This utterly unique, private coastal basecamp and living museum is set within a 40,000 hectare Patagonian steppe property, which forms part of the Marine National Park (Patagonia Austral) and also Blue Patagonia, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. With IBA status (Important Birding Area) to boot, only a few places in the world are blessed with the sheer quantity & diversity of seabirds and marine mammals. It is surrounded by the seemingly infinite views of the steppe and the southern Atlantic ocean.
Once described by The New York Times as “Argentina’s Private (and Secret) Answer to the Galapagos”, Bahia Bustamante was originally founded in the 1950s as a seaweed settlement and descendants of the same family run the Estancia today.
Bahia Bustamante is a small, family-run project, a private wildlife sanctuary, sustainable sheep farm & eco lodge set in remote Patagonia. The owners are striving to protect this idyllic spot, to promote environmental conservation among its guests & raise awareness of the need to preserve such fragile ecosystems. See Bahia Bustamante's own factsheet and Commitment to Sustainability.
Bird watching is exceptional at Bahia Bustamante with a wide variety of species inhabiting different ecosystems, principally marine, intertidal, marsh, wetland and steppe. Out of the 16 species of marine birds that nest on Argentina’s coast, 13 do it at Bahia Bustamante. There are 2 endemic species; the Chubut Steamer Duck (Tachyeres leucocephalus) is found in large concentrations here, as well as the Olrog´s Gull (Larus Atlanticus). Both species are rated internationally as threatened birds. Also 7 migratory, 5 Neartic and 2 Patagonian species frequent the area.
From October till April guests can also see a great diversity of other marine and steppe fauna, with up to 100,000 magellanic penguins and 4000 sea lions (Otaria Flavescens) spending the season here. Right whales, orcas and elephant seal can very occasionally be spotted on their way from or to Valdes Peninsula, but anyone hoping to see those should spend 1 night in the Valdes area before or after their stay at Bahia Bustamante. Patagonian cavy (also known as mara or Patagonian hare), lesser rheas and guanacos are easy to spot and, occasionally, a restless armadillo or skunk may lean out of a thorny bush. Sunset is the best moment to see a great variety of birds, tinamous and even grey foxes.
These include sailing through Malaspina Cove towards the Vernacci Islands, with their sea lion, penguins and many marine bird colonies; exploring the sandy beaches, natural rock pools and archaeological and geological sites on Graviña peninsula in 4x4s, by bike or on foot. Horse-riding is available for a small fee and must be booked in advance, subject to availability.
Other highlights are:-
Penguin Island just 15 minutes away from the Lodge
A moderate trek through the petrified forest on the farm, with its fossilised tree trunks and colourful wood and rock fragments
The stunning landscapes and diverse wildlife of Aristizabal Cape , such as lesser rheas, maras, grey foxes and armadillos, as well as the sea lions a short trek from the Lighthouse.
A beautiful trek through the Rock Canyon, following the path of a dry river until reaching the ocean. Guests walk alongside immense walls 15 metres tall, formed by Jurassic rocks from the Mesozoic era. Swimming, photo opportunities and a visit to an archaeological site. Also ideal for bird watching
An historical tour around the Lodge to learn about its history, founder, inhabitants, the buildings and its rich past. Guests visit the barns where seaweed is processed & learn about the different species found in Bahia Bustamante and its uses.
Ranch Day & introduction to sustainable wool production
4 Superior Sea Cabins - Each in a separate chalet, spacious and cosy with 2 double bedrooms; a living room and one of the bedrooms have sea views. With shower.
2 Standard Sea Cabins – Located in one building beside the restaurant, with 2 double bedrooms. A living room and one of the bedrooms have sea views. With bath / shower
5 Steppes Cabins – with 1 bedroom each – these are the most simple accommodation option for the more independent minded, located at the back of the property with steppe views (NB these do not include activities or meals).