Valdes Peninsula Wildlife Adventure
Puerto Madryn, Argentina
- Valdes Peninsula: Take a fascinating tour of discovery through this enormously important wildlife sanctuary, home to an impressive variety of land, sea, and air animals.
- Wildlife: Get a surprisingly close look at gigantic elephant seals that can reach 20 feet in length and weigh more than 8,000 pounds, as well as orcas, sea lions and more.
- Southern right whales: Depending on the time of year, you may be able to see these breaching whales from the Golfo Nuevo lookout point, or you can take an optional boat tour.
About this Puerto Madryn tour
Sometimes we forget that we're a minority on this planet – just one of more than 5,000 mammal species. There are twice that many bird species, and about the same number of reptiles.
Excluding insects, and unless you live on a farm or ranch, most of us can count the number of species we regularly encounter on one hand, the number we occasionally see on two. Outside of house pets and a trip to the zoo, most of us have sealed ourselves off from 99 percent of the creatures we share the world with.
We mention this to prepare you for the shock of seeing enormous colonies of elephant seals and sea lions; great flocks of birds; orcas, penguins, dolphins, whales, armadillos, foxes, the llama-like guanaco. All barking and squawking and cawing and snorting, perhaps even laughing. At us. Because we gawk. We just can't help it. The sight of them just being them – uncaged, unrestrained, roaming and soaring and breaching and floating on, over, and around the 1,400 square miles of this oddly shaped peninsula – is incredible to us.
Equally incredible are the endangered southern right whales that arrive between May and December to breed, giving this area enormous ecological importance. If the whale-watching boats are running from Puerto Piramides, you'll have the option of heading into the gulf for a look. But since these whales can reach 50 feet in length and are quite active on the surface, they're often spotted from land.
At Punta Delgada, at the southeast corner of Valdes, you'll see a colony of giant elephant seals. Adult males can reach 20 feet and a hefty 8,800 pounds, but they can actually maneuver quite nimbly on land, and underwater they're in leagues of their own: They can routinely dive a thousand feet deep, holding their breath for more than an hour. Like their whale cousins, they were almost hunted to extinction, but their numbers have rebounded thanks to restrictions on commercial whaling and sanctuaries like the one you'll explore on this tour.
Hovering over it all are 181 species of birds – a fraction of the world's 10,000+, but jaw-dropping numbers for people who pay little attention to birds unless they're ruining our cars' finish or emblazoned on team jerseys.
Well, okay. That's the world we've created for ourselves, and for 364 days of the year, it works. But you owe it to yourself to have one day like this: a day of gawking and wonderment, where you're the insignificant minority – a mildly amusing curiosity, if you're noticed at all. The day you start to think about how the other 99 percent lives.
The orcas that play possum
The pod of orcas that inhabits the waters off Valdes Peninsula, patrolling the shores for sea lions, has developed an extraordinary hunting technique seen in only one other pod anywhere in the world: They purposely beach themselves, waiting for unsuspecting sea lions to draw fatally near. Then they slip happily back into the water. So on the off chance you see one on the sand, photograph it with a zoom lens.
Please proceed pier side and look for our GoBe Representative with your name on a sign. Stayin in a hotel? Meet in the lobby/reception area of your hotel (if confirmed prior with the GoBe Crew). Your guide will be holding a sign with your name on it.
Please bring a boxed lunch and beverages with you. Transportation is not of the same standard as in the larger cities. Vehicles will not be air conditioned and the roads may be rough and dusty.
Amount of walking is at your leisure. To fully experience this tour involves approximately 1 mile of walking over hiking trails, that are not wheelchair accessible.
Private Tour, Full Day, Wilderness/Wildlife
English, French, German, Spanish
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.
Suitable for all ages.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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