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“A WILD EXPERIENCE IN BAHIA BUSTAMANTE”

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Bahia Bustamante Patagonia
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Reviewed April 15, 2012

After a 2+ hour ride from Puerto Madryn and down a lot of dirt roads to get there...we finally arrived at Bahia Bustamante, an old "seaweed" hacienda on the coast of Argentina in the northern part of Patagonia.
This little "village" of seaweed workers has sea front cottages (2 bedrooms) complete with kitchenettes. Although a little rough around the edges, Bahia Bustamante is a great place to experience life as it has been for the last 100 years. There is a restaurant and they were in the process of building a spa when I was there. Eating in the restaurant is like dining in a museum with the history of this fishing/seaweed village all around.
My two bedroom cottage had the most marvelous view of the sunrises each morning....a welcoming light as during the evening there is only electricity from 7PM until 11PM as that is the time that they run the generator. There is however a bathroom battery light...but a flashlight is highly reccomended. The beds were very comfortable with warm comfortors to help keep the night winds from chilling too much. There are gas heaters in every cottage in case it gets really cold.
The food was excellent and the wine (Argeninean of course) was excellent. But the best thing about Bahia Bustamante were the excursions. One day we hiked to a petrified forest dating back to prehistoric times. Another fabulous excursion (you have to wait for high tide) was to the islands off the coast where there is every type of animal that you see in the Galapagos and then some. There were Cormorants, Sea Lions, Seals, Penguines by the hundrens and all kinds of egrits and other birds. If you come there in January...you might even see the Souther Right Whales that frequent this area.
Another interesting exciursion is through the seaweed factory. The workers go out into the water in small boats and nothing but a long breathing hose and weights and dive down into the kelp beds to harvest the seaweed which they bring back to the village, compress into bales and the sell to overseas markets for makeup products, food additives and even ice cream.

The sunsets here (you can see them from the back fence and over the Patagonian Steppes) are more than spectacular.

I just loved this wild experience...and got very used to hearing the honking of the sea lions and not cars. This place is really out there...but well worth a visit.

Room Tip: They have sea front cottages and also terrace cottages. Make sure you ask for a sea front (I think...
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank walkpl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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82 - 88 of 190 reviews

Reviewed February 18, 2012

My husband and I spent four nights (3 full days) in the seaside casita called Penguino. The stark landscape and constant winds made the experience seem other-worldly. Each day was unique, ranging from bright blue skies to wind and volcanic ash induced haze. The moral of the story: if you see the picture, take it now because it will change before you know it!
Our package included tours and meals as well as transport from Trelew. The two guides were quite inexperienced (first and second season) but were enthusiastic and I can only imagine they will improve over time. If you are interested in seabirds, they can identify any of them without problem, but they were not especially interested in the smaller land birds. Twice we were left off and told we would be met at the other end of the "trail", so were on our own to interpret what we saw. This was fine with us, but might not be ideal for some.
Meals were filling and tasty, but almost completely lacking in fresh vegetables. We're not big meat eaters, but decided to eat what was put in front of us to better experience the Argentine lifestyle. The lamb and guanaco were overcooked to the point that we felt a little sad that the animals had given their lives for such a fate. Deserts, however, were invariably wonderful.
We did not rent a car, so relied on Aerolineas Argentinas to get to the vicinity, then transport arranged by Bahia Bustamante. Ash from a Chilean volcano resulted in several cancelled flights to Trelew from Buenos Aires; we were lucky enough to get on a flight to Comodoro Rivadavia and Catalina rearranged our ground transport, but this could have cost us a day or more if we had been less lucky. What I later learned is that the ash is a common problem in Trelew, but not so much of an issue at Comodoro Rivadavia. No one mentioned this to me beforehand, though.
Bottom line: we were glad to have experienced this place in Patagonia where penguins and sea lions are the only creatures in a crowd.

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank XuxaL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 15, 2012

My friend and I spent seven days at Bahia Bustamante and completely enjoyed this experience in the remote Patagonian landscape.

Given the uniqueness of what was on offer, the location and the distance to travel to the closest town for supplies, we felt it was appropriately priced for what was included. The beach front house was simple, clean and comfortable. In fact, it was probably a bit more luxe than we expected.

We loved that Matias and his team are passionate about the environment and focused on doing more to farm sustainably, protect the landscape and the varied wildlife of Bahia. And, they worked hard to share this with us. We felt that Matias, Tibor, Victoria and the team went out of their way to make our time really interesting and varied and they worked long hours to provide access to activities – eg. horse riding, extra walks, discussions about wild life and more.

There was plenty to do and a range of options was offered every day - you could be part of the morning or afternoon group trips or go it alone. You could walk, bike ride, search for rheas and other animals near the village, take a rather brisk but refreshing swim in clear waters or just hang out and read.

