Valdes Peninsula

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The Valdes Peninsula  is a peninsula into the Atlantic Ocean in the Biedma Department of north-east Chubut Province, Argentina.

The peninsula is formed by two gulfs: the San Jose gulf and the Nuevo gulf. In the heart of the San Jose gulf is located the island of Los Pajaros, which houses all the species of southern birds. At low tide you can reach the island by walking on the bed of the uncovered beach and with the presence of algae. The New Gulf is, on the other hand, a special place for diving, due to its deep and calm waters. In the center of this gulf is the city of Puerto Madryn, the port and tourist center of the province.

The Peninsula Valdes consists mainly of barren landscape and some smaller salt lakes, the largest of which forms the deepest point of the peninsula at 35 meters below sea level. Commercial salt mining was operated from 1901-1920 with the help of Ferrocarril de Peninsula Valdes.
The interior of the peninsula is a dry and hot steppe landscape with knee-high shrubs and scrawny grass clumps burnt by the sun. Despite the climate, it is populated by numerous animals, such as the Nandu (South American ostrich bird), the Guanaco (relatives of the lamas), the Maras and the Armadillo.
There are several colonies of Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) on the coasts, which are not as big as those in Punta Tombo, but still very interesting for the animal lover , it is an important nature reserve which was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999.

Until a few years ago, the Argentine army maintained several bases on the peninsula. Even today there are remains of a runway at Punta Norte. The reason was partly the military conflict over the Falkland Islands.The only inhabited place on the peninsula is the village Puerto Piramides.

Access : Coordinates:-42.5, -64 / To reach the Peninsula you have to travel 80 km. from Puerto Madryn. In the access to the Pendes Valdes Integral Wildlife Reserve, on the Ameghino Isthmus.
It is possible to reach Puerto Piramides by means of the direct transport service offered in Puerto Madryn, from Tuesday to Sunday with departure at 9:55 and return at 18 hours. You can also access by car on National Route No. 3 to the junction with Provincial Route No. 2 and from there directly to the seaside resort.
There are buses going to Puerto Piramides or book a tour in Puerto Madryn. / From city of Puerto Madryn there are long distance bus connections to Buenos Aires, Mar del Plata, Rio Gallegos and other destinations.
By plane : The Nearest airport is , Puerto Madryns Airport is located 10 minutes from downtown. Currently there are three flights per week from Buenos Aires on Andes Airlines. Aerolineas Argentinas flies to Trelew.

Highlights :

  •  Isthmus Visitor Center Carlos Ameghino , Located 22 kilometers from the entrance, it is the gateway to Peninsula Valdes, a must to get inside the attractions offered by the area, suggestions of places to visit, schedules, quantity of fauna, state of the roads and the port. It also has a self-guided sample where you will find the different aspects that make up the Valdes Peninsula.
  • Puerto Piramides : From here the boats that make whale sightings depart, It is called that because it is in a bay surrounded by pyramid-shaped cliffs ,there is some  accommodations, restaurants and some businesses. Local establishments operate seasonally from September to March.
  • Loberia de Punta Piramide: There are sea lions of in the erea between December and March where spent the  breeding season.
  • Punta Pyramids : It is only 5 km from Puerto Piramides (10min by car). Take the exit road of the town and then you will see a detour on the left on a dirt road. Here you will find a series of viewpoints to the bay and a small colony of sea lions.
  • Pardelas Point: The best point to go see the whales from land.Take the exit road of the town until you reach the turnoff that says “Punta del Este or Punta Norte”. Take this road and 12 km later you will find the turnoff on the right hand side to Punta Pardelas (20 km-30min in total from Punta Piramides).Punta Pardelas: It is an ideal beach for fishing, snorkelling and diving , you can get there by trekking along the cliffs from Puerto Piramides.
  • Tombo Point-Punta Tombo : Visitors can walk some walkways and see the largest colony of Magellanic penguins in the world. These birds arrive annually to this place to nest, mate, have their young and mutate and then undertake the return trip to the northeast of South America and return the following year.Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. , Cost: AR $ 130 per person.September to April. the penguin colony is 110km south of Trelew (approx. 1h 45min), about 260km from Puerto Piramides (approx. 3h30min in total). Take National Route 3 south. After about 50km of Trelew, take Provincial Route 75 on the left and continuefor about 20 km until you take Provincial Route 1 on the right. Then follow the indications to the reservation (in the end there are about 24km unpaved until the park entrance).
  • Caleta Valdes: It is a striking geographical accident where  live, for seasons, sea elephants and sea lions. Currently, also Magellanic penguins.
  • Punta Delgada: It is located at the end of the Peninsula. There is an old lighthouse that today functions as a hotel
  • Punta Norte- North Point : Punta Norte is a point located in the San Matias Gulf northeast of the Valdes peninsula. Here you can find sea lions (Otaria flavescens), sea elephants (Mirounga leonina), Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus), escuas (Catharacta antarctica) and killer whales (Orcinus orca) .1 2 It is located 78 km from Puerto Piramides .Here is the Punta Norte lighthouse, an uninhabited lighthouse of the Argentine Navy, delivered to the service on June 6, 1917.
  • Nature Reserve of the Birds Island : Near Puerto Piramides is the Bird Island Reserve created in 1967 with the objective of protecting the bird species that live in the Valdes Peninsula. The island is 800 meters from the coast in the San Jose Gulf.
  • Caleta Valdes – Punta Cantor : a geographical formation of extraordinary beauty, in it you will find a colony of Magellanic Penguins that from this end of September until the middle of April come to this place to reproduce. In the reserve located on the southern tip of the Caleta (Punta Cantor) approx. 75 kilometers from Puerto Piramides, by gravel road

Entrance fees : For non residents of Argentina the entrance fee is ARG$330. Argentine residents pay ARG$180, children (11-16 years) pay half the price payment, only cash
Entrance fee for vehicles affected to the transport of tourists. Up to 5 seats ARG$ 80.00 , From 6 to 20 places ARG$ 100.00 , More than 20 seats ARG$ 120.00

Operation Hours : recommended to start your visit to the Protected Area. Its opening hours are from 08:00 to 20:00

Info : The Valdés Peninsula Visitor Center has an educational sample of the flora, fauna and history of the place. Microcine, public bathrooms, shop with sale of regional items and drinks.

Activities : sightseeing / wildlife spotting / photo opportunities- photography trips / Valdes Peninsula Excursions / horseback trek / mountain biking / sandboarding / kayaking / Trips through Patagonia / Whale Watching in Puerto Piramides / Enjoy the sun and the beaches in Pyramids / boat tours

Go next : Puerto Madryn / Tierra del Fuego / Los Glaciares National Park and the famous Perito Moreno Glacier / the Iguazu Falls / the End of the World in Ushuaia

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