The Patagonian Atlantic Coast essentially is about driving thousands of kilometers to get up and close with mostly marine wildlife every now and then.
This time we were prepared for some of the most boring roads this planet has to offer. We reached the Atlantic coast on a straight back road from El Calafate. Further up to the Uruguayan border that is roughly 4000km in about 2 weeks in total.
Parque Nacional Monte León
Our first stop was the Pingüinera in Parque Nacional Monte León. Here we almost stumbled over some Magellanic penguins that had set up their nests on the well-marked footpath.
San Julián - Camino Costero
A short 30km gravel road leads along the coast north of San Julián. A colony of sea lions can be observed here when looking down from the cliffs.
Some sections close to the sea were still wet. We just escaped the muddy mess because we noticed the problem soon enough.
Cabo dos Bahías
Another lesser known Pingüinera is located at Cabo dos Bahías near Camarones. Here a pedestrian overpass is built to avoid disturbing the wildlife. For some reason many Magellanic penguins find some shelter underneath the bridge-like construction. So we literally stepped on the penguins heads.
Gaiman (as well as nearby city Trelew and other villages) were established by Welsh immigrants in the 19th century. While some of the old brick houses clearly display their origins, the village itself is not really pretty. The reason to come here is to visit one of the traditional Welsh tea houses.
While Península Valdés was supposed to be a highlight for wildlife watching, it turned out to be a rather disappointing experience. Camping on the peninsula itself is no longer tolerated. So we had to stay at the municipal camping in Puerto Pirámides. Furthermore, some road sections and observation points were closed. The Orcas that roam around this region from February to April did not show up, they had last been seen 6 days ago. So we ended up doing a lot of driving only to see another, albeit large, sea lion colony.
We got to see some of the very best sunsets almost every night.
El Cóndor sports one of the largest parrot colonies nesting in the cliffs right at the sea. We camped at the top of the cliff right beside the Malvinas war memorial. And indeed, at sunset, and even more so at sunrise, countless parrots were flying above our heads.
Sierra de la Ventana
This small mountain range is not exactly spectacular but a nice change for the sheer fact of having driven 3000 km on flat land and straight roads to arrive here.