The natural paradise of the Valdes Peninsula is located in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Argentina. From September to March, huge colonies of sea lions, seals, penguins, walruses and even whales can be observed here in the wild.
The Valdes Peninsula is located in the Argentine province of Chubut and extends into the Atlantic Ocean only through a thin connection to the mainland. It is a refuge for numerous endangered species and has been protected since 1935. Due to its unique wildlife, it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. The natural paradise is also represented on our list of the top 10 sights of Argentina.
Table of contents
PICTURES: Valdes Peninsula
What is the best way to get to the Valdes Peninsula?
Especially for animal lovers, there is no way around the Valdes Peninsula in Argentina! On an area of about 3,600 square kilometers lies one of the most beautiful and untouched natural paradises in the world.
The landscape on Valdes is mostly barren wasteland, punctuated by a few glistening salt lakes, the largest of which is 40m below sea level. It was long considered the lowest point in South America until it had to relinquish that title to Laguna del Carbón, also located in Argentina.
This unique natural paradise can be reached from Puerto Madryn, about 80km away. At the crossing to the peninsula there is an information center of the Valdes Peninsula Integral Fauna Reserve, which reports about the fauna and flora as well as the history of the animal reserve.
There is only one small settlement on the Valdes Peninsula, Puerto Piramides, apart from some "estancias", farms where sheep are bred. There are some accommodations, stores and restaurants, but most of them are only open during the tourist season from September to March. Whale watching tours also depart from here.
Places of interest on the Valdes Peninsula
The stars of the Argentine peninsula are clearly of an animal nature. Especially marine mammals can be observed here in their natural environment and in large numbers.
Sea lions, elephant seals and the rare South American fur seals abound here on Argentina's rocky coast. Thousands of seabirds have made themselves at home on the steep cliffs of the Valdes Peninsula.
The Valdes Peninsula can be explored on a total of 400km of unpaved roads. One day is almost too little to fully enjoy this spectacular natural paradise.
Seabirds and marine mammals
- the sea lion colony at Punta Piramides
- the world's only continental walrus colony at Punta Norte
- Caleta Valdes, an imposing geological coastal formation populated by elephant seals and sea wolves
- Punta Tombo, home to South America's largest colony of Magellanic penguins
- Punta Delgada, the tip of the peninsula marked by a lighthouse, now used as a hotel
Southern right whale and orcas
In Golfo Nuevo and Golfo San José, southern right whales can be observed, a species of whale that has chosen mainly the southern hemisphere of the earth as its habitat. Especially between May and December they plow through the deep blue waters of the Atlantic to reproduce and raise their calves in the protected and warmer coastal region until they leave again for the rough open sea.
Orcas have also been spotted in the open sea from time to time. They are said to sometimes throw themselves up on shore to prey on a seal.
Land animals on Valdes
The interior of the Valdes Peninsula is populated mainly by llamas, nandus, a flightless ratite, as well as the posh pampas hares, a subspecies of guinea pig that look like a whimsical cross between a rabbit and a deer.
The skies are populated by nearly 200 different species of birds, many of which have migrated, such as the Antarctic pigeon.