My Trip to “The Land of Ocean Wildlife”

by Guadalupe Corvalan
Travel Specialist in Trips SouthAmerica


 

The magical waters around Patagonia are home to a large amount of marine life and cover several tourist spots and essential landscapes to visit.


 

Puerto Madryn and Península Valdés

 

Puerto Madryn is located at the east side of the Argentinean Patagonia Argentina, right in front of the Golfo Nuevo (New Gulf), where the main star is the Ballena Franca Austral (Southern right whale), who reach the cost to procreate, only on a specific season, and thousands of tourists tend to its visit.

But this is not the only species that you will find there. You can also do orcas, sea wolves, sea lions and Commerson’s dolphins watching, among others.

These animals are not present during the whole year. Each species have a marked season. The Southern right whale season is the second semester of each year: from mid June to mid December approx. The months when you can find more animals are October, November and December.

How to get there?

You must arrive to Trelew city, where the airport is located, and take a 1 – 1,5hs transfer to Puerto Madryn.
Very close to the airport there is the Paleontological Museum, an interesting journey to the past, studying the paleontological richness of Patagonia.

Accomodation

The first stay option, in terms of variety and location, is Puerto Madryn, where you will find 3*, 4* and 5* hotels, most of them with a sea view in the rooms.

Before getting to Peninsula Valdes, there is Puerto Pirámides, that offers simple acommodation like the Eco-hotel del Nómade or Hostería Las Restingas, with beach access.
Those clients that want to stay in each of these cities, can be picked up from their hotels for shared tours.

For people with a good budget, there are good alternatives in Península Valdés, on the other side of the bay, where they can get with a rental car or a private transfer

There are historic estancias (ranch) such as Rincón Chico and El Pedral, that offer all the necessary services for the perfect stay: all meals and a wide variety of activities are included in the rate, so you don’t have to worry about anything.

Activities

The main tour is, of course, the whales watching navigation. This animal shows up, during its specific season, along the whole gulf, but we recommend seeing it from El Doradillo beach, where
it can come closer to the shore, as the surface is quite wide.
Tours depart from Puerto Pirámides and there are 2 kind of navigation:

  • Traditional watching navigation: in a semirigid boat, like a Zodiac, which has a max capacity of 60 passengers, and offer a big probability of finding these animals at only 15 or 20 mts from the shore.
  • Yellow submarine: it’s a semi-submersible of up to 40 passengers, especially designed for a submersible whales watching. Each passengers has their own window to watch the animals.

To take this navigation in Puerto Pirámides you can get to the dock on your own, or you can do the Full day tour to Península Valdés. You will visit this city, also Caleta Valdés, natural area of sea lions, and watch a lot of ground wildlife, such as guanacos, foxes, choique and maras, all of them in their natural habitat.

 

 

130 km to the south of Trelew, you can find the Punta Tombo Penguin Rookery, which you can visit on a Full day tour, and you can also combine with your transfer in or out, to take advantage of time. If you do so, we recommend you to arrive to Trelew on the first flight, or depart on the last one if you it at your return.

 

 

If you prefer a private tour to Punta Tombo, you can visit Gaiman on the way, it’s a city with a strong Welsh influence, and it offers the typical tea with Welsh cake.

 

 

In the northern part of the Península there’s another penguin rookery: Estancia San Lorenzo, a bit less “touristy”, with more facilities, like the restaurant of the old estancia, and different options of touring:

  • Traditional path: it reachs the nesting and permanent transit of penguins sector.
  • Minitrekking to “La Colmena”: it’s a more “private” sector, where you can only Access with a guide assistance, and you may see manyu more penguins.
  • Trekking “Piquillines”: a bit more demanding, it combines penguins with flora, fauna, fossils and historic ruins watching.

Some km to the East there’s Punta Norte, where sometimes, depending on the particular animal behaviour, you can see some stranded orca waiting to eat any sea wolf it can see.

To see sea wolves in their habitat, we recommend to visit Punta Loma, that is very close to Puerto Madryn, and where you can also practice diving or snorkeling with these animals.
You can do this tour on 4×4 vehicles, and visit also, Cerro Avanzado (Avanzado hill), which you can reach through a beautiful route surrounded by dunes and cliffs. It can be done in the morning or at sunset.

 

 

Another 4×4 tour is Doradillo Adventure. It includes a traditional whales watching navigation, a short and easy trekking and a typical lunch or “merienda” (afternoon snack), depending on the clients’ choice.
The El Doradillo area is visited every season by a group of mother whales with calves. Due to the calm and the unusual depth of its waters, the whales come very close to the beach, with a high probability of finding these animals only 15 or 20 meters from the coast.

 

A very interesting area to visit is the Chubut River’s Valley. The traditional tour approaches you to a “chacras” (ranch/farm) zone. The chacras are rural establishments, dedicated to agritourism and
to offer a big variety of craft products. You will also visit different cities in the north margin of the Chubut River, such as Rawson, Trelew and the Gaiman Welsh Colony.
It’s an excellent option to experience local culture.

In Rawson, there are also possibilities to do, as an optional activity, a Commerson’s dolphins watching navigation, a great and beautiful spectacle.
Zonotrikia Gourmet: this is the ideal proposal for groups up to 18 people. It consists in cooking in wild places, open spaces surrounded by a pure nature. Menus are made with local products, selecting the best raw materials.
Patagonian cheese and cold meat, prawns, lamb, Patagonian liquors, are some of the typical products in this region that you can enjoy.

 

 

For those who want adventure, there are plenty of alternatives: trekking, mountain bike, e-bikes, diving, snorkelling, kayaking, underwater baptisms and so.

Get in contact with a Trips SouthAmerica Travel Assistant and plan your trip to Península Valdés as per your requirements and preferences.


Guadalupe Corvalán
Travel Specialist, Trips SouthAmerica.
gcorvalan@trips-southamerica.com

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My Trip to “The Land of Ocean Wildlife”
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