PUERTO MADRYN, CHUBUT, ARGENTINA
PUNTA TOMBO Duration: 8 hours
Punta Tombo is the largest continental Magellan penguin colony with half a million arriving at these breeding grounds every year. Therefore we will need to bring along our sense of adventure, love of nature and willingness to travel long distances as we embark on this adventure, focusing on Patagonia’s wildlife and rugged coastal scenery.
Our journey will begin with a two-and-a-half hour drive covering a distance of approximately 124 miles through the typical arid land of the Patagonian Plateau to the Punta Tombo Natural Reserve. Along the way, we must keep a watch for wildlife sightings of nandus, herds of guanacos, hares, gulls, cormorants and other native birds.
Each year, approximately 800,000 Magellan penguins come to Punta Tombo to hatch and raise their young. As we walk along the park’s trails, we’ll have the rare opportunity to observe and photograph these tiny creatures at close quarters.
On our return journey back to our ship we will make a short stop at the Gaiman Village for Welsh tea.
GAIMAN + WELSH TEA Duration: 4.5 hours
Although many years have passed since Welsh settlers first arrived on these shores, over 80,000 valley descendants remain staunchly proud of their original homeland’s tradition and heritage. Here is a unique opportunity for us to become acquainted with this “little Wales beyond Wales”.
To begin this tour we will set off from the pier across the arid, rather flat, Patagonian countryside for the quaint village of Gaiman. During the course of our one-and-a-half hour journey by coach, we will pass the city of Trelew before arriving in Gaiman, located in the lower river valley of the Chubut River. Gaiman is said to be the most authentically Welsh settlement in the whole of the Patagonia and is the perfect place for us to experience Patagonia’s Welsh heritage.
As our coach makes its way through the streets of Gaiman we will discover the attitude that characterised the area’s first inhabitants. The town maintains its village essence and boasts red brick cottages, watering channels, tiny tea rooms and families still proudly carrying traditional Welsh names.
Perhaps the highlight of this tour to Gaiman will be the typical Welsh afternoon tea that will be served at a traditional tea house accompanied by home-made scones, cakes, breads and tasty jams.
Following our refreshment break we will re-board our coach to make our journey back to our ship.
PUNTA LOMA + ECOCENTRIC Duration: 3.5 hours.
Departing the quayside we shall have a short city tour of Puerto Madryn before heading west to Punta Loma for a glimpse of coastal wildlife and to view the resident colony of sea lions. There is one viewing area with plenty of room behind the platforms for us all to watch the sea lions at play and rest.
After an approximate 30 minute stop at Punta Loma we will continue on to the Ecology Centre. The centre has interactive displays about the natural history of the region. If we wish, we are able to sit on the panoramic terrace to observe the landscape and we are able to purchase refreshments at our own expense before our short return journey back to our ship.