Visit El Pedral lodge, Peninsula Valdes, and enjoy the area’s fantastic wildlife.

Thanks to its privileged location, El Pedral, a 19th century Norman house, is the perfect top quality accommodation in Valdes.

Southern Right whales, killer whales (orcas), Humbolt penguins, elephant seals and sea lions can all be found here.

After a day wandering the remote beaches, take a swim in the pool or relax in your comfortable room.

All communal areas are open and so you could read in the library, take in the views and enjoy a drink while wait for your home-cooked meal to arrive. Read our Wildlife Guide to find out more.

More on El Pedral Lodge, Argentina

The Atlantic ocean, which El Pedral looks on to, is so deep that you can see Southern Right Whales directly from the beach.

There is a growing penguin colony too, plus the chance to see the resident orca pod.

The wildlife cast is completed with the steppe fauna – guanacos, foxes, maras and nandus, and the traditional activity you see all around, the sheep farming.

Trip Highlights

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  • Stay in a beautiful and remote hacienda in a privileged location, away from it all.

  • Resident penguin colony and chance to see lots of wildlife right from the private beach front.

  • Relax in the pool, walk along 9km of beach, sail the seas, ride a bike or read a book in the cosy library.

  • Good quality food and wine - including the famous Argentine asado (bbq) - experience life in a hacienda.

  • Magellanic penguins from Sept-April. Southern right wales June to December.

  • Year-round wildlife: Elephant seals, South American sea lions, killer whales (orcas) and many bird species.

El Pedral was magical. The food was superb and we loved it's isolated setting.

A. McGregor, Patagonia, UK


Full Itinerary

Day 1: Transfer from Puerto Madryn (80 mins) or Trelew (2 hours) to El Pedral Estancia, full board (L,D)

We meet you and transfer you to the lodge.


Introduction to the lodge

Thanks to its privileged location, El Pedral (which means gravel beach) is in an ideal place for wildlife.

A Norman style house of XIX century, protected from the strong winds by a dense grove of cypress and tamariscos, El Pedral offers the opportunity to experience the authentic life of Patagonian estancias.

It retains the Patagonian atmosphere; rustic but still sophisticated; warm and friendly. Homemade meals make you feel at home. This is the ideal place to relax at the end of the day.

It has 8 rooms, a Quincho and a swimming pool, and 9km of beach on the shore directly outside the lodge.


The area

Patagonia expresses herself in the natural spaces outside El Pedral.

Everything in one place: whales, killer whales, penguins, elephant seals, sea lions. The beaches, which are easy to reach, have been chosen by the sea lions and elephant seals to establish their colonies.

Since 2009 a penguin colony is growing on the southern coasts, where the cliffs start, and has led to the area being protected and declared the ‘Punta Ninfas Wildlife Natural Shelter’.

This are also marks the beginning of the Golfo Nuevo (New Gulf) in Punta Ninfas, and also the Atlantic Ocean which contrasts with the safe waters of the gulf.


The wildlife

The coastline here is so deep, that Southern Right whales are able to swim very near the beach. This is a unique spectacle which can be seen while just sitting on the sand, just as good as watching them from a boat, or even better.

August and September are the best months to enjoy this show, since it is mating and birthing time.

Watching the majestic Southern Right Whales, which can reach 15m in length, from aerial views is another spectacle not to be missed, possible from the land outside the estancia.

El Pedral’s coasts are dominated by impressive cliffs more than 60m high. This cliff-lined coast, combined with the clear waters, result in the privilege of being able to watch the whales from above, while admiring the horizon and the Atlantic Ocean. A magical view.

Orcas are also frequently seen, although its behaviour is difficult to predict. They can be seen from the cliffs or while taking long walks along the coast. November is the best time, since they approach our coasts searching for their prey, the newborn elephant seals. During March and April they hunt sea lions. They can be seen all year around the coasts.


The weather

Because of the changeable weather, sailings are only confirmed at the lodge, and must be organised and paid for at the lodge, as they cannot be guaranteed.

Days 2-3: Activites around the lodge (2 x B,L,D)

Activities at El Pedral.


Day 4: Transfer out, ends (B,L)

At the end of your stay, transfer out.

Four days is a recommended stay – longer and shorter stats are possible.


Prices From $500 / £424 per person

Enquire about booking

What's Included?

