Peninsula Valdes: The Richest Wildlife in the World

Ok, it isn’t really the richest wildlife in the world, but we sure enjoyed it.

Let me back up a few steps first. After saying a melancholy adios to our Buenos Aires home two nights ago, we headed south for the beach town of Puerto Madryn on Argentina’s Atlantic coast. One very comfortable overnight 18-hour bus later (thank you, full cama Don Otto service), we arrived. Puerto Madryn is a very new-feeling beach town, with home/building construction seemingly booming on every corner and a coastline full of Argentinian families. We haven’t been able to determine if this is true, but it seems like this town caters to an upper-middle class local tourist. Even with the majority of tourists being Argentinians taking advantage of their summer vacations, there are still plenty of international tourists on this gringo trail stop.

I would discuss our very nice hostel, El Gualicho, more but we are planning on starting a section on our blog discussing our travel arrangements, accommodations, details of how we got from point A to point B, and more. So I won’t spoil the fun here. We recommend it, though. Good value, excellent staff, clean as you could possibly hope for, and a very useful kitchen.

But I digress. Right when we arrived we booked a tour of Peninsula Valdes through our hostel. The tour would take us by van/bus all over the Peninsula which is famous for whale watching (January is after whale season which was a bummer), penguin colonies, elephant seals, sea lions, and other, less interesting wildlife. Even without the whales, we got to see some pretty great wildlife.

Guanacos – kind of a vicuña-like animal:


We think these are just plain old rheas, although they could be some special Argentinian type thereof:




But these aren’t the animals you came here to see. They certainly weren’t the animals we paid to see. Without further ado, we present the penguins of Peninsula Valdes:







Unsurprisingly, we enjoyed the penguins. But the Peninsula wasn’t just penguins, there were other fun animals for us to observe and enjoy! For example, elephant seals:


That photo might as well have been a video. These things just don’t move all that much once on land. When they do, though it is hilarious. Something like a combination between a fat, drunk guy doing the worm at a wedding and a rocking horse. It was hilarious to watch but sadly it happened only about once every 5 minutes. Far more interesting were the sea lions, who were very active.

Roaring sea lion:


Apparently, it is very rare to see sea lions and elephant seals living together, but they get along here:


Because it is mating season and the sea lions are very territorial, we got to see a lot of fights. They reminded me of UFC fights: two oversized males slamming into each other for about 3 seconds, then it’s over. I guess the comparison isn’t that great because there’s no groin punching and homoerotic grappling when the sea lions fight. Anyway, here’s a still-life example (sorry the photo isn’t bigger…don’t know what happened there):


Even with all of this activity (or non-activity…looking at you, elephant seals), we were kindly reminded that we needed to respect the wildlife, so I will leave you with its not-at-all-subtle message:


9 thoughts on “Peninsula Valdes: The Richest Wildlife in the World

  1. Mary

    What, no homoerotic seal grappling?? Bummer! Seriously, excellent wild life photos. Penguins and armadillos in the same location! It looks beautiful there. Big hugs!

  2. Julie Glavin

    Will be devouring this later. Peninsula Valdes was our fav spot on the cruise last year. And it is where our tour guide so reminded Tank of Anna that if he mentioned it one more time I was going to accuse him of being a “creeper”. Love my penguin friends. I actually fell in one of their nesting holes! Heading out to school now. Two days late from break due to the frigid Arctic blast.

    1. RTWFlyers Post author

      Very fun to have all of those animals in such a small place so you can see all of them with no trouble. We really enjoyed our tour, and that was without whales!

  3. Mary Daly Baniak

    Pater Familias comments:
    We are indeed partial to aquatic birds around here. But i frankly liked the armadillo. Can you ship one home? With a soup recipe, if it doesn’t pass as a pet?
    D/Pater Familias

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