From Mar del Plata to Puerto Madryn...
Puerto Madryn Travel Blog› entry 1 of 4 › view all entries
Right. Ready? Here the trip begins!!!
After 4 years thinking about it.. I finally left everything bahind and booked my flights with One World Explorer, an alliance of 10 Airlines (BA, Iberia, Lan, Finnair, American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, Japan Airlines, Malev and Royal Jordanian) to go around the World for a year!!
This ticket allows you to choose a combination betwenn 1 and 16 flights to get you around the World. It has different but very convienent prices, depending on the amount of continents you choose to visit, and is open for a year. Your initial sector can not be changed (unless you pay a penalty), but after your first flight, you can change any date and time unlimited times free of charge.
So, taken the flight on the 20th October, I flew with BA from London to Buenos Aires on a 16 hour flight, stopping in Sao Paulo just a few hours to refuel.
I did not go to Buenos Aires, as will be doing this at the end of my trip around Argentina but headed, instead, straight to the Atlantic Coast, where I have relatives living there. I think it was a good idea, first of all cause they were very happy to see me as much as I was to see them, and second because I could count on them a lot in matters of free accomodation, food and transport, which is a plus if you are going to be away for such a long time.
To get from Buenos aires to Pinamar I got a taxi from the airport to Retiro, the main terminal where all buses leave to any destination in Argentina and most of Latin America.
The best company to go to Pinamar with is called Grupo Plaza, although there are many others. The good thing about them is that they have a website where you can check times and prices and also book online (be aware that most onlines sales web pages in Argentina will only work with Internet Explorer).
Another option is to get the train, but is not that recommendable, as it takes longer and you may go on it like sardines in a tin!!, but it will save you about $25 (4 pounds).
I spent about a week with them, and really loved it. My aunt took me to a lot of nice villages around the Coast. Places I knew only when I was a child, but of which did not have a clear memeory. The best are : Pinamar, Carilo and Villa Gessell. Now, my opinion is: if you have time, visit them, as you will find Kms of beaches and a lot of nightlife going on. If you don't, try just to visit Mar del Plata, the biggest city on the Atlantic Coast ( of Argentina), or just head south from Buenos Aires.
Mar del Plata-Puerto Madryn
Ok, here is where the real trip begins!!
From Mar del Plata there is only one company that will take you all the way down to Puerto Madryn www.
There are many buses leaving from Buenos Aires, it takes about the same time and costs roughly the same. Don Otto again is one of the best, but a very useful website for bus transportation in Argentina is www.plataforma10.com . This website will give you any possible combination and prices, and the possibility to book online. They also have a lot of affiliated agencies around Argentina where you can book your tickets walking in.
31 Oct Puerto Madryn
Arrived here in the afternoon, and being a Hostelling International Member, stayed at El gualicho Hostel.
At the reception you can organize a day trip to visit the Peninsula Valdes, the main and probably only attraction of the area, where from Sep to Dec you can see Whales, Pinguins and Elephant Seals. The Peninsula is just to complement the whole day trip, but the main attraction are the Whales. If you book the whole day tour the cost is $250 and starts with a pick up at 8 am from the hostel.Puerto Madryn is a cosy but not very big town, although definitely good to stop and rest for a day or two, and have a good meal.
Madryn has got a lot of useful shops if you need to copy your pictures onto CDs or buy camping gears.
Peninsula Valdes and Puerto Piramides Tour ( Whale Watching):
8 am Pick up from the hostel
stop on the way to see the Interpretation Centre with loads of info about sea life
around 9.30 you get to Puerto Piramides and wait to get on a boat that will go for around 1.5 hours around the bay to see the Whales. It is unbelieveble how close they can get to them. They are huge and really beautiful to see and hear.
Return to Puerto Piramides with some time for a lunch break.
In the afternoon visit to the Peninsula where you can see pinguins and sea lions, as well as elephant seals. Occasionally you may get to see some killer whales!!
Many companies will organize this tour, but they all cost the same, so it may just be less hassle to book it at the hostel. The entrance to the Peninsula is not included, and taht is $45 for foreigners, or $14 for Argentinians.
Another option is to get a bus from the bus terminal for $17 return, plus entrance to the Peninsula, to Puerto Piramide, do the Whale Watching tour, hung around until the afternoon and get your bus back. Unfortunately there is only one bus a day leaving Madryn at 9 am and the same coming back at 18.30. The compny who operates this route is called Mar y Valle.