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Puerto Piramides - A travel report by Rebecca
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Puerto Piramides,  Argentina - flag Argentina -  Chubut
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becs's travel reports

Camping and exploring in Peninsula Valdes

  6 votes
Usually travelers take organized tours of the Peninsula Valdes Wildlife Refuge, but this means you don't get to stay in the park. We wanted to camp in Puerto Piramides, so we decided to go it on our own. It turned out to be a great decision!

Puerto Piramides is a tiny little town on the Valdes Peninsula. The town is made up mostly of whale watching tour companies, with a few amenities. There is an ATM there, in its own little building in the desert. But there is also a campground nestled between sand dunes topped with scraggly bushes, and just a few steps from the beach. The water is quite cold, but the beautiful sandy beach is great for wading and enjoying the sun. Also, you can meet travelers and locals here.
To get there, you take a bus from Puerto Madryn, and pay to get into the park, but can then stay as many days as you like.

Favourite spots:
We walked left down the beach and around the point and discovered another stretch of beach. This beach is quieter and quite beautiful, and we walked a few hours along it. While we were exploring there, we saw Southern Right Whales playing in the bay. They splashed their fins and tails and came quite close. It was a pretty majestic display, and we didn't even have to pay for a tour!
We also walked right, along the beach, and went out on the point for a nice view of the open ocean. Also, we took the trail up the ridge just on the right of town, and came out on the top of the scrubby desert dunes. The trails up there offer excellent views of the landscape and ocean. We hoped to see guanacos, but only saw hares. But then we followed the main trail to the road further along, and walked the road down to Punta Piramides. Here we discovered the Loberia, or Sea Lion lookout. It was a long walk, but watching the sea lions play and fight from the cliff above was amazing entertainment.

What's really great:
Camping in Puerto Piramides and exploring the area on foot is a very different experience from taking a tour from Puerto Madryn, or from renting a car to explore the Peninsula. We weren't able to see some of the wildlife viewing points, as they are very far from town (for instance, the penguin colonies are on the other side of the Peninsula), but it gave us a more laid back experience of the area. We saw whales and sea lions from shore, and relaxed in town with a beer. We met great people, and had our own parrilla, cooking chorizo and steak in the campground. The stars from the beach at night were amazing, and although the campground is not the most wildernessy place, we still got to enjoy the Peninsula in a more natural setting.

Whale watching tours.
Beach combing.
Giant whale skeleton in the cliff on the right side of town.

Stay in the Municipal Campground. From town, follow the back road that is parallel to the beach, and then turn right and go down the dirt road to the reception hut. Or, if you can't find it that way, go down to the beach and walk along the top left side - you will see a trail over the dunes. From there you can walk through the campground to the hut where you pay for the night. It was $7 per night when we were there in 2007.
Not many picnic tables, but they do have shared parrillas for cooking. Also have flush toilets and showers.
I think there are a few B&Bs as well, but they will be more expensive.

Published on Tuesday January 13th, 2009

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