The big Patagonia photo tour

The big Patagonia photo tour

For 30 years, Frank Wirth’s team of experts has been traveling to the coast of Patagonia at the best time of the season to visit the right whales in their nursery. Every year we return to this fascinating location. This tour is a journey into the stunning wildlife of the Patagonian coast. In addition to whales and dolphins, sea lions, elephant seals and maras, you will encounter Magellanic penguins, rockhopper penguins, gray red-footed cormorants, albatrosses and many other inhabitants of the Argentine Atlantic coast. You will travel on routes far away from the usual tourist areas and travel through fantastic landscapes.


Day 1: Arrival in Patagonia

Reception at Puerto Madryn Airport. Minibuses take you to Puerto Pirámides in around 1 hour.
There you will spend the night at The Paradise Hostería. The small, cozy rooms have modern bathrooms with running cold and hot water. The hotel has a restaurant where breakfast is served.
From there you can see the whales jumping in the Golfo Nuevo.

Day 2-7: The whales of the Península Valdés

Over the next few days you will go out to sea for five days of whale watching.
The crew will show you the different behaviors of the animals up close. The observations include biological processes such as courtship, copulation, breaching, lob tailing, thermoregulation, but also the social behavior of mother and child. The bays off Puerto Pirámides are among the best places in the world to observe large whales up close. The southern right whales are not shy and come very close to the boats… although you sometimes wonder who is actually watching who. Another focus of the trips is dolphin watching. With a bit of luck you will see black dolphins. The animals, also known as dusky dolphins, meet here in large schools because anchovies come to the Gulf to spawn. When hunting they are accompanied by thousands of seabirds, seals and penguins. It is an exciting experience to encounter such a “food ball” that is usually only seen in documentaries. One day a safari around the Valdés peninsula is on the agenda. You will visit animals living on the beach such as elephant seals, but also keep an eye out for seabirds and pampas. Guanacos, foxes and maras (pampa rabbits) are among your companions here. We will visit the sea elephant colonies on Valdes and spend a lot of time there.

Day 8: Onward journey to the south

We drive about 550 km south on the Argentinean highway “Carretera”.
Today’s destination is Sarmiento, a village in the middle of nowhere. Along the way you will stop at viewpoints along the coast and of course whenever animals cross the path. Overnight stay in Sarmiento in apartment del Sol.

Day 9: The petrified forests of Sarmiento

There is a breathtaking natural park around 20 km from Sarmiento. Here, winds have exposed an erosional landscape where petrified trees and volcanic eruptions form dreamlike motifs. A special permit makes it possible to hike in the areas of the national park that are closed to the public, accompanied by a ranger, and thus see indescribable landscapes.
After the hike, the drive continues another 400 km south to Puerto Deseado.
Darwin landed there on December 23, 1833 with his ship, the HMS Beagle. He found unique biodiversity in the Ría Deseado, which led him to stay on site and continue working on his studies.
Once you arrive in Puerto Deseado, check-in takes place at Cabanas Las Nuves.

Day 10: In the Ría Deseado

Travel in the expedition boat into the shallow river. You can observe many seabirds and the rare Commersons dolphins, which, at just one meter long, look like small orcas. This makes them one of the smallest dolphin species in the world and can only be found in two geographically separate regions of the Southern Hemisphere. Recently, white-bellied dolphins (also called Chilean dolphins) have also been spotted in the river. On the way you will stop at the bird island, where seagulls, cormorants and penguins breed.

Day 11: The Island of Rockhopper penguins

You visit the penguin island, about 20 km offshore, where the northernmost and only accessible colony of around 8,000 rockhopper penguins lives. In addition to the approximately 60,000 Magellanic penguins, elephant seals, sea lions, skuas, cormorants, Jacobites and Peale’s dolphins also live here. Bird lovers can rejoice, as a total of 136 different species have been observed so far.
The beautiful grey cormorant with its steel blue eyes stands out. The rare birds nest in the cliffs of the riverbed. On Penguin Island there is a sea lion factory from the 18th century and a century-old lighthouse. The island is therefore an ideal place for photographers to capture the very special atmosphere. Only 200 tourists are allowed to enter the island every year.

Day 12: Bird watching at Ría Deseado

Today you drive and hike along the river to watch birds, such as flamingos, night herons, gray cormorants, rock cormorants and various birds of prey.

Day 13: Departure

Today you leave paradise. Early morning transfer to the airport.

Travel dates

12.10.2024 – 25.10. 2024


Eur. 6,990.- per person in a double room with photo permit
Eur. 5,490.- per person in a double room without photo permit with normal WW
Eur. 850.- for single supplement

The difference between the normal tour and the tour with a photo permit is that the participants of the professional tour are on their own boat and can be at sea all day. In order to take part, you must prove that you have a professional background.

Rates include

  • 8 nights in a double room at The Paradise Hostería including breakfast
  • 1 night in Apartment del Sol Sarmieto
  • 4 nights in a double room in the Cabañas Las Nubes without meals
  • All transfers from Puerto Madryn airport/to Comodoro Rivadavia airport
  • German tour guide and English-speaking local guides
  • 5 days whale watching tours
  • all excursions mentioned in the program
  • Photo permits

Rates exclude

  • Flights to Comodoro Rivadavia/from Trelew
  • Bus transfers between international and national airport in Buenos Aires
  • Meals not mentioned in “Rates include”
  • Insurance (We strongly recommend a travel cancellation insurance and a travel helath insurance.)
  • Gratuities


All transfers and nature observations are realized together with the participants of the Southern Right Whale Nature Safari.
Please be aware that the excursions depend on the weather conditions and are therefore not guaranteed.
Accommodation and itinerary may change without prior notice due to unexpected circumstances.