The Valdes Peninsula is one of the most visually spectacular wildlife destinations in Patagonia and an exceptional place to visit by road or on an expedition cruise. What to do in peninsula valdes.
Inscribed on the UNESCO list since 1999 and recognized as one of the main places in the world for whales migration.
The Valdés Peninsula is the pride of Argentina and the joy of a spectacular stretch of coastline rich in marine life that stretches for more than 400 km.
Coves, bays and lagoons abound, making it a rewarding and varied destination for wildlife viewing, home to a host of creatures both in and out of the water.
Valdes Peninsula Overview -What to do in Peninsula Valdes
A narrow and dramatic isthmus is all that connects the Valdés peninsulas to the Argentine mainland, with access just a few kilometers north of Puerto Madryn.
Although many Patagonia do wildlife observation tours, they are concentrated in more famous national parks.
Valdés is a great off-the-beaten-path destination where you are likely to see a host of unique and attractive animals no matter what time of year you visit.
The Valdés animal treasure is the result of the collision of two divergent ocean currents.
The nutrient-rich waters create a pristine and thriving natural habitat for various types of whales .
One of the most revered and protected natural marine habitats in the world, the Valdés is most famous for its annual killer whale feeding season.
The unique conditions here have attracted a singular killer whale hunting technique not seen anywhere else.
Yet what makes Peninsula Valdes so important to marine biology around the world.
Today, the biggest risks these gentle giants face are collisions with commercial vessels and traps in fishing nets.Whale. When you are lucky, you will see both of them during your visit. Photo credit: Shutterstock
This stretch of the Argentine coast is ruggedly beautiful, with a mushroom-shaped peninsula that boasts idyllic quiet coves.
It is this distinctive topography that has created a world about itself in the Valdés, an almost isolated refuge to which thousands and thousands of animals take refuge.
And because this is Patagonia, after all, land animals also include guanacos and Patagonian maras.
Peninsula Valdes Highlights -What to do in Peninsula Valdes
Wildlife observation trips to the Valdes Peninsula are organized by season and this is without a doubt the best way to plan a trip.
Just pick your favorite awesome event to admire … and voila!
Whales – The whales come here to breed in the months between May and December and are, without a doubt, the most pleasing and crowded of the Valdes Peninsula.
The best tours at the moment are those that include land and sea explorations , with some places better accessible by road and others by boat.
The waters that bathe the coasts of the Valdés Peninsula are also home to sunken vessels that make fantastic diving excursions .
The coveted southern right whales begin arriving in June of each year, and their numbers progressively increase as the months go by. September and October offer the best chances of getting the highest numbers.
Orcas: Although orcas breed in these protected waters throughout the year, the famous feeding season occurs during the austral summer season, between late September and early April .
The high viewpoints along the rugged coastline at Punta Norte offer the best views of all, and be aware that the killer whales will wait for high tide to make their deadly shore dives.
Dolphins, Commerson’s dolphins , often mistaken for killer whales, live in these waters throughout the year, although all other species visit in the hottest months, between December and March .
Union Beach is considered one of the best places for dolphin watching in Valdés and if you also head here in November, you will see the magical synchronized swimming of Commerson’s mothers and newborns.
Penguins –You’ll find penguins in Valdés from October to March, although the height of the breeding frenzy occurs in October and November.
Head to Punta Tombo (175 km south of Puerto Madryn) to see the world’s largest Magellanic penguin colony , with millions of specimens during peak breeding season. If you visit in November, you will see the puppies walking taking their first steps.
Known for their beautiful wildlife, the Magellanic penguins in Patagonia are cute and a MUST see when visiting Patagonia! Photo credit: Shutterstock
Elephant seals, sea lions and most seabirds are present in the Valdes, throughout the year, and number in the tens of thousands.
Birds: Throughout the year, the Valdés Peninsula and the surrounding region are inhabited by hundreds of unique bird species (including the Choique (resembling a small Australian emu), Nanco (a kind of hawk), the Turkish vulture and royal cormorant ) as well as more than 60 species of migratory birds.
This is known, in fact, as a bird watcher’s peninsula first and foremost. Hundreds of beautiful southern flamingos come ashore to feed at low tide, although breeding colonies can number in the thousands. Be sure to include a visit to the Bird Island Reserve in what to do in Peninsula Valdes
Trelew – This small town of Welsh immigrant origin is on the way to Punta Tombo and is a very fascinating place to visit.
The architecture and charming tea rooms make for a wonderful stopover if you’re traveling overland through the region, however the best attraction in town is the Museum of Paleontology , where you can retrace the footsteps of the dinosaurs that used to roam. this incredible land.
This is considered the most important paleontological region on our planet, once home to the largest dinosaurs of all. If the fossils and interesting natural history tickle you, don’t miss this place!
Salina Grande and Chica – Some of the most impressive sunset viewing spots in the region, the pink salt lakes of Valdés are located in the southern half of the peninsula and are easily visited on a driving tour of the circuit.
How to get around Peninsula Valdes -What to do in Peninsula Valdes
Transportation by car is a must in this impressive but remote region of Argentina, with a convenient circular route that will take you to see the best highlights of the Valdes Peninsula.
Although day trips from Puerto Madryn are possible, there are actually some very special accommodation options on the peninsula itself and spending the night here will allow you to make the most of the amazing spectacle of wildlife.
For an exceptional experience, visit the Faro Punta Delgada estancia, which offers sensational views and a totally in the middle of nowhere experience that is superbly suited to its astonishing location. Plus, there are a ton of places to visit here, so give Valdés the time he really deserves.
Please note that as this is a protected nature reserve, some sections of the Valdés peninsula can only be accessed if you are accompanied by a local naturalist guide. Without a doubt, we will be more than happy to organize one to guide you through the most remote and fascinating places.
Best time to visit the Peninsula -What to do in Peninsula Valdes
Valdés Valdés has a dry but cool climate and is wonderful to visit at any time of the year, although the most ideal, when it comes to wildlife observation, is the southern spring season, from September to November.
Your trip will undoubtedly coincide with other Argentine destinations, so choose your ideal time keeping in mind the aforementioned wildlife highlights and ideal times to visit your other sights.
This is a perfect stopover from the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires , to the southern Patagonian port city of Ushuaia , the springboard for Antarctica cruises .
How to get to Peninsula Valdés
Puerto Madryn is the ‘headquarters’ of the Valdés Peninsula, although Trelew is the town with airport connections to Buenos Aires (2 hours), Ushuaia (2 hours) and Córdoba (2.5 hours) . By road, it takes an hour to get to Puerto Madryn from Trelew.