Puerto Madryn is a unique destination in Patagonia Argentina. This region in the south of the country is mostly known because of the beauty of Andes mountains, but Patagonia also has sea! That’s why I’ve put together this useful guide so you can discover the best things to do in Puerto Madryn.
In this post you will find:
- Where is Puerto Madryn
- How to get to Puerto Madryn
- Best things to do in Puerto Madryn
- Where to stay in Puerto Madryn
As an argentinian, I believe Puerto Madryn is one of the most beautiful places in my country and I want every traveler to experience it. It’s a unique destination for nature lovers as depending on the time of the year you travel you can get to see different animals like penguins, whales, dolphins, sea lions, guanacos and different kinds of birds. The city itself has a lot of charm and the connection to the ocean allows you to enjoy many activities on the beach.
Where is Puerto Madryn
Puerto Madryn is located in the eastern shore of Chubut province in Patagonia. Patagonia is a region in the south of Argentina which includes the provinces of Neuquén, Chubut, Río Negro and Tierra del Fuego.
Puerto Madryn is situated on the Golfo Nuevo, which is formed by the Península Valdés and Punta Ninfas. This makes the city an strategic point for tourists who visit this area for the natural attractions of the Península Valdés and the coast. This region is one of the best places in the world for whale watching.
How to get to Puerto Madryn
You can get to Puerto Madryn by plane, bus or car. If you’re traveling from Buenos Aires, you can get a direct flight from BA to the city of Trelew (located about 60 km from Madryn). The airport in Puerto Madryn is smaller and doesn’t receive many flights.
You can also get to Puerto Madryn by bus from almost any argentinian city. This is probably the cheapest option to get there.
HOW TO GET FROM TRELEW AIRPORT TO PUERTO MADRYN:
- Taxi: you can get on a taxi to Puerto Madryn just outside Trelew Airport.
- Renting a car: renting a car in Trelew is a great option. You can use the car to get to Puerto Madryn and also to explore the places near Puerto Madryn. I recommend booking your car via Rentalcars, a website that compares the prices of all rental companies and usually offers a lower price.
- Shared transfer: The best way to avoid worrying about anything is to book a transfer from the airport to your hotel in Puerto Madryn. The driver will wait for you at the airport, and drop you off at your hotel.
Best things to do in Puerto Madryn:
- Enjoy the beaches
Puerto Madryn is a great destination to visit in summer for its extensive beaches. Unlike other places on the Argentine Atlantic Coast, Puerto Madryn is within a gulf so the water is much calmer and not so freezing.
The downtown beach is super wide and during summer it can get crowded. Another beach that is a little further from the city is El Doradillo, where you can see the whales from the coast when it is sighting season and in summer enjoy the beach.
In addition to relaxing on the beach, there are several activities to do such as kitesurfing, windsurfing, kayaking and stand-up paddle.
- Walk along the waterfront
An ideal plan for sunset is to walk along Puerto Madryn waterfront which is very beautiful. In the center of the city you can find cafes, restaurants, souvenir shops, and more.
If you continue south along the waterfront you can get to the monument to the Indio Tehuelche, where many locals go to simply take a walk or have some mates (mate is a hot traditional drink) during sunset.
Visit the Ecocentro
Ecocentro is the perfect place to learn more about the ecosystem of Peninsula Valdés. There are temporary and permanent exhibitions with works of art and information on the fauna and flora of the region.
The Ecocentro is located on the south of the city and has very nice views of the ocean. The entry prices to the Econcentro are: ARS $600 general admission for adults, ARS $400 general admission for Argentine residents and ARS $210 for Puerto Madryn locals. For more information and to see updated prices visit the Ecocentro website.
Go Whale watching
From May to December southern right whales arrive to the coast of Patagonia. The waters around Puerto Madryn are one of the best places in the world to see this spectacular species up close.
It’s possible to see whales just from the shore from El Doradillo beach, which is just 30 minutes away from the city.
But for a real experience, head out on a whale watching tour, which is the most popular thing to do in Puerto Madryn. You can get to see these massive creatures surface just next to the boat.
