Península Valdés is located in the Northeast
of the province of Chubut. It is a geographical feature
of a remarkable shape, distinguishible on any map of
Patagonia, of Argentina or even South America. Golfo
Nuevo and San José grant it the feeling of an
island, which favours the presence of extraordinary
wild fauna shows. Land and marine mammals as well as
birds turn this peninsula into an essential place for
nature preservation and tourism.
It has a surface area of approximately 4,000 square
kilometres. Its 110 kilometres of coastline stretch
along the open sea, while its internal coasts, which
face the gulfs, total around 150 kilometres. There is
only one permanent inhabited centre, which is Puerto
Pirámide. This small tourist village, built along
the coast of Golfo Nuevo, is the centre of activities
related to watching the Southern right whales by boat.
The remaining surface is a sort of mosaic of natural
reserves and private lands. The entire region is considered
to be a protected area by the Province of Chubut. In
this way, with limited public access throughout the
year, the colonies of marine birds and mammals are sheltered.
Natural Resources and Reserves
The Carlos Ameghino isthmus is the "entrance gate"
to Península Valdés. It is the obligatory
entry way for every person that comes into the protected
area. From the visitors centre on this narrow isthmus
of 7 kilometers of width, the geography of the peninsula,
the coastline of Golfo Nuevo and San José, and
the unique shape of the Island of the Birds can be observed.
The village of Puerto Pirámide is the only urban
settlement and gastronomy and lodging centre from which
expeditions leave to enjoy whale watching. From June
to December, whale watching is performed from the boats.
There is a reproduction colony of one-hair fur seals,
which is located under a cliff and can be seen from
a viewpoint. At approximately 35 kilometres due Southeast
are Salinas Grande and Chica. The coast of Punta Delgada
is made up of cliffs with large elephant seal populations
that can be seen both in mating as well as in molting
season. These seals are positioned along the external
coast up Punta Norte. In this sector, the steppe has
a low vegetation, mainly grass, in which choiques (Darwin´s
rheas), maras (Patagonian hares) and guanacos are often
| Fur seal colony at Punta Pirámide
The coastal path next to the external coast of Península
Valdés, facing the Atlantic Ocean, shows a remarkable
change in vegetation: it grows higher and has more bushes
in the Northern area. In the province´s reserve
of Punta Cantor, there is a post of elephant seals with
an embankment to watch the animals on the beach. The reserve
has a permanent park ranger and premises for tourists
(bathroom fittings and bar / pantry). From the reserve,
the mouth of Caleta Valdés can be seen towards
the North. You can get there by walking towards a new
viewpoint located over the mouth of La Caleta. At only
two kilometres due North, a small colony of Magellanic
penguins can be observed (between September and March,
approximately). Along the path, Caleta Valdés and
its islands can be seen with large populations of land
and marine birds and mammals.
Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) nest in
many places along the peninsula coast. They live in several
colonies in the area surrounding Punta Cantor and throughout
the Caleta Valdés, with their most important site
on the first island. Another important colony is located
at Golfo San Matías, a few kilometres from Punta
Punta Norte is the best known reserve of the peninsula.
It has a reproductive post of one-hair fur seals (Otaria
flavescens) and elephant seals (Mirounga leonina). Both
Caleta Valdés and Punta Norte are locations where
whale sighting is highly probable from October to April,
given the presence of fur seal and sea elephant calves.
At that time of the year, the ideal visit should be scheduled
to coincide with the high tide of the day, since there
is a greater likelihood of seeing killer whales. On the
way back to Puerto Pirámide from Punta Norte, the
path through the steppe is made up of bushes and grasses
and home to several small guanaco herds.
| Punta Norte, travellers next to marine wolves