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HOSPITAL REYES  CATÓLICOS

In the province of Chubut is the Valdes Peninsula declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. It is a wonderful place where you can walk with the penguins, get wet with the whales, ride with the Patagonian wind and reach with your finger the beauty of its sunrises.

Texts and photos Guillermo Cachero

Chubut - Peninsula Valdes, Argentina ,Ballena en Puerto Piramideg

It is located 1400 kilometers from Buenos Aires and 77 kilometers from Puerto Madryn. From Buenos Aires you can go both by plane and bus. Bus trips last 12 hours and are usually done at night, as they are economical and have reclining seats like those of the first class of airplanes. Many usually opt for this means of transport, since this saves a hotel night.

From Puerto Madryn you can rent a vehicle, with or without a driver, or hire an excursion that runs throughout the Valdes Peninsula to Puerto Pirámide where you can see the whales.

The first thing you can see, before entering the peninsula, is the Carlos Ameghino Isthmus, a narrow strip of land from which you can glimpse on one side the San José Gulf and the New Gulf on the other side. Later you can access the reservation center where the necessary information is available to start the circuit.

Chubut - Peninsula Valdes , Argentina, osos marinos y focas en Puerto Madrin

Peninsula Valdes is a place for those looking to know the life of these species in their natural habitat. From here you can observe geographical spaces with the most exciting natural scenes developed without restrictions. This place captivates the eyes of tourists throughout the tour.

In order to enter, the entrance of the reservation must be paid and a wildlife guard team will provide the necessary information to make the tour without missing any secrets. With about 400,000 hectares of land and another 176,000 hectares of sea, it manages to house a great biodiversity of flora and fauna unique in the world. Within the same peninsula there are other protected natural areas such as Bird Island, Pyramid Point, Valdés Cove, Punta Norte and Punta Delgada, where it is possible to appreciate different marine species as the main attraction and a great diversity of birds and terrestrial fauna among guanacos, foxes, choiques, martinetas, maras and European hares.

Pictures What scenarios characterize this southern region of the Atlantic coast where the visitor can feel true contact with nature.

Ballena en Puerto Pirámide Argentina
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Although it is characterized by strong winds, the difference is made by the greater number of sunny days and little rain that allow, since September, to enjoy the crystal clear waters.

The Valdes Peninsula nature reserve is one of the privileged habitats that the southern right whale uses to reproduce. The sighting season begins in the first days of June and lasts until December.

Puerto Pirámides is a town with a small shopping center where you can buy handicrafts and souvenirs. It is ideal for observing changing dunes and skies. This tourist village, due to its island condition, allows access to the colossal whales by boats or gomons.

The southern right whale comes to this port to reproduce, in the season from May to December. The largest number of copulations occur during the first half of the season, with their peak in September. Copulation is preceded by a highly active procession during which several males surround the same female, whose attitude is usually to avoid sexual siege

Placing his belly on top. Faced with this attitude, two or more males cooperate by joining forces and strategy to force the female to turn until she is left with her belly down and, in this way, be copulated by one of the males.

The main characteristic of this whale is the presence of calluses in the head, which are thickenings of the skin colonized by external parasites (cyamides or whale lice). This gives them a rough appearance and a yellowish color. The size, shape and distribution of calluses allows individual identification. Another peculiarity that allows this species to be differentiated from other whales is that it has no dorsal fin. 

The head is large in proportion to the body (represents one third of the total length of the whale) and has a large mouth of exaggerated curvature.

Right whales are permanently exhibited. Unlike other whales, this species spends a lot of time on the surface showing its tail, fins and back. However, as with an iceberg, it is difficult to fully imagine the shape of a whale when we only see a small part of its body.

The Valdés cove

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The Valdés cove is one of the best places where the traveler can observe penguins and elephant seals. It is located on the western side of the Valdes Peninsula. It is accessed from Puerto Pirámide by Provincial Route No. 2, passing through Punta Delgada lighthouse and turning left to travel the final 40 kilometers until you can see the portion of land.

Caleta Valdés is a thin strip of land about 30 kilometers long that encloses a portion of sea connected to the surrounding ocean, through a small mouth. This mouth, years ago, had almost 600 meters of opening, but it has been gradually closing for 8 years, and now it has a width of 150 meters. At the moment the cove is advancing south and, according to studies that have been developed in the region, it is estimated that by the end of 2021 it will join the continent. In this cove are sea lions that were about to become extinct by the killings in search of their skin and fat. They are currently protected.

It is in places like this where, at the beginning of August, the first adult males begin to arrive. After taking over a beach area, they gather as many females as possible to organize a harem. During the breeding season, males remain unfed, subsisting with their fat reserves acquired on the high seas.

The cove also houses numerous populations of Magellanic penguins, who build their caves on the tongue of land that separates the inner lagoon from the sea.

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