerto Madryn. But the best flight frequency belongs to Aerolíneas Argentinas, which arrives and departs from Trelew airport, with daily flights to/from Buenos Aires, 3 times a week to/from Córdoba and during the summer season
there are daily flights from Ushuaia and 3 times a week from El Calafate.
The Weather in Puerto Madryn
The annual average temperature is 13º C / 56º F.
A wide temperature range and the almost constant winds characterize the weather in Puerto Madryn: in summer it is hot during the day, it can reach 40 º C, but always cool at night. Winter temperatures are low but there is no snow.
Note that in Puerto Madryn latitude the ozone layer begins to get thinner, thus its protective effects are lower and sun damage may occur. Do not forget your sunglasses and adequate sunscreen.
Best time to visit and see whales in Puerto Madryn
To organize your visit to Puerto Madryn it is important to know the seasons of wildlife watching.
Whales: May to December. The highest gathering is during October.
Sea Elephants: All year long. The breeding season is between December and March.
Sea Lions: All year long. The breeding season is the same as the sea elephants’ one.
Penguins: October to March. The best season to see them is after November, once the babies are born.
Commerson’s Dolphins: All year long. The best place to see them is at Rawson’s port area.
Dark Dolphins: December to March.
Orcas: January to April and October to December. Note that orcas’ watching is very
difficult because their behavior is unpredictable.
Birds in general: All year long. Martinetas, Choiques, Guanacos, Hares and Gray Wolves: All year long
What to wear
When packing you must not forget that Puerto Madryn is a maritime city.
In summer you must have beach clothing, something light and sandals to wear during the day and warm clothes for the fresh nights.
In winter the best recommendation is to wear several layers of clothing because it is cold at open air but there is very good heating indoors.
Also in winter, you have to have very good, waterproof footwear. You must also carry, at any time of the year, a good jacket.