Every year in March and April wildlife enthusiasts head to Punta Norte on the northeast corner of Argentina’s Peninsula Valdés. Travelers hope to see one of the world’s amazing marine phenomenons: orcas (also known as killer whales) that swim up a channel and beach themselves in order to attack sea lions.
The peak of the season for seeing the orcas is typically 21 March and 4 April. So far this year (2012) few orcas have been seen by visitors, but a few were spotted in the past week. Visitors have a chance to see the orcas, but we can never guarantee it, even in the peak of the season. It’s all about being at the right place at the right time, with a little bit of luck thrown in!
For the best chance to see the orcas travelers should plan to stay out at the Estancia La Ernestina, a working ranch out on Punta Norte that opens its doors to travelers a few months per year. You’ll have amazing hospitality and a chance to see a lot more than the whales.
If you wish to stay at La Ernestina you should book far in advance. Rooms are usually sold out 6 month prior to the season! Otherwise you can stay in Puerto Piramides and make the trip out to Punta Norte as a day trip. Visitors are not allowed on the beach. The closest you can get is up on a bluff high above the beach, but when the orcas attack on the beach this is a decent vantage point.
If your heart isn’t set on seeing the orcas, consider visiting Peninsula Valdés between late September and mid-December. We can usually guarantee sightings of numerous Southern Right Whales. You can try a kayak trip and get up close to these amazing creatures!