We don't often hear about the part of Patagonia that lies smack bang in the center of Argentina's Eastern coast, in Chubut Province, on the Gulfo Nuevo. Tucked behind Peninsula Valdes, Puerto Madryn (the name, Spanish and Welsh, indicates the mixed settlement of this area), is a sickle-shaped port that is mildly picturesque—but well situated for eye-popping whale and seal watching, bountiful seafood, dramatic moonrises, and a stretch of endless blue horizon.
I stayed at the Peninsula de Valdes Hotel, a friendly, comfy, modern base which serves an excellent Argentinean breakfast that will tide you over for a day of adventure. And that day might include anything from a trek along the dramatic clifftops on an ATV, to a whale watching excursion in a dirigible to see the many majestic whales breaching in their preferred breeding ground inside the Bay of Pyramids.
Plan your own itinerary with official help as you'll need local expertise when it comes to the seasonal access of wildlife and possibly some wild weather and landscapes, too. It's an outdoor girl's paradise, but at night you can tuck into that ocean fresh seafood, and I'm talking platters of steaming paella, grilled prawns, and scallops on the half shell. Be sure to try a glass or two of the local wine. We loved the smooth, easy-drinking Bianchi Chablis and Malbec. The food and wine in Argentina is affordable, excellent, and this being a Spanish-settled region, restaurants are vibrant, casual and open late. It's a great way to unwind after getting your wild on.