The Southern coast of Argentina is the best place in the world to watch whales. Orcas, dolphins, right whales, southern whales, white whales, and blue whales all frequent the coastal waters off Patagonia during the viewing season, which begins in May and continues through December. For the best viewing opportunities, go to Puerto Piramides, Puerto Madryn, Rawson, or Trelew during the whales’ mating season in September and October.
During peak whale viewing times, whales can be seen right from the shore. For the adventurous souls, orcas can be seen during the early parts of the viewing season, breaching to attack sea lions on the Valdez Peninsula. And 50 ton right whales can be viewed from the shores southwest of Puerto Piramides. Whichever kind of whale you want to see, go at high tide to watch them from shore.
But if you’re looking for the ultimate experience in whale watching, seek out one of several companies authorized to take you to meet with the whales in their territory. Shop around, as there are several types of boats used for these adventures, and you’ll want to find one that best suits you. Several types of boats, from very small vessels to larger craft carrying over 50 passengers are available for whale viewing. Typical excursions include a trip along the coast, often allowing you to view sea lions, penguins, cormorants, and other coastal wildlife followed by the actual whale watching, which generally takes place as close as a mile or two from shore.
Imagine the thrill of seeing the great leviathans, the largest creatures in the world’s history, dancing through the clear blue water. Not shy of human contact, it is not unheard of for whales to approach to within an arm’s reach of excursion craft. On a typical day during the viewing season, you will view a half dozen or more whales. On board, you’ll see whales spout from as far as a mile and half away.
These beautiful, intelligent creatures often lift their heads out of the water to examine their surroundings or slap their tails on the surface to communicate with other whales. And you have to be there when a sixty foot whale breaches nearby, clearing the surface of the water and landing with a clap and a splash that can be heard for miles. If you come late in the season, you may even get to see a mother with a playful calf. And you never know when dolphins might show up and put on their aerial displays.
Make sure you take an authorized excursion when you go. Excursions authorized by the Argentinian government are closely regulated, and conducted in a manner that has minimal impact on the whales and their habitats, ensuring that generations to come will be able to experience the thrill of close contact with these magnificent giants.