As the new year begins, Argentinians look forward to the beginning of their summer season. January and February are peak summer months in the southern hemisphere and the country’s Atlantic coast is a popular summer playground. Many Argentines head down to bustling Mar del Plata (or Mardel for short), the country’s largest seaside resort, located about 250 miles south of Buenos Aires. Those looking for a quieter vibe enjoy the peaceful charms of Pinamar and Cariló, two beach towns set amongst pine and eucalyptus forests. Other popular resort towns include Villa Gesell or Mar de las Pampas.
But for an otherworldly experience head farther south to the deep South Atlantic and the desolate landscapes of the Patagonian coast. Far from the crowds and with an endless coast where hundreds of miles of beaches blend in with the horizon. Here you’ll feel the immensity of nature and get to see a wide variety of wildlife as well.
About 60 miles from the city of Viedma, on the northern shore of the Gulf of San Matías, where the coastline is protected by Patagonia’s winds and the waters are warmed by tidal currents, sits the town of Bahía Creek. Its spectacular beaches are framed by low cliffs and dunes. You can enjoy a great variety of water sports here like sea kayaking and sailing or visit a nearby native sea lion colony.
The Valdés Peninsula is a popular destination for nature lovers and home to large colonies of sea lions and elephant seals as well as Magellanic penguins. It is also considered to be one of the best places in the world to see orca whales. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999 due to its abundant biodiversity and natural life reservoir. Puerto Pirámides is the only town on the Peninsula and offers a range of accommodations for travelers looking to go snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding, or scuba diving in company of sea lions, or simply to enjoy the vast beaches and the deep blue waters. Mountain biking is another fun alternative to exploring the natural beauty of the Peninsula.
Puerto Madryn, the largest town on the Patagonian coast and a gateway to the Valdés Peninsula, is also a popular resort town offering a wide range of dining, shopping, and accommodations options. Many visitors use Puerto Madryn as a base to explore the natural attractions of the Valdés Peninsula, the area’s incomparable scuba diving, or simply to enjoy the wide stretches of beach. Puerto Madryn also serves as a base to visit the Protected Natural Area of Punta Tombo, home to one of the largest continental reserves of Magellanic penguins about 120 miles south. Many South America cruises also stop here.
The hidden gem of the Patagonian coast, mostly known for harvests of seaweed and mussels, Bahía Bustamante has its own ecosystem and features rich marine and birdlife. You can practice almost any type of water sport, catch sightings of penguins, dolphins, and Gray’s beaked whales, or even explore the coast and the beaches on horseback. The wildlife is as diverse on land as it is in the sea, with guanacos, foxes, wild pigs, hares and deer.
Travelers can catch regular flights from Buenos Aires to Viedma and Puerto Madryn, with the closest airport to Bahía Bustamante being Comodoro Rivadavia.
For additional information on Argentina, please visit argentina.travel