Originally called Porth Madryn (Madryn being the name of the Welsh baron’s estate who captained a previous expedition), it is now a port and industrial city specializing in fishing, aluminium production and tourism. This city is by the Golfo Nuevo (New Gulf) which is formed by the Peninsula Valdes and Punta Ninfas. Many tourists come here for the beautiful coastline and the natural wonders, especially the wildlife. Direct flights to Puerto Madryn’s El Tehuelche Airport are restricted due to environmental issues, so most travellers use Trelew Airport which is an hour’s drive away and you can get great car rental in Puerto Madryn from the airport.
There are many tours offered in the city, but if you hire a car in Puerto Madryn, you will be able to see the many attractions at your leisure rather than keeping to a schedule. A car is especially recommended for exploring Peninsula Valdes which attained World Natural Heritage status in 1999. While you drive through the peninsula, you may see armadillos, Patagonian gray foxes, ostriches and maras (Patagonian rabbits) as well as other animals native to this area.
Drive to Punta Tombo, and see its impressive penguin colony. Between October and March, you can meet thousands of penguins here. Here in Punta Tombo, during the months of June to March, you can also catch a boat trip to see the Commerson’s dolphins which are black and white. Another popular stop in the peninsula is the main town of Puerto Piramides, which features activities like kite surfing and has a number of bars and restaurants close to the beach, as well as lodging options. The Southern Right Whale uses the Gulfo Nuevo as a breeding and birthing area. These whales can even be seen from the pier and shore. One recommended spot is El Doradillo Beach where you can see whales and their calves up close while you’re still on land but whale watching boats depart from Puerto Piramides. Around January, for example, you may be able to catch sea lions giving birth. There is a sea lion reserve located in Punta Loma, which is 17 km southwest of Puerto Madryn.
Many divers like the Gulfo Nuevo for its excellent clarity and lack of currents. This area is the country’s premiere diving site. Boat trips can also be arranged for going fishing in the Atlantic Ocean. The Punta Pardelas beach is popular for fishing, diving and snorkelling.
If you rent a car in Puerto Madryn, you can drive up and down the coast from Puerto Madryn and find many good seafood restaurants with the freshest catch. Their seafront locations offer great views of the waters. On the weekends, as is the case in other Argentinean cities, the bars and restaurants usually carry on till the wee hours of the morning. The city still features a number of Welsh street names but has had its settlers presence eroded over the years. For a change in pace, and a slice of Wales in South America, visit Gaiman which is southwest of Trelew, where you can still see buildings reminiscent of Wales and eat at tea houses which serve Welsh cakes. Such is the impact of tourism that not only is the number of tourists rising, but also the resident population of Puerto Madryn. Visit this wildlife gem before it gets “discovered” even further!
24 March 2019
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25 March 2019
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26 March 2019
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27 March 2019
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