Things to consider
1. What species do you want to see? Both southern right whales and orcas are present along the coast of Valdes, and there are certain times of the year that are optimal for sighting each, as well as multiple ways of seeing them!
2. Where can you see them? Southern right whales can be seen around Puerto Piramides and Puerto Madryn, either from the beaches and cliffs or out at sea. The best orca sightings are from the attack channel at Punta Norte, in April and May.
3. How can you see them? By boat, submarine, plane, on the shores, or simply from your hotel balcony!
Be sure to allow enough time for your visit, to give you the best chance of whale sightings, particularly when it comes to the orcas, who are more unpredictable and elusive!
Types of Whales
Southern right whales
Southern right whales are found in the calm waters of Golfo Nuevo and Golfo San Jose, where the calves learn to breathe and the adults mate. August, September and October are the best months in which to see them, and sightings are pretty much guaranteed during these months. You can spot them from the beaches in Puerto Madryn and Playa Doradillo, or by boat trip from Puerto Piramedes.
The orcas of Valdes are world famous because of their spectacular hunting technique. They are found along the coast of the peninsula all year long, but the beach attacks occur when sea lion pups are present. This is in Caleta Valdes and Punta Delgada in September, October and November, and Punta Norte in February, March and April. High tides generally increase the chances of attacks, and viewing is land-based.
What our customers think
The highlight was definitely the number of whales we saw... and how great and curious they behave. Indeed they are unbelievable animals.
Adriana Bonini Switzerland September 2018
The highlight was probably the whale watching and the penguin colony on Peninsula Valdes. The wildlife, landscape, people were amazing as usual!
Melanie Marin United States Of America September 2018
How can I see whales in Valdes?
Best ways to go whale-watching
Southern right whales can be seen at sea on dedicated boat and kayak trips from around Puerto Piramides and Puerto Madryn. There are even semi-submersible boats where you can view them from underwater. For a different perspective, you can also fly over the sea in a small plane to get a very unique view of pods of whales.
These excursions are great to get you up close to the whales, but what makes this area remarkable is that your whale-watching doesn't have to end there. Southern right whales and orcas tend to stick right close to the shore here, meaning you can continue watching them from the beach, or, if you're lucky, from your hotel window.
When to go
Southern right whales are present from June to December only. You can expect pretty much guaranteed sightings during August, September and October.
Orcas are present along the coast all year round. However, they are most commonly seen beaching in March and April, when the sea lion pups are just beginning to explore their surroundings and are at their most vulnerable.
I've spent my life jumping on opportunities to get close to marine wildlife, and kayaking with southern right whales in Patagonia is one of my top all-time experiences. Feeling the kayak rock with the ripples as I watched a whale dive beneath me is something I'll never forget.
Chloe O'Keeffe Patagonia Specialist
Trips to see whales in Valdes
Discover more of Valdes
The Valdes Peninsula is a unique land formation and global conservation site, home to an abundance of marine life as well as countless weird and wonderful land mammals and birds. …
Wildlife in Valdes
The Valdes region is the number one destination for wildlife in Patagonia. The peninsula is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is one of the most important areas for marine mammals …
Peninsula Valdes Hotels
The Valdes Peninsula and surrounding coastline are bursting at the seams with varied and unusual wildlife: southern right whales, elephant seals, penguins, orcas and more. …
Kayaking in Valdes
The shores of Valdes provide visitors with a unique opportunity to kayak among the world's largest population of southern right whales, as well as sea lions, penguins, elephant …
Whales in Patagonia
The waters around Patagonia are home to four types of whales: the orca, humpback, southern right and the blue whale. There are a number of dedicated whale-watching cruises and boat trips that take you to special protected marine parks within the fjords and bays of Chile and Argentina, where you can get up close to these magnificent creatures and take some fantastic photos to remember them by.