When we were planning our trip to Argentina, I was sure that Peninsula Valdés is one of the must sees. Based on the information we gathered and read it was on my private list of ‘top 3 places to see in Argentina’. What’s more, if I were to tell someone going to Argentina for a short stay what to see, I’ll tell them to go to Iguazu (most of all), to the glaciers and to Valdés Peninsula. I’m not so sure anymore. Not because I don’t like it here but because many things are not clear.
People, food, culture, sights… There’s plenty of charm and wonder in travelling. All these aspects are very important but for me – especially after we landed in South America – nature is the most important. It made us speechless on this trip on numerous occasions, often the way nothing ever did before. It was the same with Peninsula Valdés. First on paper, since I laid my hands of quite a few pictures and albums about it before we came here. Believe me, these were stunning. No wonder since it’s one of the most important nature reserves in Argentina which was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1999. Here, you can see whales, elephant seals, seals and dolphins. There’s only one problem – you won’t see them just any time of year. We arrive in the beginning of December and worry if we will be able to see whales and dolphins before they relocate. Te possibility is low and after asking in a few places we learn that the boats aren’t sailing anymore. Despite that, we still want to drive to the peninsula and see all the things that looked so amazing on pictures.
There’s roughly 200 km drive ahead of us. The road is sandy and therefore the speed we’re driving at is 60-70 kph (we’re driving a sedan, a 4×4 would drive much faster). We arrive at the Tourist Information. It’s good to check it out since they have maps of the peninsula with roads and animals worth seeing all marked. Elephant seals and sea lions rule; there’s just one place with dolphins and whales. We ask the lady, but she too says that the animals may have already left. However, we still want to give it a try.
There’s about 40 thousand sea lions living in the area. Every year 10 thousand of these animals are born here. You can admire them lying on the coast. They seem like the laziest animals in the world who have no interest in moving whatsoever and do it only occasionally. Most of the beach is protected area. You cannot enter it and take pictures. But you can watch the animals from designated ‘hideouts’ or platforms. This way you won’t disturb their lazy existence.
We get a bit bored after seeing three spots where sea lions rule, even though the animals look quite impressive. We admire the blue colour of the waters of the bay, sailing ships and the sun that brightens the surface of the water.
The best thing you can do is spending a whole day visiting the peninsula. It’s a perfect place to relax close to nature. Theoretically, after seeing one place you get the general idea about how will the next one look but it’s still great to watch it not being in a hurry. We thought it won’t take us that long and that Kuba will get the chance to eat some seafood in a restaurant where he nibbled on mine the day before. It turned out we were late for lunch and almost late for Amelia’s dinner. And the seafood? – Kuba is still rubbing my nose in it.
So – be sure to come here, but only if you’re sure the animals you want to see will be present at the time of your visit. We gave it a shot since we knew we won’t be able to come here some other time. We’ve already seen whales up close before and wanted to do so once again. Maybe we’ll do it on some other continent.