This is the largest peninsula of the Atlantic Coast, and is famous for its
concentration of marine fauna. It is an island linked to the continent by
a narrow strip of land called Carlos Ameghino Isthmus, separating the San
Jose and the Nuevo gulfs.
Isla de los Pájaros Natural Reserve
A few kilometers after the isthmus is one of the three first fauna reserves
of the continent. Created in 1967 to protect one of the few ecosystems that
allows the grouping and reproduction of a wide variety of marine birds (sea
gulls, cormorants, etc). Public access is not allowed. The species may be
watched from the isthmus. We can find group of guanacos, walruses, sea elephants
and seals, as well as whales.
Punta Loma Fauna Reserve
From Puerto Madryn and along a 17km winding road that borders the sea, you
arrive at this reserve, with access to a belvedere. There is a small rise
of 15 m where a superb view of the one-hair sea lions' reserve can be admired
all year round.
A small pier on the beach of the Golfo Nuevo is the departure point for
the boats authorized to offer rides for the daily whale watching tours.
Navigation is only allowed in the Golfo Nuevo.
The whales appear on the coasts of the Península Valdes, and within
the Nuevo and San Jose gulfs, from June to mid-December. These are the Southern
Right Whales (Eubalaena Australis), belonging to the suborder of the cetaceans
called Mysticetus and which have chills instead of teeth. Right whales come
to Peninsula Valdes to mate, give birth and breed the young in calm waters.
The area was declared a Natural Monument in 1984 to protect this endangered
species. Births take place between August and October, giving birth to only
one whale calf every three years. The average population is of 3,000 animals.
Puerto Piramide Fauna Reserve
4 km from Puerto Pirámide is a fauna reserve for one-hair sea lions.
Further to the east, where a lighthouse indicating the course to the sailors
stands. There is a sea lion reserve on the beach.
Caleta Valdés and Punta Norte
To the north, 77 km further on the northwest extreme of Peninsula Valdes,
are the only continental sea elephant reserves. This is an endangered species
whose colony stays here all year round. They differ from the sea lions in
the way they move: while the sea lions walk on their four extremities, the
sea elephants must creep to move on the ground. They are called “elephants”
due to the characteristic trunk that the males have and to their huge corpulent
body. Adult males may be over 6m long with an estimated weight of 4,000
kg, while the females do not surpass the 3 m of length and 700 kg weight.
By August-September, the birth of babies take place and it is possible to
watch them until March-April.