Patagonia and Altiplano Expedition | #18 – Península Valdés Part II

In November, the best place to see Orcas on the peninsula is the Caleta Valdés. It’s a narrow inlet of the sea on the east coast. To get there from Puerto Piramides we chose the slightly longer but much more beautiful road via Punta Delgada.

Halfway between Puerto Piramides and Punta Delgada you can find the Salina Chica. The entrance to the Salina is a bit hidden, but you can find the track on maps.me. You definitely need a 4×4 to get there, unless you walk the last section of the track.

The pink salt flats at the end of the track are stunningly beautiful.

Since Punta Delgada is closed to public visitors (we heard that it’s currently under the army’s control) we continued our trip to the Caleta Valdés.

On the east coast of the peninsula, there was again abundant wildlife everywhere.

We also had the chance to get really close to an Armadillo (as you can see, some of the images in this post were again shot by Linnéa).

You can also find a small colony of penguins at the Caleta Valdés.

Valdés is really a wildlife paradise and reminded us of places like the Etosha National Park in Africa.

But the main reason to drive the long way to Caleta Valdés is the chance to see Orcas in the wild. Of course, there is no guarantee to see them. On some days there won’t be a single Orca around the Caleta (they hunt elsewhere). It’s best to talk to the rangers at Punta Cantor when you arrive there. They have the latest information if a group of Orcas has been seen near the Caleta.

After a couple of hours watching the sea and driving from one viewpoint to the next, we were lucky and spotted our first Orca in the Caleta. It was a fantastic moment to see this majestic and beautiful creature in the wild.

The Orcas enter the inlet for hunting sea mammals. At this time of the year, they are mainly looking for elephant seal pups.

On the Valdés Peninsula, the Orcas have developed a fascinating hunting technique. They come very close to the shore and sometimes even try to catch their prey directly from the beach.

This technique is not without risk for the Orcas. They could get stuck on the beach. Therefore they have to choose the location wisely. It has to be a steep shore with medium-sized rounded stones and they have to learn how to move backward on the ground using their fins.

It was absolutely fascinating to watch this and it was one of our greatest wildlife experiences in the world.

But that wasn’t everything we experienced on the Peninsula Valdés. More in the next post!

Here are a couple of additional tips to raise your chance of seeing Orcas in Valdés: Normally, they will come close to the coast only at high tide. Therefore your best chance is between two hours before high tide and two hours after high tide (regularly check a tidal chart and plan your trip accordingly). The Caleta Valdés inlet is a dead end. Any Orca that enters the Caleta will sooner or later leave it again. If the rangers tell you, that there are Orcas in the Caleta (or you have seen them entering) you just have to wait at the beginning of the Caleta. They will for sure pass this point again in the next hours. The best months for watching Orcas at Caleta Valdés are October and November, while in March and April you can find them at Punta Norte.

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