Top Five Animals in Puerto Madryn

1. Sea Lions

Flopped into blubbery piles along the coast at Peninsula Valdes, the sea lions definitely live a life of lazy luxury. The females soak up the sun while their pups splash in the delta, learning to swim. The burly males keep a watchful eye over all the action and are extremely territorial if any other males come close to their clan. The males are thick and furry around the neck, making them look like they have a mane – hence their ‘lion’ namesake. After taking in the lazy lifestyle of the sea lion, we decided that in a future life, we would come back as sea lions.

Sea lions basking in the sun

2. Magellanic Penguins

No animal has a more romantic life story than the penguin. From the age of 4, the Magellanic penguin chooses a mate and spends its 30 years of life with only that mate. Throughout their lifetime they have only one nest that they return to every year to have their chicks. As one parent incubates the eggs, the other searches for food. If one parent has a confrontation with one of the penguin’s many predators and does not return, it’s little family waiting on land will die of starvation. Romantic and tragic, the life of the penguin is like a Shakespearean play.

A lone penguin waiting for his mate to come home

3. Llamas

At first we were excited when we saw llamas. Llamas aren’t raised domestically in the region because the arid diet isn’t conducive to soft, fluffy llama wool. They’re wild so we thought it a rare treat to spot one. We’d pull out our cameras and snap endless photos while the Argentineans rolled their eyes. We soon came to learn that llamas are like the squirrels of Patagonia. They’re everywhere and we’ve now become immune to the llama charms.

Llamas llamas everywhere

4. Armadillos

Neither of us had ever seen an armadillo before. When we spotted one, we thought it would be bigger, stronger, and armoured, like something out of Jurassic Park. But instead it was about the size of a small possum and as frightened as a mouse. Needless to say the armadillo let us down.

The armadillo, a disappointment

5. Ostrich

The Patagonian ostrich is not like the ones you see in the African Serengeti or in the zoo. They are like a shrunken version, only about 5 feet tall but arguably equally as impressive and rare to spot. They blend in so well with their surroundings that when we were able to spot one, we made sure we got a picture.

A rare ostrich sighting out the bus window