Crossing Argentina to Peninsula Valdes
Argentina is HUGE! We have spent a lot of time on the road slowly moving towards South and East on a bus… Just to cross the country from one side to the other one needs a day. But that gives you an amazing perspective on Patagonia and its size, its monotonous and dry landscape… Even if it’s long it’s still the best way to cross the country. We even saw the best rainbow ever!
One thing that surprised us was to find in a supposedly developed country like Argentina A LOT of police checkpoints – every entry in a big city has one and almost all of the cars have to stop and the passengers are asked for IDs. Sometimes even the bags have to be checked… It made us feel unsafe, just like in a war thorn country, or with high criminality rate… In all the countries that we have visited so far, from the less developed Myanmar or Laos, to dangerous Columbia we have never found that many police checkpoints – that definitively made us put Argentina on a lower level than those countries. Not trusting your citizens and controlling every move they make it’s definitely a sign of a country that still has big issues to solve.
We made all that long road just to cross the country from West to East and to meet the Atlantic Ocean after almost one year – we’ve missed you! The rendez-vous took place in the Valdes Peninsula, a Unesco World Heritage Site that is unique for its fauna and geology. Thousands of Southern Right Wales come here every year for the breathing season and it’s one of the best places in the world where one can see them. The 15m long, 50 ton giants often come close to the shore, and we were able to see them from the beach – even if it was from a considerable distance…
As a national reserve the Valdes Peninsula also offers a heaven of peace for hundreds of other species: condors and a lot of sea birds, guanacos – that look a little like vicuñas, the lama’s cousin- sea elephants and sea lions….aaaaand penguins! And October is the best season to visit as all of these animals are migrating here.
But once arrived here we were a little disappointed: Puerto Pyramides, the city in the center of the peninsula that is the departing point for most tours is small and extremely expensive. The people here seem to live only on tourists and their greed and unfriendly character is visible as soon as they take your money.
It’s quite easy to see the sea lions, as one colony is within walking distance from Puerto Pyramides. A lot of them just lied in the sun, not far from the babies, while some males tried their luck with the females, just to be confronted by the dominating males with loud sounds and ferocious bites.
In order to see the sea elephants we arranged with a guy that was living in the same hostel to get us there as he had a car. Sea elephants are a lot bigger than sea lions and are gray-yellowish; they cannot walk on the shore and just crawl in a really funny manner, while sea lions are able to stand on their four extremities. This time we got even closer, within a few meters from them on the beach. They’re massive, lazy and funny.
Unfortunately, we were not able to see any penguins that day, as the guy decided to go back to the hostel without telling us and then asked us for as much money as a complete tour of the peninsula, which of course we could not agree on.
We left the Peninsula with bad feelings and it is for sure that we will never come back!