Walk with penguins in Punta Tombo
This was the best thing I experienced in Puerto Madryn! Punta Tombo is a provincial reserve, home to a big colony of Magellanic Penguins. You can literally walk beside them along paths, in their natural habitat. It is a unique experience because you can get incredibly close to the penguins.
The best months to see the penguins at Punta Tombo are from September to July.
Punta Tombo is located about 180 km from the city of Puerto Madryn. If you have your own car you can get there riding the national route 3 to the south and then a few more kilometers on provincial route 75. If you don’t have a vehicle you can take a tour from Puerto Madryn:
Visit Punta Loma Reserve
Punta Loma Reserve is located about 15 km from Puerto Madryn within the protected area of the Valdés Peninsula and it’s where you can spot a big sea lion colony. You can see them on the beach from the top of the cliffs at the reserve. Punta Loma was the first reserve in Chubut, created in 1967. Apart from the sea lions you might also see seals, different birds and maybe even whales.
The access to the reserve is free of charge. You can get there with your own car or book a tour from Puerto Madryn. For those who want to be closer to the sea lions, there are also snorkeling and diving tours. You can learn more details at the following links:
- Visit Punta Pirámides in Península Valdés
Puerto Pirámides is a really tiny village which is the only town within the Valdes Peninsula Nature Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is located about 100 km away from Puerto Madryn.
Punta Pirámide is just 5 km away from the village and it is a unique natural place which is especially popular during summer (December-March). During whale season this is an ideal location for spotting whales from high cliffs.
The road from Puerto Madryn to Puerto Pirámides isn’t completely paved so sometimes even those who have a vehicle prefer to take a tour to get there.
There is an entrance fee to enter Peninsula Valdes protected area so it’s important to know if the tour you book includes this entrance or you will have to pay it at the actual entrance of the reserve.
These are the entrance fees to the Peninsula Valdés Natural Protected Area (updated in September 2019):
– Foreigners over 12 years old: ARS $850.
– Foreigners between 6 and 11 years old: ARS $430.
– National residents over 12 years old: ARS $430.
– National residents between 6 and 11 years old: ARS $220.
– Argentine retirees and pensioners over 60 years: ARS $220.
– Chubut residents (any age): ARS $130.
– Children under 5 years (any nationality): Free.
To see the updated prices visit Peninsula Valdes official website.
Back in the late 1800s a group of Welsh immigrants moved to Patagonia. They built up the small village of Gaiman which has a population of nearly 5000 people and still maintain their traditions.
Gaiman is located about 80 km from Puerto Madryn and it is common for people to visit it to taste an authentic Welsh tea. The most famous tea house is Ty Te Caerdydd, which was visited by Princess Lady Di in 1995.
Visit the Museum of Paleontology Egidio Feruglio
This museum is located in Trelew city which is just 60 km from Puerto Madryn and makes it perfect for a day trip.
Patagonia is home to some of the most remarkable dinosaur fossils discovered, and the best place to see them all is at this museum. It’s a great place to visit if you have kids. You can check the official museum site for updated prices and opening times.
Where to stay in Puerto Madryn
Puerto Madryn offers a great range of accommodation, from backpacker hostels to luxury hotels. These are some places I recommend to check out:
- $ – HI Patagonia Hostel: HI is always my first option when it comes to hostels because the staff is always great. Hi Patagonia Hostel has a perfect location, just two blocks from the beach. Check out the latest prices and more details.
- $$ – Australis Yene Hue: This is where my family and I stayed a few years ago. It is a mid-range hotel located just on the main street. Most of the rooms have a great view of the sea. This hotel is perfect for couples and families. Check out the latest prices and more details.
- $$ – AirBnB is always a good idea. If you prefer to have your own apartment, you can find some really cool places in downtown Puerto Madryn on AirBnB.
Atlantic coast, beach, fauna and nature in its purest state. Puerto Madryn region is a privileged place in our country which I strongly encourage to visit. If you have any other questions please feel free to email me or leave a comment below!
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