» Argentina, Patagona – Isla Pavón and Trip to See Penguins
Argentina, Patagona – Isla Pavón and Trip to See Penguins
We leave Tierra del Fuego for north. In a bus we cross the Rio Gallegos and then we hitchhike again. Now we would ride along Ruta 3 along the coastline up to Buenos Aires.
We got quite used to waiting during hitchhiking on Ruta 40. Ruta 3 is, however, much more frequented road. Moreover, trucks drive on this road. We conclude that hitchhikinh isn't that bad in Argentina. A cheerful guy stops us his truck and we don't even car that we spend there an hour because of some vehicle malfunction. Truck drivers help one another here so several more drivers appear soon. They have quite a good time when fixing the truck. They don't even seem to care about it lasting so long.
Eventually we get only 230 kilometer s further yet we reach a marvelous place of Isla Pavon. From there we have a splendid vista over the island and the river. There is a camp on the island. The weather is warm and being it Sunday, there are many families. Many people bath in the water. We stand outside while enjoying the sun. We are quite happy that we left windy plains of Patagonia behind us.
Captain Juan Rodríguez Serrano discovered Isla Pavon in the year 1520. All kinds of sailors visited the island across the centuries. When Luis Piedra Buena arrived here in 1859 the island became important for the defence of country's independence. He and other families would be the first families here. He built a small house and later a factory which would allow him to trade with locals. The island was named after the vicotry in the Battle of Pavon of 1861. A year later the first Argentinian flag would be raised here. Only ruins remained of commander's old house but these were renovated and now people come here to see their historical heritage.
We leave Isla Pavón. As soon as we raise our hands to begin hitchhiking a truck stops for us. We can't believe it. So we ride through this inhospitable land down to Comodoro Rivadavia town. We even spot a seal colony. Comodoro is a huge industrial and trade hub and we would rather skip it. Therefore, we don't enter the town itself and stay over night at a camp. On the following day we travel Trelew which is not far away.
There is one more play worth visiting – a penguin colony. There are several such colonies in Patagonia, including Cabo Dos Bahias or Punta Tombo. The latter is situated about 120 kilometers from Trelew. The path off the main road is not paved and difficult tu access. Tourists have to buy a tour at a travel agency. It is quie expensive. The other option is to rent a car which is also not cheap yet renting a car costs the same money as buying a bus trip to Punta Tombo.
The largest Magellanic Penguin colony out of Antarctica is situated in Punta Tombo. There is a facility which gives you all information on penguins. Moreover, there are trails which lead you right among penguins which cross our path ocassionaly. They tread in front of us so we can observe them from up close. Now they sit on their eggs so they are hidden in holes all around us. They are so close we can even touch them. Yet this is forbidden and they would surely peck us. We observe penguins which went into the water to hunt for prey on the coastline. From time to time a wave wash them while on the beach so we laugh at their silly walk. Punta Tombo and the oportunity to see penguins in their natural habitat is sure worth the trouble.
GPS: (Isla Pavón) 50°00'11.2"S 68°56'02.7"W
Text and photos: Tomáš Novák
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There are many interesting places around Buenos Aires. To conclude our journey in Argentina, we visited Lujan and Tigre. Then we took a ferry to Uruguay.
We walk around the city center on our following days in Buenos Aires. Apart from historic houses or churches we see Teatro Colon, considered one of the best opera houses in the world for its amazing acoustics. Opened in 1908, the theater hosted some of the most famous dirigents, singers, and dancers of the 20th century. Consider Igor Stravinski or Luciano Pavarotti. In 2010, the city finished theater's renovation and opened it to the public.
Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires is a cosmopolitan city, home to 13 million porteños, as the inhabitants of Buenos Aires are often dubbed. Also, it is one of the most fabulous capitals in Latin Americe. Historic and modern architectur meet here and add to wonderful atmosphere of the city with vibrant night life.
The name Tierra del Fuego possibly came to be when some explorers spotted the coast of unknown land with fires scattered around and smoke clouds from the fires of the indigenous people. The fire must have lookd like the island floats in haze above the sea.
Port Puerto Madryn is situated on a cliff making an edge of a plateau. From there you may enjoy the vista over the endless Atlantic ocean. Whale observation is the main attraction over there. However, keep in mind you can do this activity only from June till December. Local cliffs make observing whales so much easier.
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The further south we get, the worse the weather is. Constant wind, clouds crossing the sky, and cold. There are almost no cars to hitch. But we try our luck still.
Patagonia is an exceptional place. You won't experience anything like it anywhere else in the world. Only in South America. The Andes create a tall tall wall in the west, in the east there is the blue waters of the Atlantic ocean, it is the land of pines and lakes, and there is huge plain in its central part. And in the south there is the Tierra del Fuego and the town of Ushuaia. It is true end of the world.
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