Scuba diving with sea lions, Península Valdés

Scuba diving with sea lions, Península Valdés

The sea lions, also known as fur seals, stay in the warm waters of the Golfo Nuevo all year round.

The tour: sea lions, southern right whales, Magellanic penguins and sea elephants are some of the animals that choose Península Valdés as their breeding place every year.

These species can be seen on the shores from December to January.  But the sea lions, also known as fur seals, stay in the warm waters of the Golfo Nuevo all year round, at the Punta Loma Nature Reserve, south Puerto Madryn. Diving with them is an unforgettable experience.

Requirements: Level 1 PADI or equivalent.

Age: children aged 4+ are allowed onboard. To be able to dive, children will need a 1 star certificate.

Seasons: all year round. Water temperatures are constant and relatively high in the Golfo Nuevo (16-18° C). However, air temperatures and, mainly, the winds that blow over Patagonia, cause temperatures to feel much lower when coming out of the water.

Circuits: Scuba diving with fur seals may be included in any of the Península Valdés circuits, particularly in the Península Valdés and Esteros del Iberá (Iberá Marshlands) photogaphic safaris.

Scuba diving

The meeting point will be the dive shop of one of our underwater scuba diving professionals, on the south shores of Puerto Madryn, where you may get double or triple neoprene diving suits depending on the season (water temperatures range from 16 to 18° C).

You will then gather on the boat that will be waiting on the shore. The boat, with capacity for 20 people, has state-of-the-art cockpit and equipment. You will go with professional divers, all PADI certified instructors.  In order to take this tour, minimum level certificate (Scuba Diver) is required. Do not forget to bring your cards.

After sailing for 15 minutes towards the Punta Loma Nature Reserve, you will take your first plunge into the water! Diving with sea lions is practiced at a depth of around 4m. During the 20-minute dive experience, and also during the three-hour excursion, you will have plenty of time to observe the fur seals.

Adults are the ones that usually come closer. These are particularly friendly and pose no danger. The fur seals, quite friendly and most curious, will let you touch them and even play with you. You will be accompanied by a diving instructor the whole time. In order to limit the impact of human beings presence in the reserve, diving groups are restricted to six people. These fur seals, however, may also be watched from aboard the boat.

Sea Lions

Also known as fur seals, these are the fattest seals. Males may weigh 300 kg, double the size of females. Sea lions are excellent divers (up to 60m depth) and feed on sea fish and crustaceans. They only settle on the shores during the breeding season, from December to January.

The rest of the year, you can see them in the water, all year round, in Península Valdés. Sea lions are named after their long hair and male roaring, especially strong when defending their harems.

Punta Loma Provincial Reserve

The Punta Loma Provincial Reserve, 16 km from Puerto Madryn, was created in 1967 over 1,700 hectares of land to protect the sea lion colony living in the gulf all year round.

An extensive cliff dominates the beach and allows us to watch the fur seals during their breeding season. Many birds are also present there: oystercatchers, cormorants, seagulls, among others.