"The Myth Made Real" Isla Valdés by leok

Isla Valdés Travel Guide: 1 reviews and 13 photos

First Contact

The highlight of any trip to the area is the chance to see whales up close - and they get really close to the boats. In some cases blowing spumes of water metres from the side of the craft and then swimming underneath to get a view from the other side.

The best time to whale-watch is between June and October when the mothers make their journey to the area to give birth and raise their calves before heading out to sea. So long as the conditions are calm the sea will be packed with the creatures and the calves are quite curious so will lead their mothers to you!

The sight of these huge mystical mammals up close in the wild is completely different from tv documentaries or even a man-made waterpark. Even the most cynical tourist would find it hard to resist the power of the experience.

The trip is included as part of a tour to the peninsular but I think you can also book yourself on the boat if you drive your own car down to the bay.

For more info go to

http://www.argentinianexplorer.com/english/glaciares_condiciones.asp

http://www.patagonias.net/Cities/PuertoMadryn.htm

There's Millions Of Them

Whales aren't the only wildlife you can visit.

A second day's tour can be booked to Punta Tumbo which isn't actually on the peninsular but slighlty along the coast. The colony is at the end of a VERY long and uneven dirt road (so be warned if you plan to self-drive rather than take a tour).

Between September and mid-April more than a million Magellanic penguins come to rest and breed here each year making it the biggest colony outside of the Antartic. Though areas are roped off some of the birds nest in the area open to the public so you can get centimetres away from the birds sitting on their eggs and from time to time they'll waddle up to have a look at you. Though you can't get down to the beach you can look down to it - and possibly the highlight of any visit - because once the birds enter the water they are transformed. On land they may waddle and look comedic, but in the water they are like missiles, zooming around at high speeds and able to change directions without slowing. It's no wonder they find it so easy to fish.

Most organised trips will give you about 90mins with the birds which is plenty to get loads of photos and explore the accessible area. At the entrance there is the chance to buy a hot snack afterwards as well as to buy your own stuffed penguin toy at a very reasonable price.

NB The day tour to punta tumbo also includes a chance to see sea-wolves if they are about (the river was too low on the day we tried) and a visit to a Welsh tea room at Gaiman - for more info on the latter go to my page at

http://www.virtualtourist.com/m/5a5ef/177f10/

Love Bites

Back on the peninsular the whale-watching day trip also includes a chance to spend time with the peninsula's resident elephant seals. Around 20,000 stay between August and March when they breed and change their skin.

There are a couple of locations on the peninsula you can view them. It's worth walking the full distance until the signs forbid you to go further to get away from the crowds of tourists and get your own private wildlife documentary. If you are patient you will get the chance to watch some of the young males try to get up close to one of the harem's and be warned off or even bitten and attacked by the male in charge.

Unlike the whales and peguins you won't get within arms length of the animals though you can get good clear views from the paths -but if you have a pair of travel binoculars they would definitely enhance the experience. It's also worth having a good pair of walking shoes as the paths can get quite rough in places.

Although you can stay on the peninsula I think it's more convenient and less remote if you stay nearby at Puerto Madryn where it's easy to book a tour. Whales can also sometimes be seen from the resort's beach in September. I've got more info about the place on a separate travel page:

http://www.virtualtourist.com/m/5a5ef/177155/

  • Last visit to Isla Valdés: Oct 2004
  • Intro Updated Dec 27, 2004
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  • LuisGuimaraes's Profile Photo
    Jan 20, 2006 at 7:10 PM

    "nice intro about a place I'll definately visit sooN!" <--I wrote this one year ago. Now I cameback to your page, was about to comment and notice I had already done it. Been there this summer. overwhelming. cheers!

leok

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