About halfway between Buenos Aires and Cape Horn, the South Atlantic narrows between the Peninsula Valdés and Cape Punta Ninfas to the Golfo Nuevo. The port city of Puerto Madryn, with a population of more than 80.000, is located on this sheltered bay.
Puerto Madryn skyline
It is the third largest city in the Argentine province of Chubut and the center of a subordinate administrative district. Chubut is one of five provinces in Argentina located in Patagonia. Puerto Madryn was founded by Welsh immigrants who settled in the region in 1865. Previously only indigenous Tehuelche Indians lived there.
Center - Av Julio Argentino Roca
Economic and cultural aspects
The pillars of the regional economy are Aluar, the only aluminum factory in Argentina based in Puerto Madryn, and fisheries. A small regional airport connects the city with Buenos Aires. The National University of Patagonia and other educational institutions have locations in Puerto Madryn. Tourism is of growing economic importance. The city also has a beautiful, long city beach. Thanks to many sunny days and pleasant water temperatures, it is a destination for sun worshipers and diving enthusiasts.
Aluar - the only aluminum smelter in Argentina
Useful information for cruise ship guests
Large cruise ships dock at Muelle Almirante Storni. Free shuttle buses take passengers to the city center, around five kilometers away. Smaller ships occasionally dock at the Luis Piedra Buena Pier in the city center. Independent tour operators are waiting at the jetties for those guests who refrain from boat tours. As usual, their offers are well below the price demands of the ships. In Puerto Madryn in particular, taxi drivers make interesting offers. However, communication problems cannot be ruled out. The taxi drivers are in the city center opposite the shuttle bus stop. Dispatchers regulate the distribution of passengers.
Puerto Madryn's significant natural heritage
Behind the city rises the hilly landscape of the Patagonian Meseta. The predominantly dry climate and sometimes strong winds created a steppe-like bush landscape. Visitors can expect a natural paradise and largely intact marine fauna with sea lions and elephant seals, dolphins and whales as well as various species of birds on land.
Puerto Madryn's top sights
Puerto Madryn is the gateway to the more than 3.625 square kilometer Valdés peninsula. This region has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999. Sea lions, elephant seals and other wild animals live in the seclusion. Valdés is also the starting point for boat excursions for whale watching. Whales come to the sheltered bay between May and December to calve and raise their young.
The one-way distance between Puerto Madryn and Valdés is more than 100 kilometers. Taxi drivers are offering the "Peninsula Completa" for the period 2018/2019 for 250 US dollars. A bargain if several fellow travelers share the price. The cruise companies collect rather insane prices for the day tour including lunch at a ranch.
About 180 kilometers south of Puerto Madryn, hundreds of thousands of Magellanic penguins populate the penguin colony of Punta Tombo. The animals are extremely trusting. Visitors pass their nests on laid out paths without the birds feeling disturbed. And even guanacos, the ancestral form of the llamas, show up in Punta Tombo.
In the 2018/2019 period, a taxi ride to the penguin colony will be charged at $ 200. The length of stay on site is 45 minutes.
Not even 20 kilometers south of the city is the Punta Loma nature reserve with a large sea lion colony. The adult and semi-adult ear seals and a large colony of Magellanic cormorants can be viewed from two observation points all year round.
In the 2018/2019 period, taxi tours will be offered for $ 50. The length of stay on site is also 45 minutes.
In Madryn's modern EcoCentro, research results on the southwestern Atlantic and its inhabitants are presented in an interesting way. Visitors learn, for example, how the southern right whales reproduce or how dolphins communicate with each other.
Admission: 400 Argentine pesos (approx. 9,50 euros).
The Museo Provincial de Ciencias Naturales Y Oceanografic shows numerous prepared land and sea creatures through fascinating exhibitions.
In Parque Histórico Punta Cuevas you can see the rock dwellings of the first colonists from Wales. Of interest are a small museum and the El Indio monument. It is dedicated to the Tehuelche Indians of Patagonia.
From the Luis Piedra Buena Pier in the city center, ships go whale watching in season. In the Argentine summer, the marine mammals stay near land. The chances of whale sightings are good.
Excursion boat at Luis Piedra Buena Pier
Nearby nature reserves
About 15 kilometers north of Puerto Madryn is the nature reserve of El Doradillo. Southern right whales can be found near the beach between June and October. Lookout points were set up for observation.
Even if the cityscape itself offers little worth seeing, the monuments shown below are hard to miss.
Puerto Madryn - beach life
South of the Luis Piedra Buena pier is a kilometer-long beach with a beach promenade. There are ideal conditions for a few hours on the water. Well-tended beach bars enrich the beach stay.