Puerto Madryn & Peninsula Valdés
The highway South from Buenos Aires is flat, straight and almost completely devoid of any scenery, and compounded with extremely hot days I can’t help but make the comparison to rural Australia. I stop at Villa Gesell and pass through Mar Del Plata, a couple of extremely beautiful beach towns, absolutely crammed with Argentines on holiday. The beaches are quite literally standing room only, everyone partying their heart out.
The driving days are long, and good roads mean I’m able to make serious distances each day.
I spend a couple of days in the friendly town of Puerto Madryn, also packed with tourists, but not quite so fast paced. Peninsula Valdés is a nearby nature reserve that depending on the time of year plays host to sea lions, elephant seals, southern right wales, dolphins, penguins and even orcas that come very close to shore.
Over the course of a full day I cover the entire peninsula, checkout all the animals at this time of year and camp for the night in the beachside campground in the little community of Puerto Pirámide.
No doubt about it – this is summer, hot sun, beaches and all.
Gas shortages in Southern Argentina appear to be a common occurrence in summer and I’m almost constantly lining up, waiting to get what little is available. While waiting in one line of more than 50 cars I’m told the station has run out and I’ll have to move on to the next town, or wait until tomorrow, maybe even the next day. I keep my speed around 80km/h for the 110km to the next town and watching the gauge creep below the red empty zone passes the time quite effectively. Putting 70 liters into a 72 liter tank is probably cutting it a little fine, though somehow I seem to be constantly driving around on empty.
On the plus side, when there is gas, it’s around USD $0.80/liter, due to a “Southern Patagonia” subsidy.