BEACHES IN PATAGONIA
Patagonia offers the traveler an excellent tourist corridor which
combines kilometers of warm water beaches (whose temperatures are
not equaled by any other beaches in South America), with a range of
landscapes, among which are the impressive Patagonian cliffs, dunes,
and innumerable possibilities of fishing as well as sportive and leisure
This corridor connects nine cities through National Route Nº3, and together with other national and provincial routes, it reaches all the beaches of the region. There are almost 1000 km of roads that the American States Organization has recognized as area of international tourist interest, due to the great variety of attractions it presents.
This "Beach Patagonia" or "Corridor of the Patagonian Beaches" as it is also called, begins south of Colorado River, in the Patagones district, in the south of Buenos Aires province.
If you take National Route Nº3, south of Bahía Blanca, 160 km from Patagones you reach Pedro Luro and opposite it, Fortín Mercedes a Catholic pilgrimage center, also called "Lilly of the Pampas", where Ceferino Namuncurá, currently in canonization process, is buried.
Further south, there are various agricultural and cattle breeding populations which developed at the edge of the railway, such as Stroeder and Villalonga. Not far from the latter, is the thermal water center "Los Gauchos", ideal to treat rheumatic and skin conditions.
The access road to Bahía San Blas, also known as "Fishermen Paradise", is found 45 km from Patagones, and 195 km from Bahía Blanca. The coast of the bay offers deep waters for fishing, as well as beaches with gentle slopes suitable for swimming in the sea.
Southward along National Route Nº3, you arrive in Carmen de Patagones, with over 222 years of rich history.
About 33 km ahead, along a graveled road that runs along the left edge of the Negro river mouth, in the Punta Redonda area, you get to La Baliza beach, nowadays called 7 de Marzo Beach Resort, an excellent fishing spot, but with limited facilities.
Viedma city is located right across from Patagones, separated only by Negro river and joined by two bridges and a passenger's boat service. It is the capital of the province of Rio Negro, in which modernity, history and a wide rural-tourist offer merge.
El Cóndor Tourist Resort, a village surrounded by an area of dense vegetation, is situated 30 km from Viedma city, along National Route Nº1, also known as the Coastal Route ("Camino de la Costa").
The village features a hotel, a casino, a camping ground, cafes, pubs, restaurants, etc.
Its coast is low in the area of El Faro ("The Lighthouse"), where the first cliffs appear. The dark color of the water is due to the impact of Negro River on the sea.
Very close to the mouth on the right margin of this river, and just 3 km from El Cóndor, Punta Médanos is located. There is a fishing area called El Pescadero, ideal both for coast and sea fishing.
Along this Coastal Route, you first come across the Second Access to the Lighthouse, and about 14k m ahead, the Bajada del Espigón (Breakwater Access), beach and excellent place for fishing. The access to Playa Bonita, a broad sandy beach with cliffs, is only one kilometer away.
La Lobería Tourist Resort and beach is located 30 km west of El Cóndor. Protected by high cliffs, a characteristic of this beach is the big natural pools that remain covered with water during the low tide.
Just 4 km from La Lobería, is the Punta Bermeja Multiple Use Flora and Fauna Reserve. From its vantage points, high on the cliff, you can observe the first colony of one-hair sea-lions of Patagonia.
Along the same road, graveled as from this point but still in good conditions, Ensenada and Bahía Rosas are encountered. The latter, not suitable for bathing, is a very deep bay and offers optimal conditions for shark fishing from the shore.
Next you get to Bahía Creek, a wide beach of impressive cliffs, with numerous rocks on the shore.
Caleta de los Loros is located 15 km from Bahía Creek. Here the cliffs lose height and give rise to fine sand beaches. A few kilometers from there, is Punta Mejillón, where a small village called Pozo Salado offers a suitable place for camping.
Always following Coastal Route, toward the west, you find Península Villarino, where you first get to the area of Saco Viejo and its 12 kilometers of beaches, and then to Puerto de San Atonio Este, from where great part of the fruit, vegetable and fish production of the province is exported.
Finally, if you go back to National Route Nº3, you get to the city of San Antonio Oeste, with beaches on the inner estuary called La Marea. Las Grutas Tourist Resort is found 15 km away from there. It is a beach of deep blue and warm waters, extensive dunes, clean sand and mussels and octopus.
Las Grutas offers an excellent shopping mall, hotels, restaurants, cafes, and casino. It is the second most important tourist center of the province after San Carlos de Bariloche.
Further south you arrive in Islote Lobos Resort Provincial Reserve, where autochthonous birds can be watched (there are over 30 different bird species).
Along National Route Nº3, 117 km south of Las Grutas, you get to Sierra Grande offering a tour around its iron mine, horse-riding, trekking, parachuting, as well as all the splendor of its well-known beaches such as Playas Doradas, which boasts a small tourist resort providing camping facilities and services, a hotel and houses for rent. Diving is also practiced in this area.
Always along National Route Nº3, southward, we find a secondary road that leads to Puerto Lobos, whose coast allows "southern franca whales" sightings.
Further ahead of parallel 42º, in the province of Chubut, along National Route Nº3, you get to Península Valdés.
There, and at various spots (Isla de los Pájaros, Punta Norte, Caleta Valdés or Puerto Pirámides) you can appreciate the highly rich maritime fauna, composed mainly by sea-lions and walruses, whales and birds.
Between April and December, it is possible to watch the "southern franca whale", a unique specimen which can be up to 20 meters long.
On leaving the Peninsula, southward, you find the cities of Puerto Madryn, Trelew and Rawson, where Chubut River flows into the sea, as well as Playa Unión.
This is the end of "Beach Patagonia".
The province of Río Negro contributes over 400 kilometers of oceanic coast to the corridor.
Also included in the corridor are the cities of Guardia Mitre and General Conesa, 90 km and 180 km from Viedma, respectively.