Patagonia has an abundance of wildlife. From guanacos to armadillos, the region is home to a whole host of fascinating animals. However, Patagonia’s array of amazing wildlife isn’t just on land – there is a wealth of incredible marine life for you to discover. For instance, Patagonia is one of the best places for whale watching. As part of specially guided whale watching tours, visitors can spot orca, southern right, humpback, and even blue whales in the oceans surrounding the region. In this article, we suggest three locations where you can get up close and personal with these majestic creatures.
Three of Patagonia’s best whale watching tours
1. Corcovado Gulf
The Corcovado Gulf is south of the Chiloe Island archipelago in northern Patagonia. Here, you can spot blue whales – the largest animal ever to be known to exist. You can see these huge creatures can in the gulf’s waters between January–April, while they nurse their young. However, spotting a blue whale takes patience – and sightings are not guaranteed. Whale watching tours will generally offer dedicated blue whale watching excursions. As part of these tours, they’ll identify the best areas and allocate an appropriate amount of time to catch a glimpse of these gentle giants.
2. Francisco Coloane Marine Park
Francisco Coloane Marine Park is in the Strait of Magellan in Chilean Patagonia. In this pocket of the strait, you can see humpback whales. The area is only accessible by boat and generally, you can only visit as part of a longer trip. However, the whales are abundant and sightings are pretty much guaranteed. As part of a cruise through Francisco Coloane Marine Park, you’ll likely see plenty of diving, jumping, and leaping, with most people seeing around 30–40 to whales on a three-night excursion. What’s more, this area is also home to orca – although these sightings are more unusual.
3. Peninsula Valdés
Peninsula Valdés in Argentinian Patagonia is home to two varieties of whales: orcas and southern right whales. You can see orcas at Peninsula Valdés all year round, but the most spectacular sights occur when there are sea lion pups on the shore. The orcas of Peninsula Valdés are famous because of their hunting technique, which they use to astonishing effect against the sea lions. The best time for these whale watching tours is between September and November when visitors can see the dramatic attacks from the land.
Meanwhile, southern right whales can be found in the Golfo Nuevo and Golfo San Jose during mating season. Running from August–October, southern right whale activity is so commonplace you are almost guaranteed to catch a glimpse from land or by boat.
Whale watching with Australis
Australis offer one-way and round trips of the Patagonian fjords, where you can spot an abundance of wildlife – including whales. As part of a wider program of excursions, these cruises include whale watching tours. Retracing the steps of Darwin’s route around the straits of Patagonia, travelers have the opportunity to see all the species we mention here. For more information about Australis Patagonia cruises, click here to download our brochure.