October through early December, endangered Southern Right whales and their calves cruise the sheltered waters of Gulfo San Jose, located between the peninsula and the Patagonian mainland, where we navigate unobtrusively in our kayaks for close encounters with the whales, elephant seals, Magellanic penguins, southern sea lions, and dolphins.
The whales come here for mating and giving birth, because the protected water in the gulf is quieter and warmer than in the open sea. It’s the best place in the world to watch the nursing mothers and their playful calves up close from the shore and your kayak. Breaching, fin-slapping and tail-lobbing, the highly social whales will captivate your attention with their behavior.
Our introduction to Argentina begins with an overnight stay in the cosmopolitan city of Buenos Aires, often called the cradle of tango, before transferring to the airport the following morning for our southbound flight to Patagonia.
We offer two different itineraries for you to observe the Southern Right whales and discover Patagonia’s diverse, fascinating ecosystem of windswept steppes, unique wildlife, and dramatic coastline. Our Patagonia Whales & Kayaks 8- and 12-day itineraries include camping at a secluded beach at the center of whale activity that is also a research area for a local whale conservation organization. It is the perfect place to see the whales as they surface and blow right in front of our camp!
On shore your guides will take you hiking to fossil-rich rock formations and beaches strewn with ancient shells. Nights are spent camping out on the beach and dining on local shrimp, scallop and drinking Malbec wine while tender beef and piles of sausages sizzle on a wood-fired grill. Afterwards, the hollow resonating blows of the whale lull you to sleep.
Both itineraries feature a visit to a nearby Magellanic penguin colony before an evening of dinner and lodging at Estancia Rincon Chico, a historic turn-of-the-century sheep ranch located in the park. The final highlight of our tour is visiting the only elephant seal rookery on the South American continent before leaving Peninsula Valdes for our last night accommodation in Puerto Madryn.
On our final day, we are transferred to the airport for our return flight to Buenos Aires and homeward. You'll bring home a lifetime of memories.
Our advice: Spend a day in Buenos Aires (most international flights come through here) before and after your trip.
The world's largest population of Southern right whales. Visits to a Magellanic Penguin colony and an elephant seal rookery. Overnight in Estancia Rincon Chico, a landmark Patagonian estate.
A video and DVD of this tour is available. Please call us for a copy.