Valdes Peninsula The Valdes Peninsula is a dramatic steppe landscape of vast bays, sandy beaches, rocky shelves and gulfs. It's located on the north-eastern tip of Patagonia. You'll see marine wildlife in large numbers here - sealions, southern right whales, dolphins, Magellanic penguins and numerous seabirds all around the peninsula. Land mammals in this area include guanacos, lesser rheas, Patagonian foxes and hairy armadillos. The only elephant seal habitat in Argentina is found in Punta Norte on the northern tip of the peninsula. Seasonality varies with the area good year- round for birdwatching and sightings of elephant seals, sealions, Commerson's dolphin, guanaco and grey wolf, whilst orcas are present October to April, and penguins September to March. Peak numbers and viewings for whales tend to occur from September to November. Faro Punta Delgada Hotel MID Sitting in a unique location right at the tip of the beautiful Valdes Peninsula, this exclusive cliff- top hotel overlooks the wild, dramatic coastline and crashing waves of the southern Atlantic Ocean. This is the best option for wildlife lovers. It is unique because you can walk down to the beach and see the wildlife in close- up. Peninsula Hotel HIGH The Peninsula Hotel in Puerto Madryn offers 70 air- conditioned en- suite rooms. The hotel has a spa and restaurant and it is located just a short distance from local restaurants, shops and a large beach. It is a good base for day trips to explore the nature reserves of the Valdes area. Puerto Madryn is the gateway city to the Valdes Peninsula. Full- day excursions depart from here to the peninsula. To stay here is a cheaper option, although the wildlife experience isn't as good. Ushuaia & Tierra Del Fuego National Park Ushuaia is the capital of the Argentinean Province of Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica and South Atlantic Islands, and is located over 3,000 kilometres south of Buenos Aires in a dramatic position on the Beagle Channel. Tierra del Fuego is the archipelago's largest island. The wilderness, lakes and bays provide the opportunity for plenty of outdoor activities such as horse- riding, trekking, fi shing, canoeing and, of course, wildlife- viewing. Along the coast you may well see seals, albatrosses, ducks and petrels. Also present is the rare chungungo otter as well as Magellanic woodpecker, black- chested buzzard and austral parakeet. Hotel Acebos MID Hotel Acebos is a modern hotel with 56 large rooms overlooking the Beagle Channel, just a few kilometres from the port city of Ushuaia. Los Cauquenes HIGH Los Cauquenes, a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, is a tasteful hotel, fantastically located on the shores of the Beagle Channel. Rooms enjoy views of the Beagle Channel or the Andes Mountain Range. New for this coming season will be an enclosed winter garden and bar area. It's a real treat to stay here! THE AMERICAS | ARGENTINA 159 Fact! Punta Tombo in southern Argentina is the location of the world's largest colony of Magellanic penguins. Over half a million penguins come here to breed between September and mid- March. The eggs hatch around the beginning of December when the colony is full of noisy, hungry chicks. The nature reserve is dedicated to the protection of the Patagonian plateau, home to Patagonian hares and a huge variety of sea- birds along the coast including kelp gull, fl ightless steamer duck, black oystercatcher, royal and black- necked cormorants, Antarctic pigeon and giant petrel. In the icy waters off- shore are sealions, whales and dolphins. A visit to Punta Tombo is generally enjoyed as a day trip from Trelew or Puerto Madryn. Or visit us on the web www. wildlifeworldwide. com On a half- day Beagle Channel cruise you will have a good opportunity to see cormorants, penguins, sealions and South American fur seals whilst you enjoy the extraordinary geography of Tierra del Fuego, Fuego's islands and bays.
El Calafate and Los Glaciares National Park El Calafate is a small attractive resort town on the shores of Lago Argentina, and the base for touring the region's glaciers in Los Glaciares National Park. Los Glaciares National Park is a UNESCO Natural Heritage Site - some 40% of the park is covered by giant ice fi elds which feed the two big lakes, Lake Viedma and Lago Argentino. Birdlife is rich and includes black-necked swan, black- chested buzzard and Andean condor. The Perito Moreno Glacier is a staggering fi ve kilometres across, towering some 70 metres above the lake waters. Thunderous booms are common as huge chunks of ice break off and crash into the lake. A series of boardwalks with strategically placed viewing points let you explore the area at your own pace, and there are also boat rides along the southern face. In addition to rich birdlife, puma is occasionally seen here. Posada Los Alamos HIGH Posada Los Alamos is an elegant four- star hotel set in beautiful gardens along the shores of Lago Argentino in the centre of El Calafate. Accommodation is in 144 rooms overlooking the surrounding gardens and mountains. Iguazu Falls Iguazu Falls on the Argentine- Brazil border is a magnifi cent array of 275 separate waterfalls that stretches for over three kilometres. It is surrounded by lush tropical forest with an abundant fl ora and fauna, including over 500 species of butterfl y, 400 species of bird and 2,000 species of plant. Iguazu joins Niagara Falls and Victoria Falls as one of the world's three great waterfall spectacles. Iguazu offers excellent viewing opportunities on a system of paths and we would advise visiting the parks on both sides for the border. The vegetation ranges from semi- deciduous to tropical, resulting in dramatic contrasts in the fl ora with orchids growing next to pine trees, bamboo next to palm trees, and mosses next to lianas and colourful begonias. Sheraton Resort and Spa HIGH The hotel is unique as it's located in the heart of the Iguazu Falls National Park. This large modern resort has 176 rooms featuring glass window walls and large private balconies offering excellent views of the rainforest or the waterfalls. There are restaurants, gardens and a swimming pool area with walking trails to the falls, so you can explore at your leisure. Posada Puerto Bemberg MID This is an Iguazu hotel with a difference; an ideal place to enjoy the wildlife and tranquility of the forest, 45 minutes from the falls. It has big rooms, each with a veranda overlooking the gardens. There's a pool, observation tower and a deck overlooking the river - the perfect spot for sundowners! Yacutinga Rainforest A two- hour drive west from Iguazu Falls brings you to Yacutinga Rainforest; a private rainforest reserve whose layered ecosystem is home to countless species of birds, mammals and plants. You'll explore it on both walking and river safaris with naturalist guides. Amongst the forest, colourful birds, such as toucans, guans, trogons and woodpeckers, fl it through the dappled shadows. The reserve also protects several endangered species such as the jaguar, tapir and ocelot, although these elusive creatures are diffi cult to spot. It's a fantastic, relaxing end to a wildlife itinerary in Argentina. Yacutinga Rainforest Lodge MID Set amongst 250,000 hectares of primary rainforest, there are 40 rooms here each with private facilities, wood- burning stoves and great views. The main building houses a restaurant and bar, whilst outside there are botanical gardens, a pool and elevated jungle canopy walkway. The lodge was built with the environment in mind, employing local people, re- introducing endangered plant species and being careful with resources. Ibera Marshlands For an extra wildlife experience in Argentina, you could visit the Ibera Marshlands. Located in the north, the Ibera Marshlands, also known as the Argentine Pantanal, cover an area of some 9,000 square kilometres, twice the size of Florida's Everglades. Its topography is made up of lagoons, dykes, water courses, marshlands and islands, creating the perfect habitat for birds, mammals and reptiles. Black caiman, boa constrictor and capybara are all common here and of course the birdlife is spectacular. Other interesting possible sightings include armadillos, turtles, monkeys, deer, anacondas, otters, wildcats and maned wolf. Over 400 species of bird range from the largest, the greater rhea, to various herons, storks, eagles, parrots, snipe, woodpeckers, kingfi shers, hummingbirds, magpie tanagers and thrush. 160Talk to an expert 0845 130 6982