Argentina

Puerto Madryn Travel Guide

Puerto Madryn is the jumping point to visit Península Valdés, the famous wildlife reserve of Patagonia. Read about things to do in Puerto Madryn, how to get to the city and the main attractions in the region.

Puerto Madryn, located at the shore of the Patagonian East Coast was founded in 1865 by a 150 group of Welsh that started to populate the area in 1886. Welsh, Spanish and Italian immigrants worked together to build the railway that would connect Puerto Madryn to the city of Trelew, where today sits the nearest airport. After a period of economic recession, between the ‘60 and the ‘70, the city experienced a second growth characterized by a significant internal and foreign inmigration flow.

Today, though the railway it’s no longer used, many travelers fly to Trelew and stay in Puerto Madryn to visit the incredible natural reserve of Península Valdés, the most important wildlife hub of Patagonia. The start of the place if the southern right whale, which arrives at the coast of the Península (but can be also seen from the very coastline of Puerto Madryn!) once a year, between June and December. Penguins, elephant seals and fur sea lions are other main characters of this natural spectacle.  

Attractions

Peninsula Valdes

Peninsula Valdés is a Patagonian nature reserve, on the coast of Argentina. It is known for the marine animals that live in the sea and the surrounding beaches, such as whales, sea lions and elephant seals. In the west of the peninsula is the village and beach of Puerto Piramides, which was once a salt mining port and from today boats depart for whale watching.

Visiting hours: Every day from 8 am to 8 pm
Entrance fee: cash only

We invite you to see our explorations – Click here 

Punta Tombo

Punta Tombo is a wildlife reserve on the Atlantic coast of Chubut, in the Republic of Argentina, and is one of the main and most numerous continental breeding colonies of the Magellanic Penguin. It can be visited in 1 day from Puerto Madryn, or even the day you arrive in Trelew or the day you leave from there to your next destination.

Penguin Season: From September to March
Hours: Every day from 8 am to 6 pm

We invite you to see our explorations – Click here 

Ecocentro

This marine life interpretative center is a masterpiece of interactive displays that combines artistic sensitivity with extensive scientific research. The building itself is equally impressive. Bring your binoculars: whales may be spotted from here.

Adresse: Julio Verne St. 3784
Day and times: Wednesday to Monday from 5 to 9 pm (from December 20 to March 1) / Wednesday to Sunday from 3 to 7 pm (from March 1st to May 1st, the center closes and reopens on June 14th) / Wednesday to Monday from 3 to 7 pm (from June 14 to December 19)

Museo Oceanográfico

Lovely oceanographic museum located in the historic house “Chalet Pujol” which is built in 1915. The explanations are in Spanish and geared to youth science classes, but it’s visually informative and creatively presented. You should also walk up to the cupola for a beautiful view on the port.

Adresse: Garcia y Menéndez St. 9120
Day and times: Monday to Friday from 9 am to 3 pm

Historical Site of Punta Cuevas

About 3 km from Puerto Madryn, walking south along the coast road, next to the El Indio statue. When in 1865 a ship with 150 welsh left Liverpool coming to the new world escaping from the English oppression, they arrived here. The first few months, however, life here was difficult and not quite the idyll they had believed it would be. Initially they lived in caves close to the sea, many of which can still be seen today (cave in Spanish is cueva, that is where the name of this area comes from).

In this place there is the Museo del Desembarco, where you can learn more about the welsh arrival in Argentina.If you are welsh you might even be interested in the international forums celebrated here once a year about the welsh immigrants in Argentina.

Adresse: Museum “del Desembarco” Boulevard Brown 3600.

Churreria Quemehuencho

They say you haven’t been in Puerto Madryn if you didn’t have a stop here. Excellent place to try mate, the Argentinian National drink (if you are a beginner pour sugar on it until you get used to the bitter flavor) and eat the best churros from town.

