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Essential Travel Guide to Puerto Madryn in Argentina

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Our visitor’s guide to Puerto Madryn gives lots of ideas, tips and advice to help plan your holiday to this scenic corner of Patagonia, Argentina.

Read first hand advice from our travel expert Tom Shearman who spent 10 days exploring the region.

“Puerto Madryn is a fairly large town of around 100,000 souls, first founded by Welsh migrants some 150 years ago.

Its main focus is fishing, hydro-electricity and tourism and the abundant sea food means this is a great place for restaurants.

It’s a semi-arid area with just 200mm of rain each year, and although windy, it can get hot (25-40 Celcius in summer) albeit with cold seas (13-15 Celcius).

 

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Golfo Nuevo, Peninsula Valdes

 

 

Quick guide to some of the best things to do in and around Puerto Madryn

 

In no particular order:

  • Stroll the vast beach and join in with impromptu football, windsurf or keep an eye out for leaping whales
  • Visit the Museum of Paleontology Egidio Feruglio, full of some truly amazing dinosaur fossil discoveries
  • Snorkel with sea lions on an organised tour to Punta Loma
  • Kayak for 1-7 days in remote areas only accessible via water
  • Head to Gaiman and enjoy a Welsh tea in a Welsh-speaking town
  • Explore Peninsula Valdes, great for spotting southern right whales from Jul-Dec. The whales jump out of the water more often Aug-Oct, albeit we saw them leaping in December.
  • Penguins, sea lions and more.
  • Spend some time in Puerto Piramidies and enjoy the sandy beach, funky cafes and bars.
  • Treat yourself to a stay at El Pedral estancia with its private penguin colony, fantastic food, privileged location, swimming pool, bikes, kayaks and more!

 

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Kayak

 

 

Where to stay

 

Bahia Nueva hotel

Solid 3* hotel, rooms are small and compact, and the sea view rooms are nice. Breakfast good, busy, popular, solid performer – a mid-range traveller’s dream.

 

Hotel Peninsula Valdes

Called Valdes but definitely in Puerto Madryn, this is a bit more of a splurge. Lovely, modern rooms and attentive staff, good breakfast, and we had a top floor sea view room and watched the whales from our terrace, jumping out of the ocean just a few hundred metres away.

 

El Patio

Cheap, cheerful but plenty of this style of place to stay in, perfect for those looking to travel on a budget.

 

Las Restingas (in Puerto Piramides)

There are some basic cabins and simple hotels in this small town, Las Restingas is the best hotel. Rooms look directly out onto the sea – marvellous.

 

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Caleta Valdes view point

 

 

More attractions in Puerto Madryn

 

Some points of interest on Peninsula Valdes include:

Punta Canto/Caleta Valdes: Penguins and orcas at high tide, very pretty place, nice colours and also some elephant seals hanging around.

 

Punta Norte:            Lighthouse, armadillo, elephant seals and sea lions PLUS this is where (Feb/March) orcas may beach up onto land at high tide and try to eat sea lion pups. Small café and toilets here.

 

Punto Tumbo:  This is in the far south, 2-3 hours away, and has 500,000 penguins! Very busy with people though, I think I preferred El Pedral. Park entry fee of around USD 20pp)

 

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Humboldt Penguin

 

 

More attractions in Puerto Piramides

 

Loberia:         A one-hour (each way) fairly easy walk from Puerto Piramides, open 0800-20.00, with a viewpoint to see sea lions and loberias.

Usually lots of activity as females are either giving birth, males fighting / rutting or the young pups playing in the sea.

Can also see whales, shearwaters, cormorants and seagulls.

 

Punta Pardelas:       2-3 hour walk (check the tides) along a beach and then through sand dunes to a look out – the beach is full of fossils.

Take a path to the left and up above the water into some dunes. En route, you’ll see shearwaters and cormorants, and at high tide, southern right whales may swim within 5-10m of the shore.

You can find old tools from indigenous tribes and eventually reach a lookout point to see both side of the gulf. Return the same way, allow 4-5 hours in total, take sun cream as there is no shade at all anywhere.

 

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Punto Pardelas hike

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