Overlooking the vast Golfo Nuevo, the northern Patagonian town of Puerto Madryn is one of Argentina’s top whale-watching spots. Founded by Welsh explorers, who arrived aboard the Mimosa ship in 1865, Puerto Madryn welcomes visitors to enjoy its wonderful wildlife, traditional tea shops, and sheep-rearing ranches known as estancias. Taste some of Argentina’s tenderest and juiciest steak cuts, or piles of seafood, in the waterfront restaurants of the town’s promenade, as you fuel up ahead of the natural adventures of a lifetime.
An astonishing array of animals call the protected Valdes Peninsula home. See penguins wandering, sea lions yawning lazily, and playful guanacos galloping here. Head to the beaches of Estancia San Lorenzo, to hear the racket made by hundreds of Magellan penguins. The blackened beach of Loberia de Punta Loma bears witness to huge elephant seals rising up and clashing dramatically – or lounging around docilely - and you can even take advantage of the opportunity to swim, snorkel and scuba dive with curious and playful sea lions. Further afield, Tombo National Reserve is a vast breeding ground for birds and penguins, while a huge Magellanic penguin colony,1,500,000 strong, spreads out further south at Punta Tombo.
Boats roll out from Puerto Madryn on the hunt for Southern Right Whales and orcas among the many marine mammals who move through the waters offshore. Few experiences compare with feeling the salt spray, as giant humpbacks crash against the surface. Look out for the black and white Commerson’s dolphins too, which are some of the smallest members of the dolphin family.