Hills of a thousand colors, waterfalls that marvel, landscapes of another planet. Deep forests and crystalline lakes. Colonies of penguins and whales in the South Seas. Immense, magical, touching. Such are the natural scenarios of Argentina.
Following Darwin’s footsteps on the Beagle
Navigate the islands of the end of the world. Sea lions, imperial cormorants and magellanic penguins will accompany your adventure.
Tourism to the Beagle Channel, the mythical exploration ship of Darwin, names at the end of the world a quiet canal whose waters reflect the monumental snowy peaks of the Sierra Sorondo. In the vicinity, the islands bear the names of the first settlers, and on the mounds the footprint of the original settlers can be traced. The fur of the sea lions shines in the sun. Black on white, thousands of cormorants are visible on the rocks. At dusk, the lighthouse Les Éclaires shines. Beyond, on the stony beaches, it looks more black and white: they are the penguins of Magellan.
Throughout the day, the landscape changes as the light changes. The imposing presence of the mountain can be seen in the mist. Among the gray shades are the vivid colors of Ushuaia. Beneath the shining peaks, the Haberton Estate opens its doors and tells the story of the pioneers. In the last light of day, a rainbow over the canal will rise to say goodbye.
Excursions on the Beagle Channel are mainly carried out on large catamarans, although the trip can also be done in smaller boats and sailboats.
The different agencies offer short trips, approximately 2 hours and a half; And long, up to 9 hours. Depending on the option chosen, you can reach the Bridges Islands, Hammer Island and / or Haberton Ranch (the first one in Tierra del Fuego). You can also take walks of several days and get to Cape Horn.
I traveled the thousand and one roads of this Patrimony of the Humanity and prepare for the surprises (naturally majestic).
Valdes Peninsula was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999 in the Natural Landscape category. Located in the province of Chubut, in Patagonia, it penetrates into the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean, forming the Golfo Nuevo and Golfo San José. In its 4,000 km2 inhabited the most varied bird of the Patagonian coasts. The undisputed star of this natural sanctuary is the Southern Right Whale (which arrives every year between the months of June and October). But she is not alone. It is accompanied by dolphins, orcas, wolves and elephants, Magellanic penguins and a great diversity of birds and terrestrial fauna.
Scarcely populated by man, this arid land in which the celestial sky is merged with the intense blue of the waters, is a territory of guanacos, choiques and numerous species of seabirds. On the rocks of the coast, the cormorants spread their wings and the sea lions sleep long naps in the sun. The sea elephants also add to the rest, dragging their huge bodies parsimoniously. And at the ends of the Peninsula, where the seas are open and disturbing, the magnificent killer whales reign.
The Península Valdés extension requires a full day to visit Puerto Pirámides – the only town in the area – and to know some of the most important points for the observation of marine fauna. If you are interested in touring in full – in a private vehicle or on excursions organized by agencies – consider a stay of at least two days. Along with the sightseeing tours you can also go diving, kayaking, trekking circuits and mountain biking.
Strategic points for the observation of birds and marine fauna:
The Island of the Birds. Located about 800 meters from the coast, it is inhabited by a large number of birds – flamingos, white egrets, cooking gulls, cormorants and black oysters – that can be sighted with high power binoculars and the local guard of the place.
Punta Norte During the austral spring an important colony of elephant seals arrives at this site. And all summer, it is safe to be here with sea lions. Between October and April can also be seen, with a little patience and some luck, orcas that approach to the shore in search of food.
Caleta Valdés. Another ideal spot for elephants watching.
Punta Cantor. Important place for elephant seals and shelter of several species of birds.
Punta Delgada. On this beach, surrounded by deep cliffs, cormorants and other species of native birds are found alongside marine elephants.
Pyramid Point. During the winter and spring it becomes an excellent view of whales. In summer and autumn, the landscape is dominated by an important colony of fur seals.
Punta Loma Protected Area. At 17 km from Puerto Madryn, it houses a large permanent colony of sea lions, which can be observed during low tide (information about tide schedules is required). For the short distance that separates it from the city, it is an ideal place to go by bicycle.