Puerto Pirámides seems so far from everything, it is a village of 500 inhabitants, located on the Peninsula Valdés. We were not off to a great start… When arriving to Puerto Madryn, we missed the connecting but to Pirámides. We had found a time-table on the Internet dating from February 2017 and trusting it was our mistake. So there we were, at the bus station, after an 18 hours ride bus from Buenos Aires, and 95km away from our destination. After revising our not so multiple options, we opted for an expensive taxi ride. Just 1h30 later and 90 euros less in our wallet, we arrived in Puerto Pirámides, to the closed reception of our hostel. Only a paper on the door said “Cristian, your room is number 2. The keys are on the door”. Apparently Cristian had not arrived because the keys were still on the door.
We waited a fair amount of time before making Cristian’s room ours. It turned out later, that it was actually the room for us!
The Peninsula is huge (3,600km2) and mostly populated with wild lamas (Guanacos) and marine life. This time of year is low season, whales are on their way to arrive in June, Orcas might be seen in the north of the peninsula, Penguins have already started migrating south and Sea Lions are still present.
We arrived late afternoon and still on time to ask around to book a tour to visit the peninsula. What we did not know is that from the village itself, there are no excursions. The tours departures are only from Puerto Madryn. A boat trip was available to scuba dive, but for the luxurious price of 200 euros per person, and a 10km walk was possible from the centre to see wild Sea Lions. We were also told to speak with local people, in case some might offer taking us to the other side of the peninsula, which we did the same night in a restaurant. The waiter told us he knew someone who would take us on a tour, for 60 euros per person.
The next day, after a breakfast from the town gas station (only thing open at 10am, but that we took on the beach), while walking back to our hotel quite undecided on what to do for the next 2 days, is when we meet Zuzana and Marco. Zuzana is from Slovakia, she is researcher in astronomy and came to work 2 month in the Buenos Aires university of physics and attend a conference in Montevideo, Uruguay. Marco is from south Italy, he is an architect. He took 2 months sabbatical from the company he works in to come to Argentina with Zuzana.
We exchanged on the little knowledge we had from the town and options for sightseeing and thought the 4 of us had a better chance to get a good price on a tour. Walking back to the center, we asked in the same restaurant again, and a young man, Yosun, offered to take the 4 of us the next day wherever we wanted to go, for 120 euros. Half the price per person we were offered in the first place. As Zuzana said: “Fantastic”!!
We sticked together for the afternoon and embarked on a 10 km walk across the sand dunes to see the Sea Lions. It was quite the walk but really paid off when we started hearing the animals. The point of view was great, we stayed quite a while observing the few hundred of sea lions, lying there in the sun before making our way back.
The next day, we met Yosun at 8am. He was waiting for us with his car as promised, and after a breakfast at the gas station, we started our ride to Punta Norte the north part of the peninsula, hoping to see Orcas feed on Sea Lions. It was a long drive during which we stopped a few times to catch a good picture of Guanacos. But as Zuzana said, we only got “Lama ass pictures”.
We arrived at low tide which is not the best moment to see Orcas but the view was “Fantastic”. After a little while there, we continued our drive to Caldeta Valdés, on the extreme east side of the peninsula. We shad lunch there, we ate what we were able to buy from the empty shelves of the local store of Pirámides the day before. Zuzana and Marco had cream cheese and crakers. We had 2 cans of palm hearts and 1 can of sardines. Perfect combination! And of course Zuzana’s Oreos made the perfect dessert!
We did not see any Orcas in Caleta Valdés neither, but stayed quite a while to observe the laziness of wild seals.
At 3pm we made our way back to Pirámides, we needed to catch the bus at 6pm to Puerto Madryn and connect to Bariloche. We said goodbye to Zuzana and Marco who we really enjoyed meeting and spending those 2 days with!