Puerto Madryn was our last stop before I flew home, and it was the perfect place to end the trip! It boasted some wonderful beaches and a host of wildlife!
We stayed in a hostel called El Retorno 2 blocks from the beach. The hostel itself was pretty decent, but Gladys the owner was extremely mothering. We also discovered she was pretty well-known around town when we went to hire a car and the women said that we shouldn't tell Gladys as she will go mad. Bascially Gladys worked hard to get people on the excursions so she would get her commission! Tut, tut!
So, anyway the time here was mainly spent on the beach and tracking down wildlife, with some casual drinking along the way.
We were unfortunately talked into an excursion to the Peninsula Valdes, mainly because the roads around this national park were gravelled and we may have had to pay for any damage to a car if we had hired one ourselves. So the tour began at 8am to the park with the first stop being Puerto Piramides where we learnt that if you were not doing the boat ride you had to wait in this port for 3 hours! We were a little annoyed considering we hadn't been made aware of this before hand, although we couldn't complain as we had a nice beach and the sun beating down on us!
When the rest of the group got back we headed for Punta Norte where we were hoping to see Orca's taking the sea lions from the beach front. We were there at the right time of year but unfortunately didn't capture a glimpse of this natural wonder. We were told that the last sightings were 13th Feb and before that the 1st or 2nd Feb (we were a couple weeks late!). This was a disappointment but wildlife has it's name for a reason...it's wild and you can't predict it! Anyway, while we were there we saw Armadillos and the numerous sea lions that inhabit this coastline, which was pleasant enough!
After this stop we moved on to Caleta Valdes where we saw Elephant seals and on the way we stopped in a small rockery to see a few Magellan Penguins. The Penguin stop was just a short one and we weren't too bothered by this as we had plans to see more penguins at Punta Tombo. The Elephant seals were extremely lazy but it was good to get some snaps of these beasts nonetheless. Once we had finished there we headed back to Gladys at El Retorno.
The day after, as I mentioned before, we rented a car and headed to Punta Tombo to see the half a million penguins that come here to breed every year. It was amazing to see how they live in the wild and to be able to get so close to them. February is the time of year when the young start to venture out to sea - it was great watching some take their first awkward steps in the waves! We got some pretty good photos of these funny little characters and had a great day out!
On our way back to Puerto Madryn we stopped for some Welsh Tea at a town called Gaiman. The Welsh settled here in the 19th century and the tea house we were in was run by a third generation welsh lady who could still speak Welsh - awesome! The tea was good (not quite strong enough, but still proper tea) and the mountain of delicious cakes you get were amazing and left you on a sugar high for the next 3 hours! ;o)
The last day was spent on the beach soaking up the sun before heading back to cold England. If only Puerto Madryn was closer, I'd take all my beach holidays there!!