We were fortunate enough to see or do something new or different every day: sea lions close up with their mates, bones of a pilot whale, sea life, wander along the rock pools, walk for kilometres in the canyon and along the shore, visit the petrified forest, see guancos, rheas, birds (egrets, flamingos, ducks etc).

We both felt that the chef was quite creative with the choices of dishes offered, particularly given the challenges of what can be grown in this climate and the access to water. We did laugh with other guests about going into a 'food coma' at lunch, where all we wanted to do was go for a siesta. Must have been the seaweed ; )

While we met a lot of really interesting guests, one of the things that my friend and I were a little surprised about was the expectations of a couple of our fellow guests. It's a remote and isolated location and that's what's so different and exciting about it. You can't bring your city expectations to what we would call 'the bush'.

A watch out: if you are staying for five days or more, I would consider arranging a transfer as hiring a car proved to be more expensive and the road is a challenge for a small car. You can hire a car through Dubrovnik or Hertz.

Thanks Matias, TIbor and Victoria for a fantastic stay. As a traveller, if you are interested in doing something a little out of the ordinary this might be the place for you. We loved it and did some great stuff and met some really super people.

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank JB3000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 9, 2012

My husband and I just returned from a six day stay at Bahia Bustamante and really enjoyed our visit. It is a starkly beautiful area with diverse wildlife. We were seeking stress-free down time, and six days worked pretty well. That said, we would probably recommend four or five days as optimal.

Like many American visitors, we planned our trip after reading the New York Times article. Since we had a hard time finding much else written about it, we are posting some additional details here for those looking for more information.

Getting to Bahia Bustamante: You can drive from either Comodoro Rivadavia or Trelew. It is hard to find an automatic car and the daily rate is pretty high ($180+ per day). Bahia Bustamante offers scheduled transports on specific days, but the schedule was not set far enough in advance of when we had to make our travel arrangements. They will arrange a private (remise) driver roundtrip from either airport. We paid $566 roundtrip for two from Comodoro Rivadavia. The driver was prompt and polite. Our return to Buenos Aires was the popular 8:30 am flight, so he picked us up and 4:00 am and we napped for the 2 ½ hour ride back to Comodoro. We flew Aerolineas Argentinas and upgraded to Club Economy. Well worth the upcharge in increased comfort and carry-on allowance. Be sure to periodically check the flight times, as these changed dramatically for us and others.

We had intended to pick up wine at the supermarket in Comodoro, but it did not open until 9:30. We would recommend buying wine, colas, and assorted snacks there. You may want to ask the driver to arrive a little later if you want this option. He offered to wait, but we opted to go on.

Accommodations: There are ostensibly six sea houses at Bustamante. Four are the charming stand-alone blue and white houses you see in pictures with lounge beds beside them. They have small kitchen areas for heating water, etc. The other two seafront accommodations are part of a less attractive duplex that also faces the sea. That building is right next door to the dining room and people gather for activities in front of it. We were told the windows did not open and, without the cross breeze, it could get pretty warm. They do not have a kitchen or lounge chair and the baths have not been tiled. Housekeeping consists of making the beds and rinsing any glasses used. Wifi is available in the evenings (when the generator is on) but is sporadic, at best.

Activities: These are why we went and are easily worth the time and effort getting to Bahia Bustamante. I don’t have a lot to add to what you see on their website about the wildlife-oriented activities. I will note it is not the Galapagos and the wildlife is not in your face 24-7. But there is a lot of it. The two guides, Adrian and Tibor, are great. They know a lot and went out of their way to make sure guests had the best experience possible. The farm tours with (owner) Matias are also really enjoyable, if you like sheep and want to learn about the farming operations. We loved the petrified forest. Also offered were peninsula drives and walks, a tour of the seaweed operations, tour of the kitchen garden, and cooking demonstrations. We did everything available at least once and recommend all, without reservation.

Dining: From website language referencing lamb, mutton, and fish and impressions from the NY Times article, we thought that staying on a Patagonia sheep farm meant that meals would include, um, meat. We also thought that the heralded garden would equate with fresh vegetables. Wrong on both counts, to varying degrees. The menu is an overwhelming carb-fest of potatoes, pasta, and rice (mixed it up one night with a yummy lentil stew!). The chef (not the one mentioned in the Times article) is vegetarian, which may explain the general lack of meat. We did have small bits of meat in a few dishes and guanaco at a couple meals. More disturbingly, there were next to no green vegetables served all week. Luckily for us, they did a traditional lamb roast over open fire our last night and it was delicious. The chef does a nice job with presentation and the majority of the food was average to good (risottos and empanadas are lovely). Breakfast is cereal, toast, locally made jams, juice, and coffee/tea.

