Adventure Travel in Peninsula Valdes
This idyliic UNESCO World Heritage site in the Pacific Ocean is one of the only places in the world to see the Southern Right Whale, which typically arrives in mid May and stays until the start of December, when it heads for Antarctica. Then there are the Magellanic penguin colonies, with as many as 2.5 million during high season in a particular spot on the Peninsula. This vast, protected land in Argentina stretches some 1,400 square miles and as such is best visited by car and in fact, some parts are impossible to visit by any other means.
On this page find out more about the adventure activities on offer here, as well as how to get there are where to stay.
Things to do in Peninsula Valdes
Located on the coast of southern Argentina, Peninsula Valdes is a haven for some of the seas biggest mammals including Southern Right Whales, Orcas and Elephant seals. To see the best that Valdes has to offer, we recommend spending 5 or so days in the lovely seaside town of Puerto Piramides, which is within the nature reserve and on the Peninsula itself. Explore Valdes' coves and beaches by sea kayaking over 1-3 days, cycling its sand dunes and heading out in a small boat to get within a few metres of a giant whale and its calf. From there take a couple of days to drive around the Peninsula and walk amongst a Magellanic penguin colony and see a beach full of basking Elphant seals.
Kayaking - expect to get up close to groups of inquisitve seals whilst kayaking by a sea lion colony in Golfo Nuevo and even with in 50 metres of a Southern Right Whale mother and baby, which is an altogether awe inspiring experience. see trips
Mountain biking - see the best of the Peninsula, mountain biking through spectacular sand dunes, following the trail of a herd of guanacos or exploring fossils from millions of years ago
Whale watching - lasting a couple of hours at a time, whale watching trips depart from Puerto Piramides and take you out into the bay and beyond to see Southern Right Whales (and Orca whales at certain times of year) with their babies.
Self-drive - If you have a couple of days to spare, one of the best ways to explore the Peninsula is by renting a car and driving from Puerto Piramides, up to Punta Norte and along the coast to Caleta Valdes. Punta Delgada is home to a huge Elephant seal colony on the privately owned beach. Renting a car has it's pros and cons, find out more under Car Hire.
Kayaking in Peninsula Valdes
Kayak for 3 days amongst orca whales, sea lions and penguins in Peninsula Valdes with your expert guide in small groups. You'll camp under the stars for 2 nights, enjoy ...
Multi Activity trips
Enjoy leisurely walks and kayak within the Peninsula Valdes Nature Reserve. You'll paddle up to sea lion colonies and spot killer whales whilst enjoying the rocky scenery around you. Accommodation ...
Getting to Peninsula Valdes
Peninsula Valdes isn't necessarily one of the most accessible places in Argentina and public transport is irregular. However, the nearest airport to the Peninsula is the recently renovated Trelew airport (about 2 hours away), which has regular flights from Buenos Aires taking just under two hours. Puerto Madryn airport is some 97 kilometres from the Peninsula and this has some departures to and from Buenos Aires as well.
From Trelew the Peninsula is x miles away, and can be reached by bus via Puerto Madryn, or car, which can be hired at the airport.
From Puerto Madryn there is a bus with Mar y Valle to Puerto Piramides which departs at 9:45 on Saturdays and 16:40 on weekdays. Please note that car rental companies are closed on Saturdays and Sundays with the exception of a couple that open on Saturday mornings for a couple of hours.
Find out more about getting to Peninsula Valdes >>
Self-driving allows you to cover a lot of ground in a short space of time, visiting some of the top spots for wildlife watching on the peninsula. You'll also see lots of guanacos whilst driving and maybe even a couple of armadillos if you're lucky.
Driving on the Peninsula, as in many parts of Patagonia requires driving on roads which are not properly paved, making driving around the Peninsula Valdes more complicated than in other parts of Argentina. The roads on the peninsula are covered in 'ripio' or gravel, which means that the speed limit is 60 kilometres throughout the Peninsula because driving too fast runs the risk of large rocks bouncing up and cracking the windscreen. Although this is very unlikely, it is something to bear in mind when hiring a car.
We recommend hiring a 4x4 with Hertz, who have an office at Trelew airport as well as Puerto Madryn. Prices tend to range from x to x but for current rates and availability feel free to get in touch.
Where to stay
When it comes to planning your accommodation there are two options, either stay in the bigger, industrial city of Puerto Madryn and take day trips to the Peninsula, or stay in the smaller, seaside town of Puerto Piramides within the Peninsula Reserve itself.
One of the most enjoyable and peaceful places to stay in Puerto Piramides is Eco Nomade, an eco-friendly hotel which although simple and modern in style, is a really welcoming place run by Laura and Lala, with homemade yoghurts, cookies and cakes for breakfast.
Refugio de los angeles is a more basic option, with self-catered accommodation options amongst the sand dunes.
If you're looking for some luxury during your time on the Peninsula, the fantastic position of Las Restingas on the beach is the best location in Puerto Piramides.
Hotels in Madryn: Piren, Hotel Peninsula Valdes, xx
When to go
Peninsula Valdes, unlike other parts of Patagonia can be visited throughout the season although the best time of year to visit does depend largely on the type of fauna you'd like to see whilst you're there: