Argentina. Puerto madryn

Population: 40,1 millions
Capital city: Buenos Aires
People: 85% European descent, 15% Mestizo, Indian and other minorities
Language: American Spanish, plus 17 indigenous languages
Religion: 93% roman catholic, 2.5% protestant, 2% jewish, 1.5% ukranian catholic, 1% armenian orthodox
Currency: Peso (ARS)

Mention Argentina, and people think about solitary gauchos or maybe tango dancers. It is country blessed with abundant natural resources and a highly educated population. The country boasts a wide variety of cultural attractions, but for many travelers, its natural wonders are the primary draw. From the northern deserts down to the southern Andean Cordillera, from the Iguazú Falls to the magnificent desolation of Patagonia, Argentina's geography is varied and stunning. For cosmopolitan types, there's the elegant capital, Buenos Aires. This fabulous city is renowned for its sophistication, although travelers expecting a more 'South American' experience are sometimes disappointed with its European touch.

Argentina is one Latin American country where Europeans and North Americans can feel at ease and travel relatively inconspicuously. Argentina forms the eastern half of South America's long, tapering tail.

It's a large country - the eighth largest in the world, and the second largest on the South American continent. It borders Chile to the west (separated by the Andean Cordilleras range) and Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil and Bolivia to the north and east (separated by rivers). It also shares the offshore island territory of Tierra del Fuego with Chile, and continues claiming the possession of the Malvinas Islands.

Argentina's topography is affected by both latitude and altitude, and is accordingly varied. The country can be divided into four major physiographic provinces: the Andes to the west (with arid basins, grape-filled foothills, glacial mountains and the Lake District), the fertile lowland north (with subtropical rainforests), the central Pampas (a flat mixture of humid and dry expanses) and Patagonia (a combination of pastoral steppes and glacial regions).


PUNTA TOMBO

The Protected Natural Area of Punta Tombo hosts every year –between September and April- the largest continental colony in the world of Magellanic Penguins. By the Atlantic Ocean shores, surrounded by farms dedicated to wool production, it is the place penguins choose for their reproduction. In front of the sea, half million penguins protect their nests from depredators, look for food (little fish, anchovies and squids) for their offspring, fill the air with their squawks and paint the landscape in black and white. The best time to observe them is in the morning and at sunset, when it is not so hot and penguins increase their activities. To reach Punta Tombo, it is necessary to drive about 110 miles towards the south from Puerto Madryn. The access route is mostly paved, but there are about 12 miles of gravel at the end of the road. At the entrance, the Centro Tombo provides various rooms where it is possible to learn more about the area's wildlife. Departure from hotel in the morning; we will get into the reserve to walk near the nests. A big group of penguins on the beach can be observed from a cliff. In the afternoon we return and stop in Trelew City ("Lewis town" in welsh language, Lewis Jones was one of the pioneers who came to these distant lands in the late nineteenth century). MEF E. Feruglio Paleontology Museum and visit (optional). Then continue to Gaiman Colony where the exquisite Welsh tea can be tasted (optional). Arrival in Puerto Madryn late in the afternoon. Penguin season: September to April (approximate, depends on the presence of birds)