Adresse: R.S. Peña St. 212.
Day and times: Monday to Saturday from 5 to 8.30 pm

Playa Parana

Ten kilometers north of town. A popular beach with locals, great option if you come during hot days. Even luckier if you get one of the warm currents that locals say flow in this direction a few days a year, when the water turns warm.

Playa El Doradillo

This is probably the best beach to see whales from the beachside. The water close to the coast is so deep that they can come within 20 meters of the shoreline.

Adresse: 20 km north of the town.

Barrio Sur

An interesting and picturesque neighborhood. Quite streets ocean direction and vanguard architecture and with some nice restaurants. It is a good option for a relaxed walk around and to see how Madrynenses live. The area is defined by Boulevard Alte.

Adresse: Guillermo Brown and Av. Julio A. Roca.

Eating & Drinking

Cantina El Náutico

790 Julio Argentino Roca Ave. Phone 0280 447-1404
Seafood/Mediterranean/ Spanish

Dishes for everyone’s tastes and budgets. It is the most traditional with being more than thirty years in town.

Margarita

27 Roque Sáenz Peña St. Phone 0280 447-2659
Bar /Pub

Pizza, grilled fish and roasted meat are served in this alive pub. Good ambiance if you want to go out for a couple of drinks.

 

Mariscos del Atlantico

43 Fennen St. Phone 0280 447-3156
Seafood/Mediterranean

Place of traditional food, like eating at home but made by professional seafood cooks.

Mr. Jones

116 9 de Julio St. Phone 0280 447-5368
Bar/Pub

Excellent food, warm atmosphere, and good service. A very good place to eat the fish of the day. Beer stands out in this Irish style bar.

El Almendro

409 Pte M T de Alvear St. Phone 0280 447-0525
Seafood/Mediterranean

Very cozy and quiet place, exquisite food, varied options on the menu. Personalized attention.

Tips & Advices

How many days should I stay in Puerto Madryn?

 

We recommend at least 2 nights so you can do 2 full day explorations. 

 

When is the best time to visit 

 

Puerto Madryn can be visited all year round, but the wildlife living in this area isn’t around all year. Like the whales, they arrive late June in the bay of Puerto Madryn and stay until mid-December. Whereas, the penguins are settling down during the Argentine spring and summer from September until March. The sea elephants and the sea lions are permanent residents and can therefore be spotted all year round.

 

How to get to Puerto Madryn

 

  • Flight: Puerto Madryn has an airport but still most of the flights arrive in Trelew, 65 km south. Be ready for this one hour driving upon arrival.
  • Bus: There are buses from Buenos Aires to Puerto Madryn and the trip takes about 19 hours.
  • Train: There are no train services.
  • Self-drive: If you like this style of travel this destination is perfect for independent road travel. We recommend vehicles suitable for gravel, as some roads in the peninsula are not paved.

 

Can I find ATMs in Puerto Madryn?

 

ATMs are located in banks, most of them, but are open 24hs. Each bank has a different fee that will charge you to use their system, plus your bank fee. We recommend bringing some dollar bills to exchange, so you have some cash to move around and then pay with Credit cards or use an ATM whenever you run out of money.  

 

What is the proper tipping?

 

In restaurants, it’s customary to tip about 10% of the bill. Note that tips can’t be added to credit-card bills, so carry cash for this purpose. For tour guides , estimate around USD 10/15 per person, for a full day tour and half of it for the driver. In hotels, you should tip porters for handling bags:USD1.00 for every two bags, same amount is calculated for drivers if they help you with your suitcases, the housekeeping (between USD0.50 – 1.00 per night), and the concierge staff if the have helped you to arrange dinner reservations, transportation or leisure activities. In Argentina we don’t regularly tip taxi drivers.

 

How much money can I spend per day in Puerto Madryn? 

 

Around USD 50/100 per day, per person for daily expenses like eating, shopping and transportation, depending on how much money you want to spend on these.

 

Exchange money and using CC

 

Credit cards and US dollars are widely accepted in main cities. But it will be more convenient for you to exchange pesos rather than using US dollars because the rate that shops or restaurants use might not be the most convenient for you.  

