Valdes Peninsula

Overview

Introduction

The Valdes Peninsula, 665 mi/1,070 km southwest of Buenos Aires, Argentina, is a marine-life preserve for sea elephants, sea lions, maras (huge rabbits), Magellanic penguins (best seen October-April on Punta Tombo), rheas (ostrichlike birds) and other animals, as well as whales and migratory birds.

The peninsula is set between Viedma and the nearby resort of Puerto Madryn, which makes a comfortable base for exploring the area.

There is an assortment of small hotels and apartments for rent in Puerto Piramides, the only embarcation point for whale-watching expeditions from the peninsula, and only a smattering of places to eat. Walking around the coast, however, and listening to the whales expelling air is one of the world's great free activities. Public transport does reach this area.

Accommodations are available on the Valdes Peninsula at Faro Punta Delgada (http://www.puntadelgada.com), a base for marine research that offers meals, lectures, hikes and horseback riding.

While you're in the area, visit the charming Welsh-influenced town of Trelew for a proper afternoon tea. From Trelew, the Welsh town of Gaiman makes a nice day trip. Settled in the 1870s, the town is one of the few places in the world where the Welsh language is still spoken (outside of Wales), and the town retains other elements of its heritage in teahouses and a museum.

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