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Peninsula Valdés picture in Argentine Patagonia
longhorndave / Flickr

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  • Natural Wonders, Sightseeing, Tours Type
  • Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.2
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  • Value
    4.0
  • Facilities
    3.0
  • Atmosphere
    4.5

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Skirting Atlantic Patagonia's eastern coast line, Peninsula Valdés is a marine wildlife refuge for endangered species such as orcas, elephant seals, Magellanic penguins, sea lions, and guanaco. Lined with powdery beaches and staggered cliffs, this natural reserve has garnered attention as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999. For optimal wildlife-watching, you'll want to visit Puerto Pirámides.

Recent travelers praise their close encounters with Magellanic penguins at Peninsula Valdés. "Puerto Pirámides is a spectacle of sea species, with sea lions, sea wolves, whales and penguins. It is impossible not to fall in love with them," says one TripAdvisor user.

You may visit Peninsula Valdés without a tour, but some areas along the beach are restricted unless you enter with a certified naturalist. You can drive or hop on a Mar y Valle public bus from Puerto Madryn to Puerto Pirámides for $16.50 ARS (about $3.75) each direction. There are also plenty of guided tours offered from Puerto Madryn. Travelers suggest Whales Patagonia, a boat tour that takes visitors to pristine whale-watching vantage points. For more information, consult the Whales Patagonia Tour website (written in Spanish).

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#1 Argentine Lake District Stretching across northwestern tip of Argentine Patagonia sits the picturesque Lake District. Sandwiched between the Andes mountains with Chilean Patagonia to the west and Atlantic Patagonia to the east, the ... Read more » Fede Nuñez, Pixelado*Photo_Pro / Flickr

John Spooner / Flickr

#3 Atlantic Patagonia This beautiful Patagonian region (which skirts the Atlantic Ocean and sits just east of the Lake District and above Southern Patagonia) consists of wildlife havens and quaint Welsh villages. Here ... Read more » longhorndave / Flickr

#4 Perito Moreno Glacier At the southern tip of Glacier National Park in Southern Patagonia sits one of the region's most magnificent glaciers, Perito Moreno. Unlike 95 percent of Earth's glaciers that ... Read more » pclw / Flickr

#5 Punta Tombo Roughly half a million Magellanic penguins flock to Punta Tombo every year to mate. Located about two hours south of Puerto Madryn by car in Atlantic Patagonia, Punta Tombo contains ... Read more » furlin / Flickr

longhorndave / Flickr

#7 Cave of the Hands (Cueva de las Manos) This bizarre Patagonian cave remains shrouded in mystery. Its walls exhibit three distinctive styles of cave art linked to a hunter-gatherer society that flourished in Argentine Patagonia around 10,000 ... Read more » longhorndave / Flickr

longhorndave / Flickr

#9 Estancia Cristina Founded in the early 1900s by English pioneer and cattle farmer Joseph Percival Masters, Estancia Cristina offers both impressive views and excursions. Sitting next to Glacier National Park in Southern ... Read more » Courtesy of Estancia Cristina

#10 Egidio Feruglio Paleontology Museum This paleontological museum transports visitors to pre-historic Patagonia with four galleries that display over 1,700 fossils. Named after Egidio Feruglio—an Italian paleontologist who studied Patagonia's ancient Cretaceous ... Read more » Agamitsudo / Flickr

#11 Cerro Catedral Ski Resort If you come to Patagonia to ski, this buzzing Andes resort in Argentina's Lake District boasts experienced instructors, spectacular vantage points and an array of outdoor trails. But downhill ... Read more » Dave Lonsdale / Flickr

#12 Horseback Riding Some say there's no better way to navigate Patagonia than on horseback. Ever since guachos (cowboys) first steered their sturdy steeds through Southern Patagonia's rugged terrain, horseback riding ... Read more » Alex E. Proimos / Flickr

Argentine Lake District picture in Argentine Patagonia
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Mount Fitz Roy picture in Argentine Patagonia
Cueva de las Manos picture in Argentine Patagonia
Peninsula Valdés picture in Argentine Patagonia
Estancia Cristina picture in Argentine Patagonia
Egidio Feruglio Paleontology Museum picture in Argentine Patagonia
Cerro Catedral picture in Argentine Patagonia
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Argentine Lake District picture in Argentine Patagonia
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Atlantic Patagonia picture in Argentine Patagonia
Perito Moreno picture in Argentine Patagonia
Punta Tombo picture in Argentine Patagonia
Mount Fitz Roy picture in Argentine Patagonia
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Peninsula Valdés picture in Argentine Patagonia
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Egidio Feruglio Paleontology Museum picture in Argentine Patagonia
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Fede Nuñez, Pixelado*Photo_Pro / Flickr

John Spooner / Flickr

longhorndave / Flickr

From viewing platforms on Perito Moreno's southern border, travelers marvel at the glacier's spectacular ice formations. pclw / Flickr

furlin / Flickr

longhorndave / Flickr

The Cave of Hands (Cueva de las Manos), features handprints and vivid drawings speculated to have been etched in approximately 10,000 BCE. longhorndave / Flickr

Named after the first European explorer to navigate and chart the strait, Magellanic penguins flock every year to Patagonia's Peninsula Valdés and Punta Tombo. longhorndave / Flickr

Courtesy of Estancia Cristina

Agamitsudo / Flickr

Dave Lonsdale / Flickr

At El Calafate's cattle ranches in Southern Patagonia, you'll find majestic horses saddled up and ready to transport riders across the district's rustic terrain. Alex E. Proimos / Flickr

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