Saturday, December 24, 2011

Puerto Madryn: Lots of cool wildlife to see! but not for the thrifty backpacker..

We spent four days in Puerto Madryn, which is a town founded by Welsh settlers who came over from Britain wanting to preserve their Welshy ways. The town was interesting. When first coming in it's not so nice looking, very cementy, but down more toward the beach and touristy bits it was pretty cute. It took us around 15 hours to get from Buenos Aires to PM and we had the top front seats with the nice view aaand we were told it was a half bed seat but it was really a full bed seat! Not only that but we stopped at a rest stop and were able to get a sit down dinner of raviolis included in the ticket!
Anyway, we pulled into PM and did not have a hostel so spent almost an hour in the bus terminal trying to figure out one to go to. There was a sign up with prices but when calling we found out the prices were higher. We chose one called Don't Worry Be Happy because it  was $12 a night but it was very cramped and didn't have a nice vibe to it so immediately we went looking for another hostel to book into the next day and we found one called Hi Patagonia which seemed  to have an awesome vibe. Then we walked along the beach to check out a campsite that was another possibility but it turned out to be not so nice for the price they wanted. It was also located in the spot where the Welsh first landed and there were remains of the caves they dug out to live in.
The next day we moved into the new hostel and it was so much better! although $17 a night it was worth it. To be able to see the wildlife in the area you either need to do it through a booked tour or you can go see them in your own car. So if you're a backpacker you pretty much have to use a tour. They have such a monopoly on the whole thing that you can't get a local bus to get to any of the reserves and the tours are expensive!! We thought we could do it cheaper by finding two other people and renting a car, so the second day we were there was a beach day/info gathering day. There is a peninsula there called Valdez which has Southern Right Wales and Orcas and sea lions and little black and white dolphins only found here and guanacos (like llamas) and Magellin Penguins. There is also a place called Punta Tumbo where there is a huge colonies of Magellan Penguins and that's where I wanted to go. After running around like crazy trying to rent a car we realized it was to risky, someone had to put it on their credit card and if something happened it would be alot of money to fix, and things could happen on those stone roads so in the end we did take the tour to see the penguins for $60. Also included was a stop in a town with Welsh tea houses and in another town with a museum about the dinosaurs of the area. We didnt' go into either of those though because we are penny pinching backpackers but the penguins are soo cute!!! The babies had hatched last month so they were about and the parents were taking turns watching them and going to the sea to eat and get fat to feed the babies. We saw one penguin coming back from the sea so fat that he was extra waddling and had to stop to take a break. Our guide told us that Sept is the best month to visit it all because all the animals are out and active. The whales are around and the penguins are fighting for nests and the male elephant seals visit their harems..

Bus ridin
Good museum to see

The Beach

Old Welsh cave

Ash in the sky floating over from the volcano in Chile


hum dee dum, just another tourist

The coloney by the beach, we had to stay behind the rocks

The last two days we were here got pretty chilly. It was funny to think we were on the beach the first two days and then wearing jackets the second two! We spent five days there and don't have too much to show for it but it was a great hostel so it was ok!

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