Monday, March 8, 2010

El Pedral Lodge

Vince meets you at the Trelow airport and you load into his pickup truck for the hour and a half ride through the most unattractive scrubland along a dirt road. I could read my travel companions' minds....."where in the world are we going and wherever it is, it better be good." The drive ends at the El Pedral Lodge - a working ranch turned guest lodge in 2004 on the coast of the Peninsula Valdes region. Your opinion starts to change once you are warmly greeted and told that your first excursion starts in 15 ATV ride on the deserted beach to see their new colony of Magellan penguins.

Other wildlife viewing adventures await. You don't have to organize anything and two nights is the perfect amount of time to spend here. A trip the next day in the zodiac allowed us to get up close and personal with a large community of sea lions.

Going with another couple would be my recommendation since you are miles from anywhere and there is no entertainment (ie. no television or movies) after dinner. Accommodations and dining are comfortable, although not luxurious. This is the living room of the main house.

Clothing is ultra casual - jeans and yoga wear, a windbreaker, running shoes for hiking and boating. For the boat rides, a toque that covers your ears is perferrable instead of a visor. Sunscreen and lip protector are musts.

Would I go back? In a heartbeat.....I'd try to fly into Puerto Madryn because it would knock off 45 minutes of the drive from the airport (but flights only go Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays into Puerto Madryn while they fly everyday into Trelow)and I would definitely go during whale watching season - between July and November. You would see the magnificent whales in your private zodiac boat as well as more elephant seals. Instead of the 42 we saw, there would be 36,000 and you would see the two ton males, not just the "teenagers".

We ended the visit with a leisurely horseback ride and dinner with a glass or two of the chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon from the Tupungato Winelands winery in Mendoza.

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