The Valdes Peninsula has the reputation as being one of the best places to see marine mammals in the world. It is also an amazing whale watching destination – in the second half of the year – but there were no whales around when we visited.
We arrived at the gate house to the peninsula to be told that, due to bad weather, all the roads were closed apart from the main paved road to Puerto Piramides, the only town in the reserve. This was a slight setback to our plans but we decided to spend the night in the town and see what the next day would bring.
Unfortunately the next day the weather was not significantly improved and after inquiring at the tourist office we were told the roads would be closed for the whole day. The town was incredibly quiet the poor weather seemingly keeping everyone in doors. This didn’t bother a pair of comorants who spent the day walking from one end of the beach to the other.
Late afternoon, once the rain had subsided, we did manage to find one short road to a sea lion colony that had been re-opened which gave us something to do but mostly we spent the day relaxing and reading with crossed fingers that the roads would reopen the next day.
The following day we woke up to bright sunshine and the great news that the roads were open. We immediately set out down the wet and sandy roads to visit the key wildlife viewing spots on the peninsula.
The road was drying out well and we made good time despite the odd slide or two in the wet sand. We had got the best wildlife viewing times for each of the sites from the very helpful lady at the tourist information office in Puerto Piramides, so our first destination was to the elephant seal colony at Caleta Valdes.
Just before we got there we stopped off at a small Magellanic Penguin colony. This was pretty small and most of the penguins, which were fenced off, were some way away down a steep slope.
The elephant seal colony could only be seen from an overlook on the cliffs above and there were only a small number of the seals in evidence so it was pretty disappointing for us.
After checking this out we drove towards the far North tip of the island at Punta Norte which is world famous for the high tide Orca attacks on the sea lions living there.
On arriving we were delighted to see a little armadillo running around the car park. However this was to be the highlight of our visit. There were a lot of sea lions here but the viewing areas were just too far away to get a decent look at them.
We spent around an hour and a half with our fingers crossed that some Orca would turn up but we didn’t have any luck.
We set off back to Puerto Piramides feeling disappointed with the Valdes Peninsula. There is wildlife but it is fenced off and distant from you with none of the feeling that you get in less busy and more remote locations, feeling glad that we’d had such a good experience at Bahia Los Cabos. Whale season might be a different story of course.