Published: March 25th 2012March 23rd 2012
After a pleasant 20 hour bus ride (with films, food and lots of sleep!) we arrived in the quiet town of Puerto Madryn. We finally made it to our hostel, Hi Patagonia, after being harrassed by an old Spanish Lady trying to get us to stay with her. The hostel is along the main street right by the beach and an excellent ice cream shop. Hi Patagonia is probably our favourite hostel yet! Gaston, the manager, is VERY knowledgable about the whole area and couldn´t have possibly been more helpful. He sat down and helped us plan our trip around the weather, as we were there in Orca season and Orcas are more likely to be seen in the right conditions.
Day 1- Gaston hires his car out daily so we rented the car for the day and set off at an unamusing 4am to try and spot Orcas at high tide! We drove for around 2 and a half hours to Peninsula Valdes (70 pesos entrance fee) which is filled with bumpy gravel roads. Unfortunately we didnt catch a glimpse of Orcas, but we were happy photographing the hundreds of sea lions and penguins!
Day 2 - We
were so tired from our 5am trip that we allowed ourselves a bit of a lay in the next morning, rolled out at about 11 to catch the 12 noon Dolphin boat trip. Around 5 minutes into the trip we spotted a group of penguins just floating around enjoying the sun. The driver said we are likely to see Dolphins today but have to be patient and sure enough, a few minutes later, we caught a glimpse of our first Dolphin fins, resulting in a million photographs being take. More and more Dolphins were spotted, with the occasional one flipping in the air, until eventually we came to a feeding area, which was full of Dolphins, Sea Lions, Birds and very disgruntled fish. The Dolphins put on excellent show by diving under the boat, swimming alongside us and jumping through the air (some managing triple flips!). The tour lasted around 3 hours and was one of the most amazing trips we had ever been on!
Day 3 - We met another English guy at the hostel and decided to rent a car together to Punta Tombo - a large penguin colony. It was another 2 hour drive, but with
better views and weather! It was only around 35 pesos to get into the national park where you follow a trail and get to come so close to the cute, funny penguins (they are constantly crossing the path and come right up to you). We spent hours taking hundreds of great photos!
Day 4 - We had to stay an extra night as Hayden left his jacket in the car and others were using it for the whole day. We spent the day around the town & headed back in the evening for a long awaited hostel BBQ! There were quite a few of us at the hostel by now; a lot of English people, some German, and a great dutch couple, so about 15 of us shared a huge amount of meat cooked by Nacho (one of the hostel workers). The food was incredible - slowly cooked chicken, steaks and sausages - and we had a great last night at the hostel with everyone.
Next stop - heading further into Patagonia to El calafate!
There are more photos below