The first recorded inhabitants of the peninsula were the Tehuelche native Indians who wandered the marshy sands of Caleta Valdés in their hunt for guanaco deer and choique, a kind of ostrich, as well as fishing and gathering oysters. The national park, named by UNESCO as a World Heritage site, is a wildlife haven, particularly for marine species. It is best known for the Right Whales that congregate in its bays every year, but it is brimming with other species too - seals, penguins, storks, guanaco, armadillos, Patagonian hares, foxes, eagles and many others.
The herds of southern right whales (thus named because it was the "right" whale to hunt for its tendency to swim close to the surface) tend to arrive in late August, although some are often sighted as early as June. Their dark shapes arcing through the waves clearly visible from the shore, often blowing fountains of water into the sky. By boat you can watch these pacific creatures gliding past, often surfacing right under your nose with large inquisitive eyes, a huge tail slapping spray over the boat.
The first Welsh colony in Argentina, today serves as the main base from which to explore the Valdes Peninsula where nature lovers can see whales, penguins, sea-elephants and seals, as well as a profusion of birdlife along the Patagonian coastline.
120km south of Puerto Madryn the largest colony of Magellan penguins in South America, which reaches over half a million birds during peak times when the baby penguins start to hatch in November. One of the greatest features of this reserve is the fact that you can literally walk among the penguins. The penguin season is from October to April.
The Welsh settlement of Gaiman was founded in 1884 and is still the most important Welsh community in the country. Gaiman today is a very independent community which has preserved its finest traditions. Welsh is spoken on a daily basis while and a rich choral tradition endures. You can have tea and scones in one of the many charming tea-houses after strolling around the friendly streets; the locals need no encouragement to regale you with stories of their ancestors, the first families that struggled to build up the community with the help of the friendly Tehuelche Indians.