From Puerto Madryn, begin your tour with a one-hour drive on paved roads to the entrance of Valdés Peninsula – a designated UNESCO World Heritage site since 1999. This amazing place comprises over 1,500 square miles of headlands, saltwater lakes, depressions and rocky cliffs jutting 30 miles into the Atlantic. This is also one of the finest wildlife reserves in South America.
The surrounding shallow bays, gulfs and beaches make the peninsula one of the most diverse bio-habitats in South America. Over half of the world's southern right whale population frequent the waters off Valdés Peninsula, which is also home to major colonies of seals, sea lions and seabirds.
At the entrance to the nature reserve, there is a small exhibit of local fauna and flora at the visitor´s center.
In Golfo San José, north of the isthmus connecting the mainland to the peninsula, is Isla de los Pájaros (Birds´ Island), a bird sanctuary off-limits to people but visible through a powerful telescope.
Puerto Pirámides, the peninsula’s only village, some 60 miles east of Puerto Madryn, is an excellent starting point for your whale-watching adventure.
Whale-watching season in the Argentine Patagonia is from May to December. The whale watching from boats lasts for about an hour, depending on how close to the shore the whales are. Once the boat gets close, the vessel’s engine is stopped and the curious whales start playing around the boat.
Right whales are friendly creatures, swimming gently under and alongside the boat, sticking their heads out of the water, and showing off their beautiful sculptured tails. Mother and calf swim together, with the small one learning and playing.
Once back ashore, the coach awaits you for the return drive to Puerto Madryn and the ship.