Ecocentro Puerto Madryn
In season, southern right whales approach the promontory of this luminous “Magellanic” structure, crowned by a tower that yields views of distant Península Valdés across the Golfo Nuevo. It’s the work of a nonprofit institution striving to bring environmental education, research, and the arts under the same roof.
As a maritime-life educational center, the Ecocentro has superb displays of South Atlantic fauna, including birds, seals, and especially whales; one of the finest is a living tidal pool. Even the surrounding gardens serve a didactic purpose—in lieu of residential Madryn’s water-hungry lawns, the directors have chosen to preserve the native coastal desert flora.
Reached by a spiral staircase, the three-level tower holds a library, an exhibition room for local artists and authors, and a reading room. Painting, photography, and sculpture are all on display; the ground-floor atrium accommodates the largest works. There are also a 150-seat theater for concerts and lectures, a crafts and souvenir shop, and a café.
Getting to Ecocentro Puerto Madryn
Reached by Bulevar Almirante Brown, about five minutes from downtown Puerto Madryn by taxi, 15 minutes by bicycle, and 40 minutes on foot, the Ecocentro (Julio Verne 3784, tel. 02965/45-7470, www.ecocentro.org.ar, US$8 adults, US$5 children ages 6–12) is open 5–9 p.m. daily January–February, plus 10 a.m.–1 p.m. when cruise ships are in port. Hours are 3–7 p.m. Tuesday–Sunday in March and July–September, 3–7 p.m. Wednesday–Sunday April–June, and 3–8 p.m. daily October–December.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Argentina, 3rd edition