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Getting to the land of penguins - Buenos Aires and Puerto Madryn

ARGENTINA | Tuesday, 10 April 2012 | Views [3046]

Penguins  - Puerto Madryn

Penguins - Puerto Madryn

I was rescued from the threat of staying in Rosario for far too long by a generous offer of a lift to Buenos Aires.

 

I have to say that it was kind of exciting to find myself in a car after 3 months of bus travel.

 

Of course the traffic in the capital did not disappoint and so we arrived pretty late. So I just managed to locate my hostel, drink a beer, meet some of the new people and head to bed.

 

The next day I was Buenos Aires ready. The city did not disappoint. It is definitely the nicest and most live-able of places I have seen in South America so far. I stayed in San Telmo with its charming cobbled street and Parisian feel, streets filled with small cafes and bars.

 

So I spent my days walking around the city, trying to navigate the bus system and just soaking up the atmosphere. I am not a huge club fan so the nightlife was a bit lost on me but the capital had enough to offer during the day to make me happy. So I just walked everywhere for hours on end. Visited La Boca (I kind of wasn't headed that way but made a wrong turn and only realised that I was in a completely wrong place after I was just a few blocks from Boca), its charming street filled with artists are really nice and relaxing, walked around the microcentre and visited the famous Casa Rosada to look out of the Evita balcony, quickly run through the shopping streets of Palermo and its gardens (thanks to Paula who kindly showed me the city), paid a visit to Recoleta and drunk plenty of wine.

 

Had some really good hostel crowd to hang out in the evenings so the clubs were not really on the agenda.

 

Also had a really fun day during the Sunday San Telmo market doing a bit of shopping and watching the tango shows.

 

The highlight was definitely and impromptu samba party on the street - I guess when people hear samba they just cannot help but dance!!! I know I should be trying to get into tango and salsa vibe but it was such a nice surprise to be able to samba on the streets again.

 

So in all I spent 4 days in Buenos Aires. I could have easily spent more and can see myself going back but was well aware of the seasons changing and the threat of the penguins of Patagonia leaving before I get the chance to say hi.

 

So I packed my bags and jumped onto a 20 hour bus to Puerto Madryn.

 

I have to say that there was a part of me thinking whether its actually worth spending all that time and money just to see a penguin on the beach but since it was one of the main reasons for leaving Brazil, I was committed to the project.

 

It's amazing how the landscape changes as you travel down south. By the time I woke up in the morning I was travelling through a completely flat surface with few shrubs covering the ground. It was also getting progressively colder.

 

The town was exactly how I imagined - small, windy with kind of end of the world feel but also really friendly and pleasant.

 

And it was cold. But I was on a mission to see some penguins. So straight after arrival I booked myself on an early morning tour to Peninsula Valdes.

 

It was an amazing day. The scenery is truly stunning and otherworldly. It really is worth persevering the cold and wind. On the first point of the tour you basically spend couple of hours waiting for the orcas to come for lunch (baby sea elephants leisureing on the beach) so even though it would have been amazing experience I was kind of happy that they only came 2km from the beach and I did not witness the actual attack.

 

But then it was off to see the penguins. They are SOOOO cute. Just chilling in the sun and going about their business with paying no attention to the people around them. I would have liked to spend more time hanging out with them rather than waiting for the orcas to strike but hey, when you are in a group you just need to go with the flow.

 

The part of the peninsula that the penguins chose to set up their colony is also breathtakingly beautiful.

 

That was the definite highlight of the day. We also visited couple more beaches with amazing views and witnessed some sea elephants relaxing on the beach. At this stage we were only watching them from the cliff.

 

So next day I booked myself for a journey to get close and personal with the sea elephants. We visited a colony of about 50; again they only got a little bit stressed about our presence but once we settled down we could sit as close as couple of meters to them and just 'watch the show'. I have to say that there is a lot of yawning, farting and sneezing involved (on the part of the animals) but it's such an amazing experience that I at once forgot all my doubts about coming to Puerto Madryn.

 

It really is a special place and whatever the tour you choose it is an unforgettable experience.

 

After a few days in the cold I abandoned the plan of going further south especially as I heard that some of the treks are already unpassable and opted to cross over to the Andes and the Lake District.

Tags: argentina, buenos aires, patagonia, penguins, puerto madryn, san telmo

 

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