Day Four With Our Campervan – Puerto Madryn to Camarones

We stayed in a town called shrimps!! And saw a lot of penguins!!

Camarones is the Spanish word for prawn/shrimp (plural) and all throughout Central and South America we’ve seen towns named after the little fellas, which we thought…and probably forever will think…was so hilarious. I mean, who calls a town shrimp? Needless to say that when we saw we could finally lay our head to rest in a place called shrimp we took it.

The town itself was unremarkable save for the beautiful sunset. In fact, it was a one-shrimp kinda town. The even funnier thing about this town called shrimp was that it had a huge monument dedicated to salmon. Go figure.
  
Things in South America don’t always make sense to us.

 

he caught the salmon!
 
Now I’ll be totally truthful with you: we didn’t go all the way to a town called camarones for a laugh. We actually stayed there because we had been slightly north in Punta Tombo to visit another huge Magellanic penguin colony. In fact, it’s the biggest in South America.
  
And indeed, the colony at Punta Tombo was more impressive than the one on Valdes Peninsula that we had seen the day before.

At both locations, people were seperated from the wildlife so you couldn’t walk wherever you wanted to. It wasn’t a huge deal for us but if you’re a photographer, or just generally hate being told what you can and can’t do while you’re a visitor in another country, it might annoy you. The reason for the forced seperation is probably because there are too many people who have tried to pet the penguins. Every single one of the penguins at Punta Tombo is there to nest and its good that we can let them nest and raise their babies in peace.

penguin parent catching a breeze while staying with the eggs
 
With that said, we got SUPER close to the penguins. They aren’t scared at all and some are even curious. Mostly they just ignore people though and go about their daily penguin business.

   

a baby has hatched!!
 This is the second day we saw penguins, and awesomely, it won’t be the last!

–Cyn

In our last post, I was supposed to include all of this information about day 4 but I forgot! So here you go…a whole seperate post.

 

Day Three With Our Campervan – Puerto Pirámides to Puerto Madryn

Magellanic Penguins! South American Sea Lions! Elephant Seals! Guanaco! Rhea!

These days were filled with more animals than driving, most of the kind that we were never taught about in school. 

Unfortunately, the ones we weren’t taught about – like the rhea (a small ostrich type land bird) and the guanaco (related to the alpaca) – are a bit hard to get pictures of using an iPhone. So, all I really got for you were pictures of young sea lions/elephant seals (I don’t know which) play fighting on the beach and super up close shots of Magellanic Penguins. I hope that’s okay 🙂

This was the first time we’ve ever seen penguins in real life in the wild, and it was incredible! They are so darn cute. 

taken through binoculars
  
this guy was super interested in me (or my phone)
  
the interest wasnt mutual
  
would you look at those squishy feet!
 

Day three we drove around the Valdes Peninsula, which, like most of eastern Patagonia, was quite barren. We’d hardly seen a tree in days. The treeless views meant that we had no trouble spotting rheas and guanaco though. 

There are also these funny birds that hate flying (but can) and have fancy little head pieces, which makes them look like they’re on their way to a British wedding. If their fru-fru head pieces have any survival value, I’d be super surprised. 

They were perpetually crossing the road in front of us while we were on the Valdes Peninsula (and later we’d find out that they’d be doing through all of eastern Patagonia). They were rarely in a rush but when the started running, their little legs got going so fast that they looked almost like the Road Runner’s (not the same kind of bird, I just checked). 

picture of a poster
 
It’s probably worth mentioning that the day our dreams came true, a nightmare was unfolding for people in Paris. We caught a glimpse that something really bad was happening on an old tv in a great little bakery in Puerto Pirámides in the morning, but we couldn’t get the full story until that night. 

We spent the night at a great campsite on the edge of Puerto Madryn, a place that had a huge beach and seemed quite energetic. If we had more time, I would have so been up for a lazy beach day.

– Cyn

Ugh you guys, I made a mistake and completely forgot to include even a single peep about day 4. Not really a problem, but the cover image is from Punta Tombo…not Puerta Pirámides. Sorry for the ghastly confusion. 

Day Two With Our Campervan – Tornquist to Puerto Pirámides

Do you know what kind of thing a Guanaco is? Ya, I didn’t know it was even a thing either until I saw it on the side of the road.

  
It’s a relative of the alpaca but these guys are not domesticated – wild and free, jumping fences all over Argentina.

Here’s the story of how I got to know what a Guanaco is.

Our alarm went off at the hateful hour of 7am. No way were we making the same mistake again. 

Because we were camping opposite a factory, we felt a bit weird about sticking around to make coffee for ourselves. We quickly packed up our roadside bed and headed off to the nearest gas station to refuel our car and ourselves. 

Most of day two was spent driving through boring flat terrain. At least the sun was shining brightly instead of rain. We were even able to cook lunch on the side of the road.

Our goal was to make it to a proper campsite BEFORE it was pitch black. We’re learning lessons left, right, and centre here.

The campsite we had our eye on was on a peninsula – Valdes Peninsula – that was home to penguins. 

The main thing though was that we arrived before dark so we didn’t have a repeat of yesterday’s failed attempt at finding a campsite.

And so…Matt drove over 1,000kms and more than 11 hours. 

We paid our park entrance fee, and headed to town. And it was there on the side of the road that we saw our first group of Guanacos.

We did make our goal. We got to the campsite (which took a bit of finding) at 15 minutes to 7pm. The showers closed at 7pm – and we were desperate for a shower after sleeping on the side of the road! Before we even parked Peppy, we ran into the shower.

After our rushed but hot showers, we set about finding a good place to park for the night. 

And hereto we learned another lesson: Peppy can’t drive through soft sand.

Oh ya, she got stuck. But luckily not for too long. The crisis was averted by Matt’s driving skills and my pushing skills.

Truly, we’re novices at this Campervan-I got through Argentina but at least we’re quick learners!

So, we toasted a successful day with a glass of kind wine and then cooked dinner out the back of our van while the sun went down. 

 

As we were finishing dinner, our oblivious neighbours cranked their annoying music. So we packed up and moved to somewhere quieter. The amount of freedom in being able to do that is incredible.

– Cyn