Accommodation with full board (breakfast, lunch or picnic, dinner), activities within the grounds of El Pedral: 4×4 safaris, walking, bicycles, and fauna watching safaris, bicycles, the library, the game room (restricted area for children under 15 years old) and the swimming pool, transfers from Trelew or Puerto Madryn

What's Not Included?

International or domestic flights, nautical activities (all sailings paid for at the lodge in cash), alcoholic beverages during meals, bar, other activities or tours outside El Pedral, laundry, tips, insurance, personal items


The main building of the Lodge is a relic of the Norman style house, which was built in 1923 by Don Felix Arbeletche. It was refitted in order to offer comfort and warmth, preserving its main characteristics.

It has 8 rooms, a Quincho and a swimming pool, and 9km of beach on the shore outside. It has three areas:

The main house, with the dining room and the living room. The perfect atmosphere to enjoy a relaxing moment or a quiet reading. The guide/drivers room is also here. Upstairs, the tower offers an intimate reading room and an inspiring view of the steppe and the sea.

Second lodge, in the same style as the main house, which together with the main house, forms an L-shape. The Lodge has 8 rooms. Between every two rooms there is a small hallway, where guests can leave their coats and shoes. All rooms can be twin or double, according to needs. Two of them can be triple. Maximum capacity 16 guests. There is a crib at disposal.

The Quincho, is located 50m from the main house. Its dining room is ideal for asados (barbecue). There is a games room with a snooker table. Outside, a swimming pool of 14m x 4m is available.


More information

El Pedral is committed to the environment – the 220 volts electricity is generated by wind power. There a Diesel generator as a backup. We recommend bringing a lantern just in case of power failure, since technology can fail in such remote places, leaving us without light for a few hours.

There is no phone, no mobile phone signal. There is no TV, laundry service is limited, since it is a desert area where it is important to control the use of water. The lodge separates its rubbish and recycles

At the lodge they only accept payments for services/drinks and tips in cash.

We recommend a 2-3 stay for people who do not have much time and have a long trip around Argentina, and a stay of 5 nights during summer, to enjoy the sea, the beaches, the swimming pool and the aquatic activities.

Please avoid an early flight when checking out, since this would mean having to get up at 5 am. These shared departures are available September 1 to January 31.

Tour Staff

The lodge employs local staff to run the rooms, kitchens and hacienda.

Local people have worked on the hacienda since it was built, contributing to its existence and contributing to the local economy.



Almost all dietary requirements can be catered for – please enquire.

Food and cooking form a large part of the culture and routine at the Hacienda.

El Pedral states: “Our cooking is one of the entrance doors to the Patagonia.

“In the quest of offering dishes which highlight the values and products typical of our region, our cuisine sails across the sea in an attempt to picture the landscape in the plate.

“Modern, genuine and traditional dishes characterise our cuisine. We are going back to the origin offering simple but delicious dishes.”

Breakfasts feature teas, coffees, eggs, cereals, yoghurts, fruit and more.

Lunches and dinners may be an ‘asado’ – Argentine BBQ – with meats, corn, fish salads and more.

Activity Level

You can be as active or as energetic as you like and the tour is open to everyone.

The schedule of the activities offered for your stay will vary according to the weather conditions, the opportunities that may arise to take an observation tour, the number of nights you stay etc.

Your guide helps choose which is the best activity for the conditions, tailored to your wants.

During your free time, you may choose to use the swimming pool, the bikes, go to the beach or just go for a walk.

Enquire about booking

Practical Information

Introduction to Patagonia

For most people, Patagonia evokes a vast, windblown plateau, jagged mountains and the life of the gauchos.

The steppe that occupies much of southern South America is only one aspect of a magical region, jam-packed with amazing and contrasting landscapes.

Patagonia (latitudes 40°-55°, approximately) embraces a vast portion of southern Chile and Argentina, from the Rio Colorado in the north, to Tierra del Fuego in the south.

For convenience, we have divided the region into three zones: the Lakes District of northern Patagonian, central Patagonia and southern Patagonia.

Geography of Patagonia

Southern Patagonia (latitudes 49° to 55°), encompassing the southern Andes of Chile and Argentina plus Tierra del Fuego, has an altogether more vertical aspect than the rest of Patagonia.

As the continent tapers towards its southern point, the Andes take on new characteristics and offer some truly impressive panoramas.

