Nature and Wildlife: The Peninsula Valdes
Undeniably one of the best locations in the world to get up close and personal with marine life
Certainly one of the wildlife highlights of Argentina, the Peninsula Valdes offers the opportunity to see some of natures largest marine animals in their natural environment. Probably the largest draw cards are the Southern Right Whales that come to take shelter in the natural bays on either side of the peninsula between June and November. There is, however, plenty more to see with a whole host of other animals such as elephant seals, Magellenic penguins and many more regularly seen.
Undoubtedly one of the highlights of any trip to Argentina, the Peninsula Valdes and its neighbouring town, Puerto Madryn, offer some of the best sea life and wildlife of anywhere in the world.
The Peninsula Valdes is a fairly unique formation along the Atlantic coast of Argentina that has formed two natural inlets that provide shelter for wildlife of all kinds. In particular, the Southern Right Whales use the natural harbours as a resting and breeding ground, away from the raging Atlantic, as they migrate south to their Antarctic feeding grounds.
Along with the Southern right, there is a whole host of other wildlife, both big and small that are of interest in the Valdes Peninsula, in particular such indigenous species as the rhea (a relative of the African ostrich), the guanaco (related to the llama), the mare (has the appearance of a large hare), killer whales, elephant seals and Magellenic penguins, to name but a few.
For quite a few, it is also the orcas that provide the “wildlife” reason to come. It has been found that the pod that patrols the shores of the Valdes Peninsula, in search of sea lion, is one of only two in the world that have learned how to purposefully beach themselves in order to hunt. As many have seen on BBC documentaries, these famous orcas provide a very rare wildlife opportunity in themselves.
Timing is one of the key elements in planning a wildlife trip to Argentina's Peninsula Valdes area, in order to coincide with all of the “big draws” being there and being active. As a rule of thumb, any time at the back end of the year is a good time to go, with the peak months being from September through until the end of November.
Click here to view some video footage of the area.