Puerto Madryn, the second-largest but best-known city in the region, is a port on the Golfo Nuevo. It was the site of the first Welsh landing in 1865 and is named for the founder's home town of Madryn. Welch immigrants continued to arrive until 1911. Puerto Madryn is also the best base for the exploration of Peninsula Valdes, with the best lodging, dining and touring options available. There are also pleasant beaches in town and interesting museums.
The Beaches in Puerto Madryn
The Plaza San Martin is the center of Puerto Madryn, although its mile-long beach, Playa El Doradillo, at the far northern end, is where most people congregate for sun and sand, as well as whale watching. Most of the hotels and shops, along with most of the tourist agencies, are located along the shore road, Avenida Julio Roca.
There are several other beaches in Puerto Madryn, all of which are found at the southern end of town. Known as balnearios, these modest resorts are famous for their calm waters and whale sightings. From north to south, these are Club de Mar, Mediterraneo, Yoaquina, Simona, and Nativo Sur. It goes without saying that Puerto Madryn is known for having Patagonia's finest beaches.
Marine and Wildlife Museums
Two excellent learning centers are the interactive maritime exhibits at the panoramically situated EcoCentro on Avenida Jules Verne at the southern end of town with gorgeous views of the bay, and at the other, the Natural Sciences and Oceanographic Museum at the corner of Domecq Garcia and Menendez, which has displays of the area's myriad flora and fauna.
EcoCentro Official Website Natural Sciences and Oceanographic Museum
A Little Bit of the Old Country
While much of Puerto Madryn's Welsh origins are no longer visible, a slow walk about its quiet streets reveals hints of its past. And visitors fortunate enough to be in town in early March can take part in the week-long celebration of the Battle of Patagones, when the town puts on its finest and many regional dishes and crafts are on display.
Welsh Settlement in Patagonia
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