Much of southern Patagonia is characterized by virgin landscapes where man’s hand has either not been present or, because of the scale of the landscapes, goes almost unnoticed. To the west of the semi-arid Patagonian plateau, mile-high granite spires – e.g. Cerro Torre and Fitzroy in Argentina and the Torres and Cuernos del Paine in Chile – rise abruptly from the Andean foothills, while vast blue glaciers, fringed by southern beech forest, gouge out thevalleys below.

At the heart of these magnificent landscapes lies the South Patagonian Ice Field, an utterly remote icy wilderness spanning hundreds of kilometers, whose glaciers – including the Perito Moreno and Upsala – are tens of kilometres long by severalkilometers wide.

Also characteristic of the southern Patagonian Andes are its turquoise, iceberg-filled lakes. To the west lies the southern portion of the Chilean Archipelago, comprising snow-capped islands and fjords.

Across the Magellan Straits from mainland Patagonia lies Tierra del Fuego which, like the rest of Patagonia, is divided between Argentina and Chile.

The north and east of Tierra del Fuego is flat, but flanking the Beagle Channel in the south, the tail end of the Andes provide very dramatic mountain scenery.


The Lake District (latitudes 40° to 45°) or the Araucania, is a region of dramatic conical volcanoes, evergreen, high-canopy forests and, of course, lakes.

It straddles the Chile-Argentine border, and also takes in Chiloe island, in the extreme north of the Chilean Archipelago. This region stretches from Temuco in the north to Chiloe in the south.


Central Patagonia (latitudes 45 to 49) is one of South America’s best-kept secrets. The vast wilderness area can be divided in two:

  • The dry band of Andean foothills and wind-blown plateau lying on the Argentine side of the Andes. This remote area is traversed north to south by a gravel highway known as the Ruta Cuarenta (Highway 40).
  • The Chilean portion to the west of the Andean watershed, often referred to as the Careterra Austral (after the little-used gravel highway that crosses it from north to south).

This huge region, embracing the sparsely-inhabited southern Araucaria and Aisén Region, features temperate rainforests, snow-peaks (often extinct volcanoes), lakes and, to the west, the Chilean Archipelago: a labyrinth of fjords and mountain-islands. This, the Chilean portion of central Patagonia, boasts the northernmost of Patagonia’s many giant, sea-level glaciers.

The San Raphael Glacier, probably this region’s most famous landmark, is an immense hanging glacier whose seracs calve into an iceberg-filled lagoon.


Find out more about Patagonia with our blog about its wildlife.


Patagonia weather changes as quickly as the wind sometimes blows.

Summer (Nov-March) see temperatures reach up to 20°C, when glorious light pours over the region for up to 18 hours. This is the best time to visit, nevertheless, spring and summer is also when the central and southern Patagonian regions sometimes get buffeted by strong, westerly winds.

Summer days in national parks can also bring sunny, windless conditions, and you may well find yourself hiking in shorts and t-shirt. Afternoons in Los Glaciares can be warm with lots of sunshine. (Note: Patagonian UV rays are very strong).

But because of the fickle – and localised – nature of the climate here, take nothing for granted. In a single day, all four seasons might be experienced, including a biting, wind-induced cold. It has been known to snow in camps in summer!

The in winter (May-Sept) temperatures typically range from -2°C in the winter, and there is only 6-8 hours of daylight. Winds tend to die down.


More information

In general, the further south you go, the cooler it gets and the further west you go – towards the Andes and Pacific coast – the wetter and less predictable the weather is. The further east – towards and across the Patagonian plateau – the drier and more stable.

On the South Patagonian Ice Field (average height, 1,500 metres), the appearance of lenticular clouds – signifying changing conditions – can translate into extreme winds (up to 150 kmh) and heavy snowfall. Here, summer pre-dawn temperatures commonly reach -20°C, with wind chill lowering temperatures even more. However, on sunny, windless summer days, you might get away with wearing just a couple of thin layers.

In Peninsula Valdes, the city of Puerto Madryn and the capital Trelew are all located in the province of Chubut, on the shores of three gulfs: San Matias, San Jose, and Nuevo. This area features a peculiar climate because of the effect created by the Atlantic Ocean. Although it does not rain much in the region on an annual basis, summers are usually mild, and the temperature sometimes gets very hot (touching 30ºC) and then eases off in the evening. The area does get very windy at times, especially on the peninsula, and warm and water/windproof clothing is recommended.

