Puerto Pirámides, a sleepy beach town located on Peninsula Valdes near Puerto Madryn, is probably best known as being one of the best spots in the world to get up close and personal with the Southern Right Whale from July through December. What visitors don’t know is that this seaside village at the heart of the wildlife reserve offers spectacular outdoor adventures and relaxing vacations year round.

48 hours isn’t nearly enough to enjoy all there is to offer, but as a selfless Bubble writer, I did my best to cover as much ground as possible.

Where to Stay

There are a handful of places to stay in Puerto Pirámides, but if there’s availability we recommend Océano Patagonia: Wild Coast Residence, a brand new luxury eco-condominium for two key reasons. First, it is literally on the beach and each unit is equipped with the floor to ceiling windows so you’re front center to all the sunrises, sunsets, and stunning views the cove has to offer. Second, each unit has a fully equipped kitchen and balcony overlooking the beach, so basically even if you decide to spend your vacation sleeping and drinking wine, you will leave with enough tales of adventure and breathtaking photos to make your friends jealous without ever having to need to leave your room.

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View from my bed

 

Another solid option that is friendly to both tighter budgets and the environment is Del Nomade Hosteria Ecologica. The staff are warm, helpful and have developed quite the reputation for their baking ability. Perfect for carb lovers needing to tighten those purse strings a bit.

Arrival

I rolled up to Puerto Pirámides around 6pm after a harrowing cross country drive. Upon arriving at Océano Patagonia, our concierge Gustavo gave us a rundown of the eco-aspects of the hotel, including geothermal heat and AC and water efficiency. Also a sommelier (as one does), Gustavo offered us a selection of Patagonian wine and I gratefully put up my feet and enjoyed the sunset over the dunes.

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Sunset from the balcony

 

After a few glasses of wine, I blissfully drifted to sleep to the sound of the waves lazily sloshing around outside my window.

Day 1: Wind, Waves, and Sand

I woke up the next morning around 8 a.m. to the sound of waves doing a lot more! Overnight, the infamous Patagonian wind had kicked up and some avid kite surfers were taking advantage. I cooked up some omelets and lived vicariously through their experience while watching them in my pajamas from my balcony. I made a mental note to take up kite surfing before my next trip.

I decided to start my morning with a long walk to explore the beaches. At first the beach seems to be contained in the cove, and flanked on either side by high, picturesque cliffs. But a bit of exploring proved fruitful, as around the point I was able to discover a secret hidden beach about 3km long covered in large rock outcroppings and full of tidal pools and interesting sea life.

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Tidal pools!

 

My inner five year old properly indulged, I had time to head back to the hotel and eat a home-cooked prawn pasta with white wine dutifully prepared by my travel mates.

For the afternoon, inspired by the morning and probably helped on a bit by the white wine, we decided to hit the land. We were able to quickly rent mountain bikes and jump on a tour. The local bike tour operator does family-friendly tours, three hour adventures, and even epic eight hour full days that include a lunch stop. We opted for the three-hour route that included a stop to see the sea lions.

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Little shop renting bikes and sand boards

 

I didn’t have time to try the sand boarding, but I met another group who had just returned looking like they’d had the time of their lives.

After a busy day and deciding our kitchen needed a rest, we headed to a friendly pub-style place called La Estación, where we feasted on local artisanal beer and more seafood. Stuffed and happy the five minute walk back to the hotel was just the thing to help digestion and taking in the incredible night sky.

Day 2: Into the Water

The next morning the ocean was so peaceful that I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t jump on a stand-up paddle board (SUP) to check it out. The experience was unreal. The water was so clear that I could see all the way to the bottom, and I spent a few hours pretending I was an explorer bravely conquering the cliffs and reefs. My friend took the canoe route, and paddled about in style while I teetered around on my board in a life jacket.

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Getting around in style

 

We loaded up on well-deserved pizza at a little place called La Corvacha because its open air patios allowed us to stay outside, and then we geared up with wetsuits and snorkels for an afternoon of frolicking in the water with sea lions (SEA LIONS!!!!). On land these little guys are noisy and clumsy, but in the water their curious agility will put a smile on just about anyone’s face. It felt like they were tugging at our heart strings, taunting us to go out and play with them.

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Wheeeeee!!!!!

 

Exhausted and sad to be leaving the next morning, we headed back to the hotel where we were presently surprised when our neighbors, a sweet Argentine family, invited us to share their dinner – a gorgeous white salmon roughly the size of a small cow that they had caught in the bay in the front of the hotel.

On my way to the airport the next day to assuage my sadness over having to leave so soon, we stopped by the Estancia San Lorenzo to check out the penguins and their fuzzy babies. They are way cuter than any cat video you distract yourself while procrastinating on social media. The healthy (and adorable) dose of nature will do things to your soul.

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No, you can’t bring one home as a carry-on or lap child

 

That’s the beauty of traveling in Argentina. With a bit of planning and an openness to connect with others, adventure and new experiences await around practically every corner. So if you’re looking for an adventure in Patagonia, check out Puerto Pirámides and the wildlife the coast has to offer.

Where

Peninsula Valdes is located in Patagonia, Chubut Province, Argentina. It is a wildlife reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site recognized around the world for the crazy cool amount of wildlife that gathers there yearly: Southern Right Whales, Orcas, entertainingly large Elephant Seals, Sea Lions and beaches upon beaches full of penguins and their fuzzy babies. On top of the marine life, the Patagonia plains boast guanaco (a llama-like creature) and choike (the sort of mini ostrich) and more birds! From the eagles that double as avian fisherman to flocks of noble but gawky flamingos that pass through the salt flats, the peninsula is home to an incredible 150 species of birds.

Getting there

Aerolineas Argentinas flies daily to Trelew, 1 hour and 15 minutes from Puerto Pirámides. Andes Air flies Monday – Friday into Puerto Madryn, which is 45 minutes from the beach. Overnight busses from Buenos Aires are available via multiple carriers.