A few days ago we left the big city of Buenos Aires and headed to the town of Puerto Madryn. Puerto Madryn is a beautiful seaside town located only a stones throw from the Peninsula Valdés and is also located right in the middle of one of the largest whale breeding bays in the world. This is a place where you can come watch whales swimming with their young ones meters from the shore. If you’re a whale lover, this should be your number one bucket list destination…. But Puerto Madryn has so much more to offer, you can see the largest seal in the world- the Elephant Seal. Elephant Seals grow as large as 4000kg and as long as 4m! Besides these two giant beasts, Puerto Madryn also offers the chance to see Penguins, Orcas, and even swim with Sea Lions.
As an animal lover, this wild life mecca didn’t disappoint. We booked a tour which was a full day out to the Peninsula Valdes where we first enjoyed some whale watching, we were lucky enough to catch a mother with her baby who was born only a few months earlier. We then headed off to a beach where the Elephant Seals mate and hang on the beach waiting to shed their fur for another few months in the ocean. These guys were amazing to see (although they don’t move much) we spent a long time watching them. After that we went to Bailey’s favourite place, the Penguins! We got the opportunity to get within 1m of these beautiful animals and see them nurturing their nests (and some just struggling to stand with the extreme winds.) It was unfortunate that there were no babies hatched yet, but it was a good experience nonetheless. We also saw Llamas, Rheas (similar to Emus), and an Armadillo.
Unluckily, with the bad winds we where unable to swim with the Sea Lions. From what we heard from other travellers it was an incredible expierience. Sea Lions are described as the dogs of the sea – being so playful and curious it’s something we are planning to do in Peru (although they are said to be the friendlier in Puerto Madryn.) So, if your ever in the area this would be my number one thing to do, seeing animals is one thing but being able to interact with them is a whole different experience.
We stayed at a hostel called La Tosca, it’s a well looked after hostel with great staff and two kitchens (perfect for the travellers on a budget as this area of South America is really expensive in comparison to the rest.) The hostel set us back 250 ARS which is about $24 AUD per night per person, tours start at 1200 ARS for a full day, swimming with the Sea Lions will set you back 1800 ARS, food at the supermarket is they way to go for meals as it is comparable to Australian prices (a meal at a restaurant will cost about 200-350 ARS), and taxis are not required in this town as most amenities are within walking distance.
The South of this continent has already offered so much and tomorrow we start our journey to the Torres del Paine, it’s known as one of the highlights of this beautiful region and I can’t wait to explore it and enjoy the crisp clean air.