In September the best season to travel to Peninsula Valdes begins. Penguins, killer whales, wolves and sea elephants become the protagonists of the province of Chubut.
Puerto Madryn and Puerto Piramides are the most important whale watching destinations.
Being able to see a halo of foam in the distance approaches glory. It is the hint that all tourists expect: that what it seems may be. Visitors are excited to find a copy, or several, of the right whale that can be seen in different ways in Chubut, Argentina. And they get it specifically around Puerto Madryn, in Puerto Pirámides and in the rest of the area known as Peninsula Valdés.
From a boat or if tourists are encouraged to trek through huge beaches, accompanied by guides, you can see a few meters away from the free whale, a unique show that attracts thousands of people from Argentina and the United States every year. world.
“The issue is that the right whale is a very meek animal that does not get scared of the boats but tends to approach or remain calm in its place. On the other, there is a huge amount of whales here: the count three weeks ago gave some 1049 in the whole area of the peninsula “, details the experienced guide Leoni Gaffet, a member of Argentina Vision, who has been working in the area for more than two decades.
“The embarked sighting here gives you a proximity for photographs and for contemplation that is really something extraordinary,” he says and adds that due to the characteristics of the winds of the place, navigation tends to be calm because it leaves Puerto Pirámides to travel the call New Gulf
“In other parts of the world the sighting is usually done in the open sea and, therefore, navigation can become a little harder or less soft. Also, here you do not sail long to see the whales. Simply some minutes, five or ten and one is already next to one or several. In other places you may browse for more than an hour to see something, if it is seen, “explains the guide. The particularity of the region – and what somehow distinguishes it from the rest of the “whaling” points of the planet – is that if the boat leaves the port because the winds and weather conditions allow it, the sighting is assured.
Another minor detail is that in some protected beaches near Puerto Madryn the whales can be seen a few meters away from the coast.
“We have the theme of coastal sighting on the El Doradillo beach and also in others like Las Canteras. Sometimes they can be four or five meters from one. Sometimes they are seen with the young, sometimes in the mating season, sometimes making his characteristic jumps. It’s something unique, “he details.
The great moment
Although the area receives visitors all year round, what people who want to do tourism in the region are most wondering about and not miss one of its biggest attractions is which is the most convenient time.
For this, it should be noted that the right whales are animals that approach the Valdés Peninsula in search of its warmer waters for three key moments in their life: reproduction, birth and the first care of their young. Peaceful and really impressive, they can weigh 40 tons when they are adults.
This is why in the region the whale season is more or less officially opened in June and closed in December, when these animals migrate to other places in search of food.
The high season in Puerto Madryn begins in the month of September and ends at the end of the year. Argentines and foreigners from all over the world travel to Peninsula Valdés to witness one of the most wonderful landscapes on the planet, and to the temporary visitors that arrive at its waters. It is that the place is recognized for the great variety of fauna: whales, penguins, wolves and elephant seals, hundreds of birds and killer whales.
Puerto Madryn is located on the Northwest Coast of the province of Chubut and is the main gateway to the Valdés Peninsula. Some tourist spots to visit nearby are Isla de los Pájaros, Puerto Pirámides, Punta Delgada, Caleta Valdés and Punta Norte, among other great attractions in the area. It is important to note that Madryn was declared Capital of Diving by the Chamber of Deputies in Argentina. It also has a wide scientific-cultural offer, among which the Ecocentro interpretation center, the Municipal Museum of Art and the Madryn al Plato gastronomic festival stand out.
Declared a Natural World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1999, Peninsula Valdés offers a real safari in the Argentine Patagonia. From the plane you can see the Giants of Valdés, specimens of southern right whales that walk along the shores of the New Gulf, in front of the beaches and next to the pier of Puerto Madryn. They are the great stars of this trip, with their fantastic and iconic tail, their mating rituals, and their newborn pups.
The whales arrive at Peninsula Valdés every year in the month of June, because there they find the ideal tranquility they need to reproduce. The options to see them are from the Rambla in Madryn, in the natural area of El Doradillo, and with the embarked sightings offered in Puerto Pirámides.
“Madryn is the most important place in Argentina for sighting tourism,” said Mario Oyarzábal, Argentine delegate to the International Whaling Commission and legal advisor of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Argentina.
The other figure present from September until March is the Magellanic penguin. In the vicinity of Puerto Madryn there are several very numerous breeding colonies, such as the Estancia San Lorenzo, protected area in Punta Norte, Peninsula Valdés. Also in the El Pedral Reserve, in Punta Ninfas, which is part of the Unesco biosphere reserve. These proposals can be contracted through agencies, and include picnics with Patagonian lamb roast, lodging in country hotels, and excursions to discover fossils on the cliffs and canyons that drain into the sea.
On Route 3 to the south, 170 kilometers from Madryn, the Punta Tombo Protected Natural Area is home to the largest Magellan penguin continental colony in America, with almost one million copies. They can be seen in their nests, walking towards the sea in search of food or feeding their pigeons in the mouth. In addition, among the penguins, the seagulls, skuas, steam ducks, black-necked cormorants, Antarctic pigeons and petrels also walk.
Elephants and sea lions can be seen at various points on the coast of Chubut, as in the reserves of Punta Loma and Punta Pirámide. On the beaches of Punta Norte, between September and April, the killer whales also look for prey. They wait for the tide to rise and as soon as they see the opportunity, they will be stranded on the beach to be able to capture sea lion pups and feed. While there are killer whales since September, they are easier to spot between late February and April, at high tide.
The truth is that Puerto Madryn in this season is an unforgettable experience, which allows a total approach with nature, from navigation between the whales and walks between the penguins.