Estancia Bahia Bustamante was built in the 1960s to provide a base for seaweed harvesting and the extraction of colloids for the production of Malvic hair gel, among others. It now serves as an excellent base from which to explore the diverse fauna, both inland and marine, with which this region is blessed. The atmosphere is friendly and informal and the dedicated owner, Matias Soriano, often guides guests personally on wildlife watching walks: if not, then one of his expert guides will have the pleasure.
A generator – switched off overnight and when guests are out on excursions – provides the electricity, so battery recharging needs to be carefully planned. There is a computer available in the lounge for guests to use, and Wi-Fi is available in the communal areas when the generator is on.
There are six guest houses by the sea, each with two twin rooms, living room, bathroom and heating. Delicious, freshly prepared meals accompanied by good wines are served in the Proveeduria, the old grocery store which also contains a small museum, games room, bar and living room with a small library. There are also four simpler ‘steppe houses’ located on the edge of the village.
The coast of Bahia Bustamante and Malaspina Cove has the greatest diversity of seabirds in all Patagonia, with 21 breeding colonies. There are two endemic species – Chubut steamer duck and Olrog’s gull – found in large concentrations, a Magellanic penguin colony numbering 100,000 individuals, and significant colonies of blue-eyed and rock cormorants.
There is an incredibly rich marine fauna around the coastline, with around 3,500 sea lions and many orcas and dolphins. Right whales and elephant seals can also be seen on their way to and from the Valdes Peninsula.
Other attractions close by for guests to visit includes a petrified forest, the seaweed industry and archaeological sites, and a visit to a typical Patagonian ranch. Bikes are available for guest use and horse riding and kayaking can be arranged for an additional charge.
Free Wi-Fi in the communal areas, heating and electricity are only provided during certain times of day. There is also a games room, bar, library, and lounge area. A computer is available in the lounge for guest use.
The best time to see the greatest concentrations of breeding penguins and other seabirds is from October to March.
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Breeding sea bird colonies including a colony of over 100,000 Magellanic penguins, blue-eyed and rock cormorants and the endemic Chubut steamer duck and Olrog’s gull. 3,500 southern sea lions, dolphins and sometimes elephant seals, orcas and southern right whales can be seen along the coast.
Hikes, boat trips, visit to the petrified forest and a typical Patagonia estancia (ranch), bikes are available for guest use and horse riding and kayaking are also available.
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