Wildlife Co-existing at Caleta Valdés
Due to its specific geographic condition, Caleta Valdés is the colony that shelters the greatest diversity of sea mammals. Besides, it features dazzling viewpoints to observe their lifestyles.
The Valdés Peninsula has a thousand attractions all along its coastline on the Atlantic Ocean. Caleta Valdés is one of them and the excellent biodiversity of its fauna tempted us to pay a visit to this location.
Caleta Valdés Provincial Reserve was created in 1983 in order to protect the natural area where elephant seals and Magellanic penguins breed.
'Why do sea mammals use this site to take shelter for several months?', we wondered as curious tourists. Our guide informed us that the caleta is a lagoon enclosed by a 30-kilometer-long tongue of solid ground that runs from North to South and is made up of dirt, sand and gravel. The lagoon is connected to the ocean through a small inlet that brings in sea water with the tides. There are also several islands that give shelter to elephant seals when they are fulfilling a vital part of their reproduction cycle.
High abrupt cliffs provide the quietness they need. They arrive every year in August. The males first and then the females. They leave in November, after the females get pregnant.
But the elephant seals are not the only ones to dwell in this strip of Patagonian steppe. The beaches protected from the sea and the winds are also the proper environment for Magellanic penguins, sea lions and sea birds. The former build their caves on the sand bar itself and the killer whale is their main enemy. This mammal takes advantage of the peace of this habitat to take them by surprise.
While traveling the road that connects the various viewpoints, we could appreciate the different sea mammal families from the heights. The whole group provides a show second to none. Some of them are real giants whose weight surpasses one ton. They lie down in the sun or put up a fight against other males just to win their right over the females or to take care of their territory. It was an intense tour that left an imprint in our memories that would remain forever.
Mónica Pons / Jorge González
How to get here: From Puerto Madryn, travel 179 kilometers up to Caleta Valdés. It is located 77 km away from Puerto Pirámides, where Provincial Route 2 must be taken up to the Punta Delgada Lighthouse, where the final 40 km must be traveled along a detour to the left.
Bear in mind: Restaurant, restrooms, regional items gift shop and park ranger station complete this reserve.
Áreas Protegidas de Chubut
, (9120) , Puerto Madryn, Chubut
Tel: +54 280-4485271