Experience Patagonia and you will experience a region famed for its austere beauty and profuse wildlife.
The windswept shores Argentina's Valdes Peninsula are home to many marine mammals – notably elephant seals and sealions, plus Magellanic penguins. Between March and April, however, the focus is orcas – Punta Norte is where they spectacularly snatch sealion pups from the shallows – while in October and November southern right whales cavort in the sheltered Golfo Nuevo.
Day1: Depart UK
Depart the UK on an overnight flight to Buenos Aires.
Day2: Arrive Buenos Aires
Today you arrive in the bustling city of Buenos Aires and enjoy an afternoon city tour to see some of the capital's many highlights.
Accommodation: Hotel in Buenos Aires, 1-night
Day3: Birding tour of Costanera Sur, fly to Trelew & transfer to Puerto Madryn
In the morning you join a guided tour of Costanera Sur, well known for its incredible bird population including the unusual black-necked swan. You then head to the airport and fly to Trelew (two hour flight), followed by a one hour drive to Puerto Madryn.
Accommodation: Dazzler Puerto Madryn Lodge, 2-nights
Day4: Valdes Peninsula - whale watching
You have a full day excursion to the Valdes Peninsula, known for its northern right whales migration (September to December) and great sea bird life. The area is good year-round for birdwatching and sightings of: elephant seal, sealion, Commerson’s dolphin, martineta, choique, guanaco, hare and gray wolf, whilst orcas are present October to April, and penguins September to March.
Days5-7: Transfer to Bahia Bustamante
A four hour drive takes you to Bahia Bustamante. A sea bird paradise, the reserve hosts a huge population of sealions and cormorants but also oyster catcher, Olrog’s gull, skua and steamer duck. The best way to explore the area is on horseback or by boat. During the next three days you have the chance to visit Penguin Island, to sail Malaspina Cove, explore the Petrified Forest and have a delightful lunch at a typical Patagonian ranch.
Days8-10: Drive to Puerto Deseado; visit rockhopper penguin colony
Head south to Comodoro Rivadavia and continue to Puerto Deseado - the drive should take approximately six hours. For the next three days you explore Rio Deseado and Isla Pinguino. Both areas are protected nature reserves of great ornithological importance, hosting the only continental settlement of rockhopper penguin, but also the black-browed albatross, brown skua, magenallic penguin, blue-eyed cormorant and southern giant petrel.
Accommodation: Hotel Acantilados, 3-nights
Day11: Fly to Buenos Aires
Transfer by road to Rivadavia and fly back to Buenos Aires for your last night in Argentina.
Day12: Depart Buenos Aires
After a free morning, transfer to the airport for an overnight flight back to the UK.
Day13: Arrive UK
Our trip ideas are offered to inspire you and can be tailored to suit your requirements.
Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 13 daysfrom £4,795 pp
Duration and price excluding international flights: 11 daysfrom £3,645 pp
Single supplement: From £760
When to go: Sep-Apr: Mid September to April
Argentina’s foremost wildlife site is a flat peninsula at the northern end of Patagonia, lined with sandy beaches and rocky shelves. The beaches are home to prodigious numbers of marine wildlife, including the only colony of elephant seals on the South American mainland. Birdwatching is good year round.
Where: Chubut Province
Ideal for viewing: elephant seal, lesser rhea, mara, orca, southern right whale
Excellent for: Whale watching
Suggested accommodation is shown below.
for further recommendations.
Despite its isolation – or maybe because of it – Estancia Bahia Bustamente is a very special accommodation that attracts only those who are interested in the area’s wildlife. Six comfortable houses overlook the ocean, each with two double bedrooms, bathroom, living room and a terrace overlooking the bay.