If you head to Ushuaia, due to its extreme southern location, temperatures may remain chilly during summer (Oct-March) the use of plenty of warm layers of clothing. Winter and Antarctic visits will require extreme clothing.

Kit list

Good kit is vital for every trip.

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When planning for the varied climatic conditions encountered in Paine, layering is the most practical and versatile clothing system.  It’s worth remembering that our clothing keeps us warm by retaining and isolating the heat we ourselves create.

To best maintain body heat, several layers of lightweight, warm and quick-drying clothing are far more efficient than one or two thick layers. Layers should have the following qualities:


  1. Breathability (able to wick away the humidity produced by sweat):
  2. Isolation (able to keep in the warm air our body produces); and
  3. Impermeability (able to impede the passing of wind and water).


First (base) layer: This layer wicks the sweat away from our skin, thus helping keep the body dry and warm. To this end, synthetic fabrics such as polypropylene should be used.

Mid layers: These isolating layers should also be synthetic (e.g. the known polar linings such as polartec or windblock, which are light and insulate twice as well as wool). Very important layers for retaining body heat.

Outer layer / shell: Finally, the vital layer which protects us from climatic adversities. A breathable, wind-proof and waterproof anorak, such as Goretex.

Give plenty of thought to kit selection, and try to keep weight down.

We also carry an extensive first aid kit & oxygen on all trips, but these are generally for emergencies only.


Below is a more detailed kit list.


Detailed kit list

  • 2 pairs synthetic inner socks (e.g. polypropylene, thermastat, coolmax) and 2 pairs thick loop-stitch/wool socks for cold.
  • Trekking boots – should be well broken-in, waterproof and provide good ankle support.
  • Trainers/sandals for city-wear, evenings at lower camps & river crossings.
  • Base layer leggings (1 pair).
  • Thick fleece leggings (or salopettes) (1 pair).
  • Goretex-type over-trousers (or salopettes) (1 pair).
  • Gaiters (optional).
  • Trekking trousers (2 pairs).
  • Shorts – wear sparingly in early stages at altitude, as sun burns.
  • Thermal base layer shirts (2).
  • Microfleece mid-layer shirt (1).
  • Shirt/t-shirt 1 or 2 for lower altitudes. Long-sleeved, collared shirt protects against sun
  • Fleece jacket or similar (1).
  • Warm jacket (down or synthetic). For camp and upper slopes.
  • Waterproof Goretex-type jacket.
  • Broad-brimmed sunhat, essential.
  • Warm hat, fleece or wool. (N.B. Up to 30% of body heat can be lost through the head).
  • Sunglasses with UV filter.
  • Scarf for cold.
  • Bandanna – to protect neck from strong sun.
  • Light inner gloves.
  • Swimming suit of hotel has a pool.
  • Warm gloves, e.g. fleece, and outer waterproof gloves or mittens (1 pair)
  • Mittens allow you to keep the fingers together, and better conserve heat (though they also make it difficult to perform certain tasks).
  • Daypack (at least 30 litres). Comfortable and with waterproof lining or cover.
  • Large rucksack or suitcase.
  • Pair of telescopic trekking poles (optional).
  • Water bottle (2 litres approx.) & purification tablets.
  • Personal first-aid kit to include: painkillers, plasters (band-aids), moleskin, anti-biotic cream, general antibiotics (ask your GP), after-bite (tiger balm), anti-diarrhoea tablets, throat lozenges, re-hydration salts & personal medication.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Towel & wash-kit.
  • Wet Wipes/antiseptic hand-wash cream.
  • Toilet paper (1)
  • Sunscreen (factor 30+) and lip salve.
  • Head-lamp (plus spare bulb and batteries).
  • Penknife.
  • Travel alarm clock.
  • Plastic bags – ‘Zip-loc’ & tough bin liners.
  • Camera and film / memory cards (take at least twice the amount you think you will need!).
  • Book, e-book, mp3 player/ipod or other for free time.
  • Binoculars.
  • Spanish/English phrasebook.
  • Extra snacks i.e. cereal bars or favourite chocolate bars.



