Puerto Madryn and the Valdes peninsula
This is the start of Patagonia. Yes of course, because Patagonia is a large territory, almost half of the country. Despite the fact that the west part is better known, it has a wild and sea life that deserve few days to be spent.
Puerto Madryn is also the starting point to visit the Valdes peninsula. A place full of wild animals. So if you are not a big fan of animals, don’t stop there. The reserve has many different wild animals, from land to sea.
What to do around Puerto Madryn ?
All tours in the area can be made from Puerto Madryn. You don’t have to stay in other cities, often much more smaller.
The Valdes peninsula
It is a protected area that has an incredible wildlife both on land and sea. On the map, it seems small but in reality you need a whole day to tour this entire reserve. The reason is simple : dirty roads ! So you don’t really drive that fast. It will leave you time to admire the amazing landscape.
So who can we meet on our way ? Mainly sheeps free to go wherever they want. And then, you need to have the eye, you can spot maras (a very interesting animal) also called Patagonia hare, owls, ostriches, all kind of birds, guanacos… More on the coast, you can meet penguins, sea lions, seals. To do so, you need to refer to the calendar of the animals according to your travel period because they are not there all the time.
Entry ticket : AR$ 850 (october 2019)
I think the main attraction of the region is to be able to see those incredibles mammal. Unfortunately, there is only one season to their presence : from September to March !
You can observe them from El Doradillo beach at high tide because this is the moment they are the closest. You can get there by taxi or renting a bike. Or you can do a whale watching tour at sea. For that, all boats leave from Puerto Piramides.
Despite that, these are wild animals so you depend on their will. And it is not because it is high season that means you will see them. And you should be aware of that ! Although this is a wonderful time I was lucky to see them ! Knowing that 90% of their body is under water, you will see them when they catch their breathing at the surface !
The problem of the region, and Patagonia in general, this is the wind !! It can be crazy strong and in that case, boats are not leaving the pier. Don’t be too tight on your schedule, so you can have the luxury to choose the best day to do this activity.
Walking with the Magellan penguins
You have to go to Punta Tombo. It is the biggest reserve of penguins where their presence is observed between October and April. Apart from those dates, it is closed. According to the period, you might watch the reproduction, egg laying or birth. You will walk through the reserve and several rules have been set up to not disturb the penguins in their own environment.
Entry ticket : AR$ 550 (october 2019)
Watching the Commerson dolphins
For that, you need to take a boat in Rawson. They are not there all year long. You have to check the calendar ! They go very fast, chances to have a picture of them are very slim. The easiest way is to film them !
Visiting the cities of Trelew and Gaiman
Those two are Celtic cities inspired, only 1 hour and a half from Puerto Madryn.
How to come to Puerto Madryn ?
You can take a bus from Buenos Aires but it takes at least 18 hours of travel. Mine was late and I took 20 hours to come. The company Via Bariloche was amazing, comfy seats but not so great food though.
Their are 2 airports : in Puerto Madryn exclusively with Andes, and in Trelew for all other companies.
Be careful though with Andes, it got some financial issues that some flights had been canceled.
In conclusion, I was pleased to spend few days in this region ! I have been able to watch an incredible rich wild life I didn’t know existed in Argentina ! If your schedule allows you, try to make a stop there !