The NY Times article quotes Matias as saying the maximum guests at one time is fixed at 18. Most printed material sets annual visitors at around 400 total. We know that number was exceeded during our stay. Over six days, we saw 40-50 guests, with guests exceeding 18 in total as often as not. The boat ride can accommodate 18 and is pretty crowded at full capacity. There is not a lot to interest young children, so I would not recommend it for kids.

Again, we had a great time and are very glad we spent a week at Bahia Bustamante. It is a beautiful, peaceful place with great guides and amazing views of wildlife.

Room Tip: Ask for one of the stand-alone sea houses (not the duplex).
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  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank frweaver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 6, 2012

When we arrived in Bahia Bustamante it was relatively in the beginning of our road trip through Patagonia but I knew immediately that this will the center piece of our memory when remembering Patagonia.

the funny thing was, we chose this stay because we needed a bed to sleep between point A and point B on our way on Ruta 40. When arriving my girlfriend and me assumed we got lost after driving 30 km of heavy gravel track.The setting ,to be frank, looked odd at first glance. By accident the owner of the plot passed the gate driving a range rover which was packed with tourists. He was a charismatic guy in his early forties or so and introduced himself as Mathias and welcame us.

We checked in an realised and realised that we found a kind of nature paradise Moreover the room and the dining room all was styled Shaker-like. Then we get invented to accompany a group to go to a place called Pinguine Island. The likable guide was a absolutely and totaly dedicated to nature and eager to show every detail. W hen participating the group we were the only members not being US citicens. They all were attracted by an article about bahia bustamante published in The New York Times.

In the evening you share a table with other guests for a inspirated dinner. Afterwards you can drink a decent down to earth wine worth the money until the electric light stops at 12 o clock.

This place is much more than a place to sleep. You will love it.

  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank Sascha L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 9, 2011

If you haven't by now heard of this place, you are the only one who hasn't read the article in the New York Times (http://travel.nytimes.com/2011/03/06/travel/06bahia-bustamante.html?pagewanted=all).
I couldn't really say anything better myself, except that the staff are warm and friendly, and make all visitors feel welcome. This is special place, protected by its isolation, limited tourism, and attracting a certain type of visitor. In fact you don't really feel like a tourist here, but rather a welcome visitor spending time on a private family property in an amazing location surrounded by wildlife and a little luxury.

Room Tip: Sea front houses - there are only a hadnful, so book early
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  • Stayed: December 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank NataliePatricia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 20, 2011

We came across this "hosteria" by chance but it ended up being one of our best finds in our trip across the argentinean and chilean Patagonia. Few places are so unique, secluded and authentic as this one, where relaxation is almost mandatory. Without trying too hard, they capture the essence of what Patagonia is all about: nature!
Their houses are -litterally- footsteps away from the shore, so you will fall asleep while listening to the ocean. Their staff is very attentive and, since most of them live there with their own families, it really feels as if you were part of it. The food was amazing and we particularly enjoyed how they include all local products in their daily menu (even the algae that this Estancia historically produces) and the visit to their organic farm.
While staying here, we constantly had the feeling that we were part of something very special and unspoiled. Let's hope it stays this way for years to come!
The only con: we were only able to stay for one night! Hopefully we'll have the chance to return soon.

  • Stayed: April 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank jumi1974
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Bahia Bustamante Patagonia

Address: Patagonia Austral National Park- Chubut, Bahia Bustamante 9111, Argentina
Location: Argentina > Patagonia > Province of Chubut > Bahia Bustamante
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Bahia Bustamante
Price Range: $161 - $163 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Bahia Bustamante Patagonia 3.5*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Bahia Bustamante is a seaside village entirely surrounded by nature. It is located between Trelew and Comodoro Rivadavia, in the province of Chubut, Patagonia Argentina, an area characterized by its relevant biological biodiversity. There are few places in the world that house such an amount and diversity of seabirds and marine mammals, which is why it has been included in the new National Park "Patagonia Austral". Ideal for nature lovers, this place offers different activities such as bird and sea lion watching, visit to the petrified forest, to the seaweed industry, and to a typical Patagonian ranch, panoramic trekking, horseback riding, and mountain bike. Also, you can just relax and enjoy the most exclusive sandy beaches and crystal-clear water, surrounded by huge red rocks, in an atmosphere of incredibly different textures and colors. This remote and exclusive village on the Patagonian seaside offers you a completely different kind of place, full of peace and safety. It is important for you to know that in Bahia Bustamante we want to preserve the essence of the place and maintain a balance with nature. The old houses which used to belong to the first inhabitants were renovated to receive guests, always taking into account the austerity and simplicity which characterized lifestyle here from the beginning; thus keeping alive the spirit of those who arrived to these lands over 50 years ago.In Bahia Bustamante luxury is the chance to enjoy the vastness of nature which surrounds us. The aim of the experience is to connect with nature and with the authenticity of the village and its inhabitants ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bahia Bustamante Hosteria Hotel Bahia Bustamante

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