Whales & Penguins, Bikes & Beaches on Peninsula Valdes, Argentine Patagonia
Landing in the region of Peninsula Valdes on the east coast of Patagonia is like going back in time, millions of years ago when dinosaurs roamed the planet. In fact, visitors can even visit the dinosaur museum in Trelew to add an extra educational element to a trip. You’ll also find many ancient fossils during your stay along the cliffs and through deep canyons which adds to the fascination of this region.
From Trelew Airport, driving though huge open plains and scrub land, under big blue skies and desert-like temperatures at 35 degrees, we couldn’t quite believe we were going to be seeing penguins here!
From the airport to the coast, we spotted “road-runner-birds, red-headed turkey vultures and vicuna and so the journey and wildlife experience began making our way to Estancia El Pedral.
In just under 3 hours we arrived at the house and were welcomed by the wonderful and kind Silvina, owner of the property. Silvina looked after us, as if we were part of her family. She regaled stories about the histry of the region, the house and her heritage. She enlightened us with information about the Welsh influences in eastern Patagonia and how their presence is still very strong today.
Even Rocky the dog, joined our family, leading us on every walk and adventure we did, to the point where Charlie shed a few tears as they said their farewells. Such was the happy experience we had here.
Our days were spent exploring the ancient canyons covered in oyster fossils the size of my hand (or bigger), walks and bike rides along the vast stretch of beach and we even swam in the sea with a visiting sea lion (it was freezing!). One afternoon, Eugenia our guide, took us to see the penguin colony where the chicks had hatched. It was quite an extraordinary sight and experience to get up close to these funny birds and share it with the children. Live coverage of Happy Feet! forget Walt Disney, it was like being on one of David Attenborough’s documentaries. Another day, we walked to the lighthouse and scrambled down the cliffs to see the elephant seals.
To compliment the wildlife experience, we had plenty of time to enjoy the house, swim in the pool, play table tennis, let the children run free, switch off and contemplate the experience and the beauty around us. Much of the happy memories are thanks to the warmth and hospitality of Silvina and her team.
If you come here in Sep & Oct, you’ll have the opportunity to see all the wildlife including the southern-right whales. During most of the other months of the year, you can visit penguins, sea lions, elephant seals, dolphins and killer whales.
All the activities are on foot, by land-rover, mountain-bike or boat.