Valdes Peninsula Tours
The Argentine shoreline has numerous gulfs, bays, inlets and peninsulas host a great variety of wildlife. Areas such as Valdes Peninsula congregate such unique species as Southern Right whales (from late June to mid December), various species of dolphins, orcas, southern elephant seals, South American sea lions, Magellanic penguins (from late September to March), and various species of cormorants among others. Together with the wildlife, Welsh settlements are to be visited and the famous Welsh Tea will be ready for visitors!
You can visit Peninsula Valdes all year round. Summer season lasts from December 15 up to March 15.
Whales season is from June 15 up to December 15.
Whales season is from June 15 up to December 15.
Day 1 Trelew / Puerto Madryn
Arrival in Trelew / Puerto Madryn. Meet & greet at the airport and transfer to the Valdes Peninsula area.
The city of Puerto Madryn lies on the cliffs shaped by a small plateau that features an impressive perspective of the Atlantic Ocean. Founded in 1865 with the arrival of 150 Welsh immigrants, Puerto Madryn was named after Sir Love Jones Parry, Baronet of Madryn and one of the best-known dwellers of this city in the Welsh country.
DAY 02 Valdes Peninsula
This full day tour exploring the wildlife of the Peninsula will aim to seek out guanacos, lesser rheas, Patagonian foxes, Hairy Armadillos and some of the most important rookeries of protected South American Sea Lion and Elephant Seal colonies. Also common in this region are the Magellanic Penguins, Oystercatchers, Dolphin Gulls, Kelp Gulls, Cormorants and an abundance of varied native plants species.
An early morning start takes us out of the city to the Valdes Peninsula Visitor’s Centre. This is a good place to start for general orientation, information of the native wildlife of the area and a general background to the Peninsula.
From the Centre, we travel to Isla de los Pájaros lookout, a great stopping point to observe birdlife and take in the surrounding scenery. A 30km gravel road then takes us to Puerto Pirámides, a small coastal village and the starting point for whale watching tours in the region.
Puerto Piramides is also home to a small Sea Lion colony which is well worth a visit, stop for lunch (not included).
Next stop is Punta Delgada, the Southernmost tip of the Valdes Peninsula, known for its dramatic shoreline and an abundance of Elephant Seals. Having spent time exploring Punta Delgada, we head to Caleta Valdés. The prevalence of sea mammals here can rival that of any section of coastline.
This afternoon we switch back and cut across the Peninsula, taking in the dramatically different Lowlands and salt beds in the heart of Valdes. Along the way there will be plenty of opportunity to stop, explore, take photographs and spot wildlife in this ecologically diverse region of Argentina.
Note: During March and April, we may skip the visit to Punta Delgada and instead travel North towards Punta Norte. Here we can witness sea lions, elephant seals and Orca (Orcinus Orca) in high tide at this time of year.
DAY 03 Puerto Madryn - Punta Tombo
Punta Tombo is the largest breeding colony of Magellan penguins and other species in the world. The aim of this reserve is to protect one of the most diverse seabird colonies anywhere on Earth, which houses a total of almost one million birds.
The reserve is a rocky 3-km-long, 600-metre-wide coastal land mass, covered in sand, clay, gravel, and surrounded almost entirely by beach. The colony is the most spectacular concentration of seabirds on the Patagonian coast, making it an essential stopping point for any trip to the region.
First, we walk trails which cut deep into the colony as an excellent way to observe these fascinating birds up close. The whole area is peppered with self-made dugouts and mini caves, where the penguins lay their eggs and raise their young. The colony is a hive of hectic activity, whether it be the frantic digging of homes, fighting over territory, or the never-ending din of conversation between the birds.
Punta Tombo is also a well-loved location for other species of seabirds looking to nest, including Kelp Gulls, Skuas, Dolphin Gulls, the Chubut Steamer Duck, two species of Cormorants, Snowy Sheathbills, Giant Petrels and more, all of which contribute to both the ecological diversity and the stunning sight.
On the way back to Trelew we will enjoy a visit of the city and free time to visit the MEF (Egidio Feruglio Paleontological Museum) -entrance fees not included – or explore the city on own before returning to the hotel.
DAY 04 Trelew
Day at leisure until the time to transfer back to the airport.
Sample 2021 rates per person in US$: (hotel rates can vary throughout the year)
Other hotels available. Can quote with private tours
We can also craft itineraries with overnights in hotels at Puerto Piramides on the peninsula or in small lodges near the peninsula or estancias on the coast of the peninsula at privileged locations, to get away from the crowds during high season, and to be closer to the wildlife "action". Or at Bahia Bustamante, further down from the peninsula and also away from the crowds
Other Day Tour Options
WHALE WATCHING NAVIGATION
1 Hour 30 minutes - Shared basis July 1 - Dec. 15
Every year between July and December the Eubalaena Australis, or Southern Right Whale, grace the calm waters of the Golfo Nuevo with their presence. Typically, this is the time of year in which the whales give birth to their calves. Pregnant females will arrive towards the end of the winter, with nursing calves then remaining close to their mothers for another ten months. This tour is a lovely way to experience the majesty of these ocean giants during an intimate time in their lives.
