Argentina boasts one of the
most impressive whale watching experiences on the planet around Peninsula
Valdes, Patagonia. Southern Right whales gather here in large numbers and
are easily seen from the shore or from a boat. Species diversity is not so
high in Argentina (at least for those species likely to be seen) but the standard of excursions offered here is high and
sightings of the key species are reliable in season. The species you can
expect to see are Southern Right whales, Orcas, Commerson's dolphins,
Peale's dolphins and
Argentina Travel Resource is a good site for planning a trip to Argentina.
Patagonia-Argentina is a good site with a focus more on the south of the country.
Puerto Madryn and Peninsula Valdes
One of the world's great whale watching
experiences deserves its own page.
Located in Patagonia, about an hour to the
south of Puerto Madryn, this is a great place to watch Commerson's dolphins
(called Toninas locally).
The dolphins can be seen here year round.
Regular and reasonably priced boat trips are available to see the dolphins
which are the main focus of the trips. See
Adventure (both in Spanish).
Dolphin watching is often
combined with a trip to see Magellanic penguins at Punta Tombo further south
as part of an organised tour. These are easy to arrange in Puerto Madryn and
Trelew. As a result the boats here tend to depart fully loaded.
Several hours further south
from Puerto Rawson, Puerto Deseado is one of the wildlife highlights of
Patagonia. Here you can see Commerson's dolphins and Peale's
dolphins as well as Rockhopper and Magellanic penguins plus much else
Different tours leave in
season from the port. There is a trip up the river estuary where the
Commerson's dolphins will be encountered. Another trip leaves to see the
Rockhopper penguins offshore. On this trip you might see Peale's dolphins as
well as the Commerson's. It is a great trip, reasonably priced for the
experience. However, it is dependent on weather conditions and sufficient
passengers. This location is less visited than Puerto Madryn so more
time might be needed to organise a trip if you are travelling solo. See
Puerto San Julian
A pair of Commerson's dolphins surfacing in the bay of Puerto San Julian. This photograph was
published in the September 2009 issue of the British BBC Wildlife
Further south still is
Puerto San Julian. It is another place where Commerson's dolphins can
be viewed. Trips are offered in season by
Excursiones. Penguins and seabirds are also seen during the trip. The
boat here is quite small so there should be sufficient passengers to make up
the numbers. If visiting out of the main season it might be worth checking
ahead. Prices are very reasonable.
I have written an article
about Commerson's dolphins in Patagonia. You can read it
The main settlement of
Argentine Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia is the world's southernmost city and is
beautifully located on the Beagle Channel. Although many companies offer
boat trips on the Beagle Channel it is not a whale watching destination and
you should not go there specifically to see whales and dolphins (although
the waters here are relatively rich in cetaceans). However, the archipelago
is one of those places where unusual species can turn up and whales are
occasionally seen during the boat trips (see photo below). The
Acatushun Museum (marine
mammals and birds, lots of whale/dolphin skeletons) is well worth a visit if
you are in the area.
Humpback whale feeding in the
Beagle Channel near Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego.
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