Thirty two kilometers from the Ameghino Isthmus, Puerto Pirámides is a seaside village located at the extreme northwest tip of Golfo Nuevo, on Península Valdés.
The powdery golden sands of Pirámides invite the traveler to sit on them and wonder at the sea and the whales plying the shore, or to wander up and down the beach hunting for weird and wonderful sea shells.
The village extends all the length of Pirámides Bay beachfront, where one can admire impressive sunsets and bright skies bursting with stars.
The beaches, gently sloping down to the sea, are protected by pyramid-like cliffs where one can find great numbers of invertebrate fossil remains that in some cases are up to nine million years old.
From here, visitors have a better chance to view the famous southern right whale, that arrives in June and stays in the waters of the gulf until December to give birth to and raise its young.
The waters surrounding Península Valdés are its winter gathering area.
The whales migrate every year when food supplies decrease as a result of changes in temperature.
These bays seem attractive to females, that give birth to their young during these months (this is a safe area for raising young whales in their first few moths of life).
The regular appearance of whales on the Argentine coast has enabled the organizing of regular sightings, using the town of Puerto Pirámides as the center of this activity.
Golfo San José and the outer coast are inaccessible to tourism, as national and provincial laws have made them sanctuaries. Only the area near Puerto Pirámides is authorized for shipboard tourist sighting activities.
Currently, the southern right whale will gambol gently alongside the boats. This is safe both for the tourists and the whale, as its only danger is being "captured" on photo or film footage.
Puerto Pirámides is the only populated area on the reserve. It was created in 1900, when the village was a salt port with adobe, wood and metal sheeting huts.
Nowadays one can see some vestiges of those original buildings, such as Casa Pirámides, which currently displays an exhibit of craftwork in dried seaweed.
The village's first inhabitant was Félix Olazábal, who in 1897 settled in some natural caves in the area of the present village. These caves are still visible on the western tip of the village, and some of them are occupied by firms specializing in whales sighting and scuba diving.
One gets there in an hour by car from Puerto Madryn (97 km on paved road). Its almost 150 permanent inhabitants live from the tourists who every year flock to this picturesque and pleasant seaside village.
Puerto Pirámides's main attraction is obviously the presence of whales from June through December every year. During that period there are several firms actively working on shipboard sightings of whales from the village itself. Whales can be seen from both the coast and the cliffs.
On the reserve, there is a sea lion colony averaging 1,500 animals with around 680 pups born every season.
There is also a nesting colony of seagulls with some 330 nests in the mating season, plus some 40 nests of rock cormorants. There is also, sporadically, a mating colony of terns.
Pirámides is a good place to watch land birds, especially Patagonian mockingbirds, finches, rufous-collared sparrows and tinamous.
The vegetation around Puerto Pirámides is a bushy steppe consisting mostly of Senecio filaginoides and Mulinum spinosum.
The coverage of the bush layer is about 35% and it is formed by two sub-layers. One is of Mulinum spinosum and Senecio filaginoides, with an average height of 70 centimeters and the other is of Lycium chilense and Schinus polygamus, with an average height of 1.1 meters.
The village camping ground has all the essential services. Bungalows and rooms with a view on the bay can also be rented.
In summer, there is a chance to practice all the different nautical sports: water skiing, fishing, etc.
You can also take scuba diving excursions from Puerto Pirámides to several different places with different depths and a great variety of fauna.
The following excursions are possible from Puerto Pirámides:
LOBERIA DE PIRAMIDES (SEA LION COLONY)
This is a colony of "single-furred" sea lions. It is barely 4 kilometers away from the village and is a very popular place for visitors.
The seals and their pups can be very comfortably seen from a natural observation deck on the cliffs sheltering the beach.
Only 12 kilometers from Puerto Pirámides, it has an excellent beach for fishing or scuba and snorkeling fans. To get here, one leaves the village along National Route Nº 2, up to a signposted turnoff on the right side of the road. The track leads straight onto the beach. It is also an ideal place to trek to from Puerto Pirámides, taking the cliff-edge pathway along the beach.