We’re pleased to introduce you to a new series, South America Natural Wonders in which we will cover many South America destinations that are worth visiting because of their natural beauty. First up, Peninsula Valdes on Argentina’s Atlantic coast.
Peninsula Valdes is one of the most important nature reserves in Argentina and since 1999 a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With a size of 1,400 sq meters and only one human settlement, its coastline has become a safe habitant for thousands of marine mammals and birds. A visit to Peninsula Valdes is an impressive experience and well worth our time during a tour to Argentina.
The largest town in the surroundings and also known as the gate way to the Peninsula Valdes wildlife, Puerto Madryn is the base for most visitors to the area. It’s reached by daily flights from Buenos Aires to the nearest airport in the city Trelew. An interesting selection of restaurants can be found at the sea- and beachside in Puerto Madryn’s center.
If you want wake up with the wildlife you may consider staying on the Peninsula itself in the hamlet of Puerto Piramides. This is the only village on Peninsula Valdes with several good lodging options and some very good seafood restaurants. I’ve stayed in Puerto Piramides and loved to be able to stroll at the beach in the morning before other visitors arrived. And let’s not forget about the viewing point just uphill outside of the village where you can sit for hours and watch the sea lions play and whales pass by with their babies – at that time. Whether you will whales or not and if so, with their babies depends on the month in which you plan your trip to the Peninsula Valdes.
The reason to visit Peninsula Valdes is of course because of its wide variety in wildlife. We’ll tell you exactly what wildlife to expect when.
Southern Right Whale
With no doubt Peninsula Valdes is one of South America’s best places for whale watching. The first Southern Right Whales appear every year in May and their number increased daily until September. That’s when the maximum number is reached and the reason we strongly advise to visit Peninsula Valdes for whale watching in between September and December.
Watching the whales making their way to the bay is a very unique event and a must-do for your visit to the Peninsula. Tours depart all day, but most special departures are those that include the sundown. If you’re lucky you might even see a White Southern Right Whale!
When: End of May until the end of December
The dynamic between a penguin couple is such a beautiful to witness, they are true life partners. Penguins can be found on 3 locations at and around Peninsula Valdes: Punta Tombo, Punta Note and Punta Delgada. The colony that can be found at Punta Norte was extra special to me as they can be visited but only with somebody from the estancia that is located close by. Even though all visitors should respect the living space of the animals you will be able to get closer than ever before.
When: September to March
Sea lions & sea elephant’s
The Peninsula is home to great numbers of important breeding populations of sea lions and sea elephants. At the busiest moment there will be more than 20,000 sea elephant’s along the Peninsula. These marine mammals can be spotted from higher areas with perfect coast views, all year around at various places in and around Peninsula Valdes.
When: All year around
Orcas may be the biggest creatures that reach the Peninsula Valdes coast and are for that reason always watched from the higher areas with perfect coastal views. One of the best locations to watch orcas on the Peninsula is Punta Norte. Find out about the hours of high tide – twice daily – and make sure to be ready as that is the time orcas will attack.
When: September to the end of April – best from late February to late April
It’s most likely to Encounter dolphins in several bays and coasts near Puerto Piramides in both the Golfo Nuevo and Golfo San Jose.
When: December to April
The inner part of the peninsula is inhabited by a wide range of birds. At least 181 bird species, 66 of which migratory, live in the area, including the Antarctic Pigeon.
When: All year around
Visit Peninsula Valdes and it’s diverse wildlife with Encounter Latin America. Contact one of our Travel Specialists to determine the best moment for visiting Puerto Madryn and Peninsula Valdes.