Visiting Península Valdés is one of the activities you have to do if you are in Puerto Madryn. In the peninsula, there is a great variety of flora and fauna, besides being known worldwide by the departure point of boats to see the southern right whale.
Getting to Península Valdés from Puerto Madryn
From Puerto Madryn there are three options to visit Península Valdés:
- By car or rental: about 100 km from the city center to Puerto Pirámides, where the boats depart for whale watching from June to December. The route is fully paved to Puerto Pirámides and is in very good condition.
Check here if you want to rent a car in Puerto Madryn.
- Hiring an excursion with an agency from Puerto Madryn: there are many agencies that make the excursion to the peninsula, that includes the round trip transfer to Puerto Madryn.
Take a look of these tours in Península Valdés and book:
- By public transport: the frequency of buses from Puerto Madryn to Puerto Pirámides is very low. The company in charge of the journey is Mar y Valle, which departs from the Puerto Madryn Bus Terminal. Depending on the time of year, the frequency may vary from one to five daily services. The disadvantage of taking public transportation is that it only reaches Puerto Pirámides, but not the interior of the peninsula.
What to see in Península Valdés?
Although the best known is the little town Puerto Pirámides, where boats depart to watch whales out to sea, there are many places to visit in Península Valdés.
1) Carlos Ameghino Isthmus Visitor Center
The visitor center is the first place you find when you enter the Valdés Peninsula Protected Area. This is a great starting point to find out about the places to visit within Península Valdés, the state of the roads and the port. It is sort of a Tourist Office but in addition, it has an exhibition on the flora and fauna of the peninsula.
2) Puerto Pirámides
The only small village within Península Valdés, where whale-watching boats depart from June to December. If you want to stay within the peninsula, is the best place to sleep. In addition, Puerto Pirámides has restaurants and refueling stations. In the summer season, you can enjoy the beach of the place.
Check here where to sleep in Puerto Pirámides.
Take a look of these tours in Península Valdés and book:
3) Punta Pirámide
Just 2 km from Puerto Pirámides, there is an important colony of sea lions. From the top of the cliff, sea lions can be seen and also whales during the season. It is a place to stop the car for about 10 minutes and contemplate the landscape and the marine fauna.
4) Caleta Valdés
Located on the central coast of Península Valdés and 75 km by gravel road from Puerto Pirámides, Caleta Valdés is the perfect place to watch penguins, from October to mid-April, and elephant seals.
The place has enabled footpaths to contemplate the sea and the fauna, toilets, a parador to eat something and the ranger permanent station.
5) Punta Norte
In the extreme north of Península Valdés and 80 km from Puerto Pirámides on a gravel road, you can see sea lions, elephant seals and it is the perfect place to spot killer whales, mainly during the months of March and April, when they strand to feed the young.
The place has enabled footpaths to contemplate the sea and the fauna, toilets and the ranger permanent station.
6) Birds Island (Isla de los Pájaros)
Situated about 5 km from the Visitors Center along a gravel road, Bird Island has a large number of bird species that can be seen in the distance. In addition, from a historical point of view, there is a replica of the chapel of Fort San José, an old Spanish settlement in the area.
7) Punta Delgada
Located in the extreme south of the Peninsula and about 70 km along a gravel road from Puerto Pirámides, in Punta Delgada you can see a colony of elephant seals.
The place has a cafeteria and toilets.
Marine fauna watching season in Península Valdés
- Whales: June to December
- Penguins: from October to May
- Sea Lions: October to March
- Elephant Seals: September to March
- Orcas: October to April
Recommendations for travelling around Península Valdés by car
If you are going to visit Península Valdés by car, you have to consider that all the internal roads, once you pass Puerto Piramides, are made of gravel, without service stations and with an extremely arid landscape, practically without vegetation and with a lot of dust in suspension. To refuel, the last place is Puerto Pirámides.
The maximum speed allowed is 60 km/h. You have to drive with extreme caution, check the pressure of the tires before leaving and be attentive to the crossing of animals on gravel roads, such as guanacos.
Also, try to avoid driving at night.
The perfect way to visit Península Valdés by car in one day
The tides are the main factor to take into account when deciding whether to start traveling the peninsula from the south to the north or vice versa. In Punta Norte, if it is killer whale season, it is necessary to arrive at high tide to see them.
Chek the times of the tides in the Península Valdés Reserve webpage.
The best journey of a full day may be as follows:
- Stage 1 – Puerto Madryn to Puerto Pirámides: 100 km by paved road. Before arriving at Puerto Pirámides you will visit the Carlos Ameghino Isthmus Visitors Center. Punta Pirámide is located 2 km from Puerto Pirámides on a gravel road.
- Stage 2 – Puerto Pirámides to Punta Delgada: 70 km of gravel road through the interior of the peninsula.
- Stage 3 – Punta Delgada to Caleta Valdés: 30 km of gravel road almost bordering the sea.
- Stage 4 – Caleta Valdés to Punta Norte: 50 km of gravel road almost bordering the sea.
- Stage 5 – Punta Norte to Birds Island: there are 100 km in total, within which there are about 25 kilometers paved, from Puerto Pirámides to the detour to Birds Island, and the rest of gravel.
- Stage 6 – Isla de los Pájaros to Puerto Madryn: road back to Puerto Madryn, same route as the outward, about 100 km fully paved.
Admission fees to the Protected Natural Area of Península Valdés
The entrance fee to the Península Valdés Protected Natural Area, whose prices are detailed below (from September 1st, 2019):
- Persons over 12 years of age: AR$ 850 foreign residents, AR$ 430 Argentina residents, AR$ 130 residents in the province of Chubut.
- Children from 6 to 11 years old: AR$ 430 foreign residents, AR$ 220 Argentina residents, AR$ 130 residents in the province of Chubut.
- Children from 0 to 5 years old: free of charge.
- Retirees and Pensioners over 60 years of age: AR$ 850 foreign resident, AR$ 220 Argentina residents , AR$ 130 residents in the province of Chubut.
Rental cars also have to pay an access fee depending on the passenger capacity of the car.
Taking into account the constant increase in prices in Argentina as a result of high inflation, these prices may increase every two or three months. Updated prices can be checked on the official Península Valdés website (in Spanish).
Opening hours of the tourist points in Peninsula Valdés
The operating hours of the operating units are from 8 am to 8 pm.