The quaint tourist village of Puerto Piramides, the Argentine capital for marine mammal observation, with a population of approximately 500 individuals, is the only town within the Valdes Peninsula Nature Reserve and UN World Heritage Site. Nestled into a hidden and protected corner of the Patagonian coast, Puerto Piramides is the ideal base for organizing close encounters with the abundant fauna of the region.The geographic and climactic characteristics of the Peninsula harbor a vast biodiversity that includes the annual visitation of marine mammals, birds and fish, visits that have taken place over the last several million years.
These varied species have chosen the calm and protected geographic anomaly that is the Valdes Peninsula, in an otherwise crude and windswept Patagonia, to mate, give birth and raise their offspring.Here I share a photo I made in Puerto Piramides with the relative motion of the stars. The rock in the picture is the Punta Olazabal, is located at the end of the second descent to the sea.A powerful cliff that closes the Bay of Puerto Piramides, pictured framed by millions of stars that surround it, over time.
I captured the following image from the Panoramic Apartment offered at Del Nomade one early sunrise in fall. I have prepared a gallery of photographs taken from this apartment. The best sunrises, moonrises, sunsets and other simply incredible moments I have experienced there, in this special space. I hope you enjoy the images.Puerto Piramides has a volunteer fire department, a rural hospital and civil defense personnel, which has 24-hour assistance. They instruct and assist the population and visitors about safety and health routes within Valdes Peninsula.It also has since 2015 with the AGB (Whalers Guides Association), as its name suggests, brings together sailors and captains working on whale watching. In it begin to conferences and workshops free entry for a bargain price which allows stakeholders, residents of Puerto Piramides, Puerto Madryn, Trelew and tourists to know more about the land we walk and environment, often ignored . Participation in the different cycles have a diploma that certifies the assistance.
Puerto Piramides, a meeting with wildlife
Seduced by an abundance of wildlife, the last several decades have been witness to our arrival, in the form of adventurers, scientists, documentary film makers, wildlife photographers and the devoted pilgrims who come to see wild animals in their pristine natural environment. Travelers from around the world congregate in this small town year after year.Over the last couple of decades living in, exploring and photographing this privileged coast, I have learned to observe, listen and continually understand more about the infinite details that lay preserved in the arid and solitary steppe lands at the end of the earth.To feel oneself as an active observer, as part of this immense natural theatre, transforms the moment into a pure and permanent experience. Without the need for imagination, an encounter with prehistory becomes real life adventure. A scene unchanged, as it was millions of years ago, makes today a day just like in the Cenozoic Era.Our local rhythm is an aggregate of experiences far from the parameters of urban existence, where the constant and integral presence of nature is part of life. This characteristic converts Puerto Piramides into a magical destination, with a unique and personal identity…while the conversations continue between Captains, Deck hands, Whale Guides, Biologists, Park Rangers, Divers, Gauchos, Geologists, Professional and Amateur Photographers, Tourists and Public Employees. In general, the daily activities that we carry out as members of this small village are directly related to Whale Watching Tours, Diving with Sea Lions, Kayak Excursions, Mountain Biking, Horse-back Riding, Interpretive Coastal Hikes, amongst others. Providing a parallel world where life flows through and is nurtured by nature in constant reverie with the surroundings. Usually arrived from other locations of Argentina, we created over the last 30 years,this tourist village. Joining in those early settlers, cowboys who lived in a remote and inhospitable landscape of Patagonia Coast for generations, working on sheep shearing and the work that life in the countryside still claim.
This cultural melting does give Puerto Piramides unparalleled identity. A rich cultural cocktail that blends ancient traditions and current.From December to March the beaches attract vacationers who enjoy the sun, sand and sea, endless days and cloudless. It’s incredible to see how the end of December, the last whales leave the Gulf and changes suddenly the tourist interests.During the first three weeks of January the campground and the entire town is swarmed by tourists, most of them on summer vacation from school or university and other local families from the nearby cities of Trelew, Puerto Madryn, Rawson and Comodoro Rivadavia. Puerto Piramides and its bay are transformed into a beachtown for those seeking sun, sand, heat and the intensity and liberty that only summer can offer. For the most part these vacationers have little interest in the amazing and bountiful wildlife that surrounds them. The holidays and first three weeks of January obligate those that have come specifically for nature and the local fauna to coexist with these summering masses.Every evening, the few bars and restaurants, scattered along the only avenue that runs through Puerto Piramides, Whales Avenue ( Avenida de las Ballenas) provide the ideal space for nocturnal encounters. Sharing the day´s adventures is nearly tradition, creating a continuum from one experience to the next.Going over and reliving the details of the day while eating local scallops, fish and a fresh salad, accompanied with a glass of good Argentine wine or local artisan beer more than justifies a late night. While the immense sky invites a detour to the sand dunes or the beach before returning to your room. A short walk and a little observation will transport you into an intergalactic journey.