Strict regulations and skilled crew ensure that the water and the whales are caused minimal disturbance once aboard your professionally managed Catamaran. The shared tours operate on a daily basis, with private services available on request.
YELLOW SUBMARINE EXPERIENCE
1 Hour 30 mins – July to October – Shared basis
A seemingly submarine with glass windows that allow underwater sightings combined with the normal deck sightings.
The tour sets sail from Puerto Piramides. On board of the Yellow Submarine, passengers will be able to watch whales walking around on the outdoor upper deck at their pleasure as a conventional tour, or they can watch them on the lower deck as if diving among them. On this underwater level, 40 viewing windows with their own seats allow passengers to watch the submarine environment.
Species to be watched: Southern right whales, sea lions and typical birds of the Patagonian coastline (according to the season of the year).
*** This navigation can only be combined with private tours
1 hour 30 minutes - Season: January to February
The boat ride from Puerto Piramides offers a chance to observe the marvelous array of marine wildlife, including Sea Lions, Dolphins and many coastal bird species native to the area.
The navigation goes parallel to the coast where we can also observe sea lions at their natural habitat. The boat gets close to the cliff which due to its shape – somewhat like a pyramid – gives name to the area.
Dolphins are often the highlight of any navigation into these waters. Found in groups of two to ten; their endlessly playful spirit, riding waves and interacting with the vessel is captivating.
The most common species of Dolphin usually observed during these cruises are the Commerson Dolphin. Known for opportunistic feeding habits, and an affable demeanour when it comes to fellow Dolphin species or neighbouring Sea Lions; they are a joy to watch.
** Shared services run on varying daily shifts from January 1st to February 28th and lasts roughly 1 hour 30minutes.
HALF DAY PUERTO MADRYN CITY TOUR– Private
Year round – 3 hours
Meet the guide at the hotel to explore the city. We will drive along the coastal Avenue and reach the residential areas in the South of the city. We will reach Punta Cuevas, site of the first Welsh settlement in 1865. This place offers a great view of the Golfo Nuevo.
We then head north to visit the city center, and at the end the new port facilities and the new industrial developments which are shaping the city.
The Visit can be complemented with the Eco Centro, (entrance fees not included), a very peculiar place. The aim of the Ecocentro is “to create, in all its dimensions, a space for encounters and reflection, inspired by the Patagonian Sea, whose prime objective would be to promote a more harmonious attitude to the ocean”.Housed in an amazing and elegant building on the coastal cliff beyond Punta Cuevas, this institution combines scientific research, environmental education and art.
*It is possible to add a visit to Punta Loma Sea Lions reserve, just 20 km from Puerto Madryn.
Full Day Dinosaurs & Dolphins
8 Hours - Year round – Shared or private basis
Pick up from the hotel and transfer to Rawson, capital city of the Province of Chubut. Visit of the city, its beach areas and Puerto Rawson, launch off point for the navigation to sight the friendly Commerson`s dolphins. The Commerson's dolphin is the smallest known dolphin in the world.
After a fun navigation we head to Trelew, visit the city, named after Lewis Jones (Trelew, city of Lew), one of the first Welshmen to explore the area looking for a suitable place for the Welch immigrants.
The visit of Trelew will be complemented with a visit to the Egidio Feruglio Museum (locally known as the MEF) which exhibits more than 1700 fossil pieces and 30 specimens of dinosaurs displayed in chronological order in the halls and are accompanied by scale models and posters, as well as a video projection narrating the beginning of life on this planet. Argentina's ground is quite rich in dinosaur fossils. Such great wealth has allowed scientists to reconstruct the natural history of these animals in Patagonia.
Then we head to Gaiman. Most of the houses in Gaiman are the original structures built by those early residents back in the early 19th-century. Many of the homes remain in fantastic condition and the friendly locals add to the experience of going back in time, learning the traditions of everyday life in the village.
A strong British influence has led to a love of all things tea and baking, with many families recycling age-old family recipes, which we can still enjoy in the local tea houses to this day. (tea not included).
Snorkeling From Puerto Madryn
Year round – 3 hours – Shared basis
This maybe one of the most fascinating activities that you can enjoy in the area; a close up with sea lions.
Meet the guide at the designated starting point for briefing and checking of the equipment. Instructions and round of questions. Once on board our boat, we navigate about 20 minutes to reach the Punta Loma Reserve. In the area – and with the assistance of professional divers – we get into the water with our snorkels. The experience will involve sighting of this funny and lovely lions while they are in the water. Time in the water will be about 45 minutes.
After this incredible experience we navigate back to the coast.
*Transfer to / from the hotel is not included.