Valdés Peninsula Travel
A highlight for safari-goers, the Valdés Peninsula in Argentine Patagonia is brimming with all manner of fascinating marine wildlife.
Offering some of the most spectacular wildlife watching opportunities in Argentina – if not throughout South America – the Valdés Peninsula astounds visitors here with its incredible animal species. Reached in less than two hours on a flight from Buenos Aires, Puerto Madryn is the gateway to this intriguing Patagonian peninsula, a fishing port edged in by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, in which a raft of fascinating marine animals thrives.
It’s no wonder why the Valdés Peninsula has been classed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, given the overwhelming populations of marine animals that congregate here on the northern edge of Argentine Patagonia. Protruding from the mainland on the Atlantic coast, the Valdés Peninsula nature reserve shelters both land and marine wildlife that make a safari trip here unforgettable, with colonies of Sea Lions, Magellanic Penguins, Elephant Seals, Guanacos and Maras to get up close to. Above all, it’s where to witness the spectacular Southern Right Whales, which populate the seas here from June to December for breeding season; and, between December and April, the Orcas, who have created an extraordinary preying practice in which they haul themselves onto the beach to snap up unwitting prey.
Aside from wildlife, the Valdés Peninsula is culturally intriguing as a destination to visit in Argentina. The town of Puerto Madryn was once a settlement of immigrants from Wales, and the Welsh influence has persevered ever since the initial arrivals in the mid-1800s. Today, you can hear communities speak the Welsh language, and sample fare from one of the many traditional tea houses in important diaspora towns like Trelew, Gaiman and Trevelin, which is steeped in authentic Welsh culture.
Nothing quite prepares you for the sheer awe of watching Southern Right Whales swimming right in front of you; and that’s precisely what you’ll experience on a whale watching tour on the Valdés Peninsula. Take a boat trip from Golfo Nuevo Bay to get up really close to these august creatures of the sea, and if you’re lucky you might see one or two of them breach the waters; a once-in-a-lifetime sight to behold.
Meeting Magellan Penguins
Punta Tombo on the Valdés Peninsula is the site of a huge colony of Magellan Penguins, which can exceed a population of half a million at peak season, making it one of the greatest Penguin residencies on the continent. Take a trip to Punta Tombo to walk in amidst them and watch how they go about their daily business: from feeding their young to going for a swim in the ocean.
Watching Orca hunting for Seals
Nowhere else but in the Valdés Peninsula can you marvel at the spectacle of Killer Whales launching themselves onto the sand to attack their prey, often unsuspecting Seals which are frolicking in the shallow waters. This is an unusual hunting method that doesn’t occur anywhere else, which you can watch between December and April from the sand dunes – though you might not believe your eyes.