Day 9 (October 28, 2019)   Peninsula Valdes

Before   

  We’re allocated in Puerto Piramides, in the same beach where the whale watching boat leave, so we can do that activity whenever we want, but we’ve already booked the first one at 10 AM just in case, following the recommendations from the hotel as it seems these boats use to fill up very quick.

   On another hand, the main purpose for this day is to drive around Peninsula Valdes to enjoy the fauna that is concentrated in this area.

   In the afternoon we would drive to Trelew to deliver the car and spend the night. The hotel is close to the Paleontological Museum to play our options to visit it this evening.

Map of Península Valdes

   The spots marked at map are:

0- Puerto Piramides
1- Trelew
2- Interpretation Center Istmo Ameghino
3- Punta Pardelas
4- Caleta Valdes
5- Punta Norte
6- Estancia San Lorenzo

After

   At 9 AM we’ve already checked out at hotel and go to Hydro Sport, where we have the whale navigation booked. There, they give us the boarding passes for 10 AM and, when commenting it is not allowed to go to Punta Pardelas by car now, they give us the advice to go to a closer viewpoint: La Lobería. Since they tell us we have time for it, I drive to there and have our first contact with the gravel roads of this peninsula. We stop in a lookout for whales, where we can see none, then we go to the view point for sea lions and that’s full of them.

La loberia view pointGuanacos from view pointLa loberia view point
   We come back to Hydro Sports and arrive just on time for the security speech at 9:45 AM as planned. After that we put on life jackets and walk down to the beach to board in their boat. It’s warm but we were advised to keep our jackets on and, when the boat starts sailing, we’re grateful for it since the air is pretty cold.
Life jacket for whale watching tourOur boat for the whale watching tour
   First stop is by “La Lobería”, where we can have a closer look of the same sea lions we’ve just seen from far. After this, they sail further from the coast looking for whales. It seems they cannot find them.
Lobos marinos
   They know about a whale and its young are around this area and they look for them until they finally find them. The first we can see from a whale is the expected view of the tail.
Sailing looking for whalesWhale's tail
   We’re following these two whales for a while but more of them appear in the distance. One of these makes a couple of jumps that we don’t manage to take on cameraa.

Whale at Peninsula Valdes

   We reach the time to come back where the activity is at its top, with several whales in different points. We’ve got two hours in total and it’s past 12 PM when we start our road trip through the peninsula.
Puerto PiramidesPuerto Piramides
   Just after taking the road to Punta Norte is where the tarmac ends. Driving on gravel is slow but it is going through an endless straight where the only live we can see is groups of guanacos here and there, some sheep and a couple of cars fighting with their punctured tyres.

Gravel road at Peninsula Valdes
Guanacos at Peninsula Valdes
   It’s after a bit more than one hour when we reach the sign for the road to Estancia San Lorenzo. It’s 6 kms through a road that makes good the gravel one we’ve just left. We arrive just on time for the tour to the penguin area at 2 PM but, since they tell us kitchen closes at 3 PM and, if we join this tour, we won’t be able to get our lunch there, we’re going for our meals first and will join the tour at 3:30 PM.

Entrance to Estancia San Lorenzo
Estancia San Lorenzo
   Visit to penguin area is 45 US$ each and between the options for lunch we take the “field menu”, which is roasted lamb and salad. We pay 110€ in cash in total since cannot be paid by card.
Dinning hall at Estancia San LorenzoOur car for the penguins tour
   We’re thinking about how expensive this tour is until the SUV car reaches the penguin area and have the first contact to it. Then we forget about it. Every bush here has a penguin below hatching eggs and a standing one guarding. There are lots of them here and are far from the sea.
Penguin colony at Estancia San LorenzoPenguin colony at Estancia San Lorenzo
   We walk following a ring circuit of around 700 meters. It’s like if we were tourist in a city of penguins that keep with their daily routine ignoring us. We can see the nests, the eggs and the penguins passing by close to us with their funny walking.

Penguins at the beach

   It’s a fantastic experience. By the half of the itinerary we’re reaching the beach, with penguins going and coming. This is a colony of Magellan penguins.
Penguin colony at Estancia San LorenzoPenguin colony at Estancia San Lorenzo
   We spend two hours on this visit, so we’re back at our car by 5:30 PM. There is no time for more and we start what is expected to be a long drive to Trelew. We were told it was going to be 4 hours until the city, but I’m getting used to the main gravel road and make that part in just one hour. After one hour and a half more on the road to Trelew we reach the city. There I call the number for the car rent who tell me that they’re going to go directly to our hotel for the delivery of the car. This makes our day easier since it’s already dark when we’re checking in at hotel.
Road to Trelew
   We have a short night in front of us since we’ve got the taxi for the airport at 5:30 AM.