Miscellaneous others

  • Money belt.
  • Passport.
  • U.S. dollars cash, mixed-denomination notes, undamaged and unmarked.
  • ATM cash/credit card.
  • Any inoculation certificates.
  • Personal & medical insurance certificates.
  • Presents e.g. Postcards from home.
  • Comfortable clothes for travel, smart clothes for night life.

ATOL holiday protection

Andean Trails has two decades of experience of dealing with South America holidays.

We pay a fee to the CAA for every licensable passenger we book since we hold an Air Travel Organiser’s Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. In the unlikely event of our insolvency, the CAA will ensure that you are not stranded abroad and will arrange to refund any money you have paid to us for an advance booking.

We also offer ATOL (Civil Aviation Authority) protected holidays to give our customers peace of mind when booking and travelling.

When you buy an ATOL protected air holiday package from Andean Trails Ltd you will receive a Confirmation Invoice from us confirming your arrangements and your protection under our Air Travel Organiser’s Licence number 6275.

You can read more about ATOL, who is covered and what protections you have if not ATOL-covered, on our ATOL page.


What is ATOL?

The CAA’s ATOL scheme offers protection to your money and your holiday if you book with us. Not everybody is covered (see ‘Who is covered?’ for more), as you must purchase an ‘air package holiday’ with Andean Trails to be protected.

And  ‘air package holiday’ is defined as including a flight and some ground services (hotel, transfer, trek etc). This is also known as an ‘ATOL-protected holiday’.


Who is covered?

To be covered by ATOL, you must book a flight and some ground services with us and be from the UK. If you are from the UK and only book ground services and no flights, you are not covered by ATOL (see below for more on how non-ATOL clients are covered).

If you are outside the UK and buy flights with us, you will be ATOL protected IF any of the flights booked with Andean Trails touches/stops in the UK at any point during your holiday package booked with us.

If you buy your flights elsewhere, please check with that agent if you are ATOL protected. Be careful with online flight purchases and make sure you know what protection you have, if any, before paying for flights.

Not all holiday or travel services offered and sold by us will be protected by the ATOL scheme. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking.

For land only holidays not involving any air travel, in accordance with “The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992”, all UK passengers booking with Andean Trails Ltd. are fully protected for the initial deposit and subsequently the balance of all money paid to us, arising from cancellation or curtailment of travel arrangements due to the insolvency of Andean Trails.


I’m not ATOL covered, what protection do I have?

If you are not ATOL covered, any payments you make to us go to a Trust account.

We can only access this money once your tour has been completed, meaning that if anything happens to Andean Trails Limited while you are on holiday, then your money is secure and you can either complete the trip or be able to make it home.

If you pay for your holiday with a credit card, some offer payment protection – please check with your cardholder.

You also should have cancellation protection written into your insurance (which we recommend you have at the time of booking) in case you need to cancel.

Argentine Patagonia

Argentine Patagonia, the southern half of Argentina, is a remote, wind swept land of plains, mountains, lakes and glaciers.

The main airport is at El Calafate which is the gateway to Los Glaciares National Park.

Nearby is the mighty Perito Moreno glacier where you have the opportunity to get up close to the ice on one of the many walkways or on a boat trip.

El Chalten, a  3 1/2 hour drive from Calafate, is the trail head for treks in to the base of Cerro Torre, Fitzroy or for the more intrepid, on to the South Patagonian ice-cap.

Ushuaia, on the Beagle channel, is the southern most city of Argentina. Ushuaia is fascinating for historical interest, is rich in wildlife and is departure port for many Antarctic cruises

Chilean Patagonia

Chilean Patagonia is a pristine wilderness of fjords, glaciers, plains, mountains and forests.

Southern Patagonia’s main attraction is the Torres del Paine National park. The granite spires attract many visitors to what some have called the 8th Wonder of the World. The park is a trekkers paradise with two classic treks, the Paine W and the Paine Circuit.

Northern Patagonia, the Aysen region,  is one of the least populated parts of the country and is blessed with spectacular countryside.

The main airport is Balmaceda near the city of Coyhaique and must see places include Lake General Carrera and the Marble Caves, The San Rafael Glacier,  the Quelat Hanging Glacier as well as driving the Austral Road.

The Futaleufu River is a must for white water enthusiasts.

The region also offers great horseback opportunities as well as kayaking ones. Nature enthusiasts can admire the impressive scenery, imposing glaciers and fascinating wildlife and flora.

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