Whales in Patagonia

Photo: Belén Etchegaray

Each year the gulfs around Península Valdés (Golfo Nuevo, Golfo San José and Golfo San Matías) are visited by 1000 to 2000 southern right whales, out of a total estimated population of 5000 to 6000 individuals.

Which whales come to Península Valdés?

  • Male and female adults of reproductive age.
  • Juveniles not yet of reproductive age, but who “socialize” with other whales in the area.
  • Pregnant females bred a year earlier, ready to give birth to their calves.
  • Adult females with their year-old calves which will be weaned during their time at the Península.


These whales migrate thousands of kilometers annually. In summer and fall they feed in the cold and plankton-rich waters of the Argentine sea and continental shelf, and in the vicinity of several Subantarctic Islands. Later in the year they migrate to the temperate waters of the northern Patagonian gulfs and northern Argentine sea, all the way to Uruguay and southern Brazil, where they breed in winter and spring.

Annual cycle

Annual cycle infographic: Victoria & Eugenia Zavattieri