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Best time of year for Penguins/Whales?

Madison, WI
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Best time of year for Penguins/Whales?

We were thinking of going to Patagonia in November but we are flexible. We would go for about 2 weeks and we want to see these things while we are there:

Whales, penguins, glaciers, and Tores de Pain park. Any suggestions on the best time of year, and where we should go to see those wonderful animals? Any other tips would be great. Recommended Whale tours? First time traveling to S. America.

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Patagonia
Patagonia
Argentina
Atenas, Costa Rica
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1. Re: Best time of year for Penguins/Whales?

September, October and November are the best months to visit this area of Patagonia and see both whales and penguins.

Spend one day on Peninsula Valdes, see the whales from Puerto Piramades and continue around the peninsula looking for guanacos, rheas and maras.

The next day go to Punta Tombo and visit the huge penguin colony. On this day you could also take a side trip to see the Commerson's dolphins or have Welch tea and cakes in Gaiman.

Most people stay in Puerto Madryn where you have a full range of accomodations and many restaurants to choose from.

Puerto Madryn has a big beach too.

You can find a lot of information in the tripadvisor archives on these and other destinations.

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Patagonia
Patagonia
Argentina
Peninsula Valdes
Peninsula Valdes
870 Reviews
Puerto Madryn, Argentina
Puerto Madryn
Puerto Madryn
Province of Chubut, Argentina
Madison, WI
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2. Re: Best time of year for Penguins/Whales?

Thanks for the info. Can you get close to the penguins in Puntu Tombo? Any packages you know of that offer all of those sights or is it best to piece meal it? Its best to take a tour isn't it; due to the fact most people there don't speak English?

Lunenburg, Canada
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for Saint John, Foz do Iguacu, Prince Edward Island
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3. Re: Best time of year for Penguins/Whales?

Hi Madison!

We found the penguin site at Punta Tombo the grandest outside Antarctica itself. It's definitely worth the journey.

Punta Tombo lies two hours drive south of downtown Puerto Madryn. It consists of a two-mile well-groomed walking trail across wide open country down to the ocean. Along the way, literally thousands of penguins dot the campo, including hundreds right along the trail.

In November, the chicks should be hatching. The penguins normally have no fear of people. We closely approached them and even got them to pose for pictures by standing beside the birds. They say you're not supposed to touch the penguins, but lots of people do and the birds don't seem to mind. Of course, they might give you a nasty peck if a penguin takes a notion that you're a pest or a threat.

If you have a rental car, we really enjoyed the drive across the continent from Trelew, an hour south of Puerto Madryn, westward to Esquel in the Andes. Starting about 70 miles west of Trelew, the highway enters a canyon that seems taken right out of Road Runner cartoons with towering mesas, pinnacles, huge fallen boulders and the canyon.

If you go this way, stop in Dolavon, 20 miles west of Trelew. Dolavon is a slowly dying Welsh farm town, and that's a shame because it has an appealing canal park, and my favorite restaurant in the area, the Old Mill. Not only is it a good place for lunch, but the establishment is practically a museum to the old Welsh culture of Patagonia.

Happy travels, and let me know if I can help further!

David

capetien10@gmail.com

Edited: 8:33 pm, April 01, 2010
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Puerto Madryn
Puerto Madryn
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Patagonia
Patagonia
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Atenas, Costa Rica
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4. Re: Best time of year for Penguins/Whales?

You can be close to the penguins at Tombo. But visitors to need to give the penguins space. The rule is 3 feet (one meter). No one should be touching the penguins, it is against the rules. People can transmit sicknesses in addition to getting bit by the penguins sharp beak.

To visit Punta Tombo most people join a small group tour which costs around Arg150 per person. There are many travel agencies offering tours to both Tombo and Peninsula Valdes.

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Peninsula Valdes
Peninsula Valdes
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Puerto Madryn, Argentina
Lunenburg, Canada
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for Saint John, Foz do Iguacu, Prince Edward Island
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5. Re: Best time of year for Penguins/Whales?

If you have a rental car, as we did, you can drive to Punta Tombo yourself. It's two hours from Puerto Madryn. All but the last 15 miles is fine paved highway.

The last fifteen miles are gravel. When we visited, the road was in good shape, easily drivable with no significant potholes. To make it worth your while, we counted more than 10 guanacos along the gravel road, and one even raced across as we approached.

I saw where one writer mentioned guided tours. We visited as just the two of us, with no group and no guide. The attractions in the park are obvious. In my view, a guide would merely be a hindrance, distracting you by spouting endless details about the mating habits of the Magellanic penguin and such.

If you arrive without a guide, either on your own or as part of a small group, it's unlikely you'll find an English-speaking guide anyway.

I know what others say about not approaching and not touching the penguins. This isn't what happens when you're there, though.

Here's what we saw. During the afternoon, a lot of visitors will be walking the trails, probably numbering in the hundreds (but remember, it's a very large park). Inevitably, we saw others getting up close to the penguins. Most of the birds didn't seem to mind. Some touched them. The penguins didn't run away (and, when a penguin wants to, they can move faster than you might think). Some penguins didn't seem to like being touched, but others showed no sign of displeasure. This is an everyday occurrance for penguins in the park, remember, and usually many times during a day. If they didn't like it the penguins could easily move to another spot not as close to the trails. The whole vastness of the park is completely open, with no fences to stop either penguins or people.

There were no park rangers to shoo people away from the penguins. The park is well-staffed with highly trained professional ornithologists, so I infer from this that, the "rules" notwithstanding, the park staff don't see anything gravely wrong with people touching the penguins.

Penguins have sharp beaks, so some who get too close could get a nasty pecking from an annoyed bird. Also, you'll see lots of penguin guano around, and the penguins look like some may have rolled in it. The real fear I'd have is not that I might pass a disease to the penguins, but that bacteria from their filth might infect me.

Our experiences were in February, when the chicks are adolescents and their parents seemed unconcerned about people. For all I know, different rules may apply when the chicks are very small. As happened with us, you'll see what happens when you get there.

Don't miss Punta Tombo!

David

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Puerto Madryn
Puerto Madryn
Province of Chubut, Argentina
Madison, WI
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6. Re: Best time of year for Penguins/Whales?

Hello!

Have you or know anyone who has taken this tour...are they reputable?

…patagonia-argentina.com/resultados/…

This is the one we spotted that has everything we are looking to see. Glaciers, Whales, Penguins and Tierra del Fuego National Park.

Or does anyone else know of a tour that covers all this that you have experienced? Its been hard to find a way to see all of this while trying to keep the price down.

Thanks Much!

7. Re: Best time of year for Penguins/Whales?

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