The universe has a natural observatory in Puerto Piramides. A tourist village, surrounded by unattainable horizons A destination where it is easy to escape the electric lights, trying to turn off the infinite, illuminating the street.The beach and dunes become ideal places for contemplation in absolute solitude and silence. The power of nature is demonstrated in every corner.On a personal level I make an effort to experience each sunrise of each new day in Puerto Piramides. Feeling the energy rising up out of the obscurity just before the aurora of dawn is a gift of uncommon dimension, and for me, an indispensable part of a complete day. During Whale Season the sun rises behind an old dirt road that was once the entrance to our ¨pueblo¨. From this point, without rush o pause, the signals of the passing of time leave no room for wait as the sky begins to clear, the veil is pulled back and a new day begins. In this link I shared a gallery of photos from the panoramic hotel apartment. This apartment is forced to witness the display of nature that surrounds it. The best sunrises, moon outputs, sunsets and incredible events of nature’s lived there. I hope you enjoy the pictures and descriptions. 😀In whale season, the sun rises behind the old road that descends to the village. From that time, slowly but surely, the signs of the relative time do not wait, start breaking,and the imminent dawn approaches.A neighbor´s rooster can be heard in the distance as the gas station attendant to the only gas station in Valdes Peninsula heads his car down the hill to work, passing the night shift employee of the electric company on his trudge back to home, and all amidst the warm aroma of Del Nomade´s homemade breakfast being prepared.Often, during this mystical moment of dawn, I will climb the hill just behind Del Nomade Eco Hotel with a thermos and ¨Mate¨ in hand, to sit and contemplate the surroundings while massaging my bare feet in the sand. From this position the horizon is seen some 60km in the distance. Behind an immense sea, at the same point where the sea meets the sky, a thin fragment of land appears, the other side of the Golfo Nuevo, catching first light and providing closure to this amazing landscape bathed in brilliant gold.Taking a deep breath, I observe the hypnotic geography that surrounds me and, once again, I give thanks. I make a quick panoramic pan slowly rotating my head from left to right, my eyes following the motion from Olazabal Point to Pardelas Point to Cormornes Point, the mouth of the Golfo Nuevo and its gateway to open ocean, Ninfas Point on the continental side of the gulf, its bays, cliffs and hills disappearing in the distance and following the coast I arrive again to where I am sitting.This is a unique panorama that invites contemplation and provides a glimpse of the infinite and beyond. Within this arid natural landscape overflowing in every direction is geography practically unaltered over the last several million years, generating a sensation out of time. The fossils remains, habitants from another era form and decorate every cm of the path I walk.Yesterday and today are simultaneously exposed without intervals in the varying layers of stratus along the cliffs. Distinct geological eras are expressed in the form of sedimentary deposits, often several meters thick, on display for the eye to see as they fall off the steppe downwards towards their unavoidable encounter with the Atlantic Ocean. There are areas where this natural border forms vertical walls more than 70 meters high.With the arrival of sunset a golden light dissolves over the sea, a coronation for the oncoming procession of stars that at first appear immobile in their slow caravan eastward giving way to the slow, almost imperceptible rhythm that will birth a new day.After several years living in Puerto Piramides and feeling myself an integral part of this town, I decided to create a hotel for friends of the earth. My primary motivation for the creation of Del Nomade Eco-Hotel was to receive those that come to the Valdes Peninsula with a certain level of consciousness, respect for the planet and an adventurous spirit. This was the motivation that produced Del Nomade Eco-Hotel. I hope that you enjoy your stay and take advantage of the information provided with respect to activities, adventure, destinations and wildlife.
Puerto Pirámides a town with history
More than 100 years ago the number of people living in Puerto Piramides was much larger than its current population. In a few sentences I will try to make a simple recapitulation of this century of history. During the early 1900s salt mining and extraction brought a large labor force to the peninsula, an activity that lasted several decades. Although hard to imagine today, there was a narrow gauge train used for transporting salt from the salt flats to port. The arrival of the First World War along with the concept of refrigeration changed the way food was conserved and transported and the need for salt was greatly diminished.
During this thriving period of salt extraction in the Peninsula Puerto Piramides was an extremely important and active port town, much more so than Puerto Madryn, until the town was almost completely abandoned. Once meat, fowl and other food was being stored with refrigeration there was no longer a need to salt and cure for storage and the business of salt trade practically disappeared in the peninsula. A town that reached a population of over 3000 individuals, one of the most populated areas in all of Patagonia at that time, vanished like a mirage in the desert in a matter of a few short years. To get a better idea of the dimensions and historical importance of this port town, today we are approximately just 500 habitants, one sixth of its previous population and in its heyday Puerto Piramides had a large market known as “La Anonima”, what is now the most important chain of supermarkets in all of Patagonia. In 2003 the Puerto Piramides Light and Power Cooperative recognized “El Español” as a site of historical importance. This bar and hostel is more than 110 years old having survived the economic and population ups and downs over the course of time. The following image is a 360 degree panoramic photo that I made a few years back in the “El Español” with its legendary, classic bar and original décorJust a handful of individuals weathered through the economic bust in this isolated and windswept corner of the world, finding a way to survive and continue a peaceful lifestyle surrounded by nature, they had no idea that another moment of glory was yet to come. Eco-tourism and the title of World Heritage Site brought Puerto Piramides full circle and back to the geographical epicenter of activity in the Peninsula. After 4 decades of inactivity, tourism and the concept of nature tourism began to take hold, stimulate and attract new inhabitants to the area. Little by little the activities of wildlife observation and whale watching in particular generated interest in the unique nature of the Valdes Peninsula. Once again making history, Puerto Piramides has regained its importance, although this time thanks to eco-tourism.
Puerto Pirámides Videos
The following video is a testament to the adventures that can be had in Puerto Piramides and the wildlife that can be observed. A professional documentary, conceived, produced and edited by members of our local community.