 

 

What to include in your luggage

 

Depending on the time of the year different clothing is necessary. During the summer months (October to April) it is usually warm during the day and therefore light summer clothing is recommended. However, we do suggest you to bring a warm sweater or jacket to wear at night, since nights can get cooler.

In the winter months (May to September) the temperature drops to an average of 1 °C (34 °F) in June and July. When traveling to Puerto Madryn in these months you should bring warm winter clothing like a coat, a hat, gloves, thermal underwear, warm boots and a scarf.

Use layers! Undershirt, short-sleeve T-shirt, long sleeve T-shirt, sweater, jacket. It is the best way to make sure you won’t be cold, but also that you won’t be too hot to keep moving!

 

Entrance fee to the National Park

 

Around Puerto Madryn are two national parks. Parque Nacional de Punta Tombo and Parque Nacional de Península Valdés. Both parks only accept cash payments in Argentine pesos. Credit or debit cards are not accepted. 

Punta Tombo: USD 7.-
Peninsula Valdes: USD 10.-

 

Wildlife

 

Puerto Madryn is the place where you can spot a large range of wildlife. The tour guides can bring you as close as possible to spot penguins, whales, sea lions or sea elephants. How does less than 3 meters away sound? You will even get wet if a whale jumps right in front of you!

 

Pick ups

 

Pick up at airports will be upon arrival of your flight, that’s why it is so important to have the most accurate and updated flight information. Our guide or driver will be waiting for you, outside baggage claim area, you will only have to look for a sign with your name on it. Pick up for tours will be at the reception desk/lobby of the hotels. At the end of your itinerary you will find the name and telephone number of each of our local representatives and our emergency phone number, where you can call if you have any urgency or a mismatch, so we can assist you during your trip.

 

Medical attention

 

Any foreign consulate can provide a list of area doctors who speak English. If you get sick, consider asking your hotel concierge to recommend a local doctor — even his or her own. You can also try the emergency room at a local hospital. Many hospitals also have walk-in clinics for emergency cases that are not life-threatening; you may not get immediate attention, but you won’t pay the high price of an emergency room visit. For an English-speaking hospital, in Buenos Aires, we recommend The Hospital Británico (4304-1081).

 

Travel insurance

 

We strongly recommend that you purchase insurance. Travel insurance helps protect against unforeseen emergencies which can occur at any time. It also helps protect you against other circumstances like travel delay, lost or stolen baggage and personal items, missed connections and so much more. 

Sustainability

Sustainability

 

Local Businesses

 

  • Artisans’ fair

In the Comandante Luis Piedra Buena Pier. Every day. Products: woven products, local sweets and more regional products.

Address: 1 Guillermo Rawson Avenue

 

  • Fair of local producers


In front of San Juan Bosco University. Every weekend. Local products: wines, cheeses, cold cuts, honey, handicrafts, etc.

Address: 3051 Almirante Brown Boulevard

 

How to Help

Conservación Península Valdés

Conservación Península Valdés is dedicated to promoting the conservation of the wildlife and wildlands of the peninsula to ensure the perpetuity of their ecological and evolutionary processes with the strongest long-term protection guarantee possible. Propose wildlife-friendly and sustainable ranching practices that reduce the conflicts between humans and animals and help to conserve or restore core habitat. Encourage responsible ecotourism to generate awareness and dedication to conservation. Inspire care for nature, and work with local communities.

You can learn more about this project here.

 

Sustainability tips

 

  • Take your reusable bag with you when you go shopping.
  • Choose the consumption of local products from artisans and small producers.
  • Travel the city by bike or on foot, it is healthy and does not leave a carbon footprint.
  • When you go on an excursion, ask for food without plastic wrap.
  • Don’t leave trash in nature.
  • Take a reusable bottle with you to carry water in restaurants.
  • Don’t feed native fauna.
  • Use rechargeable batteries and batteries.
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