Bahia Bustamante is a private sheep farm in Argentine Patagonia. Spread over 210,000 acres, it is about 1,000 miles south of Buenos Aires. You visit this isolated outpost to enjoy one of the few places in the world left with such an enormous variety of plant and animal species in a relatively small space.
Domestic animals, including sheep, dogs, cats, and horses, roam freely across the farm, but the highlight at Bahia Bustamante is the wild marine animals, including penguins (100.000) and sea lions (4.000), and a huge amount and diversity of marine birds. Only a few places in the world house such a number and variety of seabirds and marine mammals, which is why it is included in the National Park “Patagonia Austral”.
For ornithologists, there is an infinite number of species in the region: Steamer ducks, egrets, gulls, vultures, falcons, red knots, hawks, albatrosses, eagles, skuas, red plovers, with several species that don’t exist anywhere else in the world. Attracted by the verdant breeding grounds, royal cormorants, rock cormorants, and giant petrels all stop by. The latter have six-foot wingspans and can fly 200 miles out to sea.
Wherever you decide to stay, book via our luxury travel concierge. We offer free upgrades, free breakfasts, and free perks at hotels, including Four Seasons, Aman, Belmond, Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton, Marriott, InterContinental, and more. You also get your usual Marriott Bonvoy Hyatt, loyalty points, and status benefits when you book with our concierge.
Get to Bahia Bustamante from Buenos Aires by flying to Comodoro Rivadavia or Trelew Airport. It takes several hours in a Jeep before you arrive at the isolated and beautiful Bahia Bustamante.
Mr. Lorenzo Soriano (Baeza, Jaen, Spain, 1901-1987) arrived in this area in 1953, searching for seaweed that would enable the production of “Malvic” hair gel, which he produced from 1947. After traveling all over the Patagonian coastline searching for seaweed, he discovered Bahía Bustamante, known then as the “Rotten Bay”, due to the accumulation of rotten seaweed. He decided to conduct preliminary research and then started the seaweed harvest with his four sons. It was at that moment that this exclusive village was born.
Back then, there were only two constructions by the sea. They settled there and began to build Bahía Bustamante. They built houses and rooms for more than 400 employees, with their own school, church, police station, warehouses, workshop, and grocery store, among other things.
Today, with only 30 inhabitants, this small seaweed town has opened its doors to travelers, offering the exclusivity of being surrounded by 360 degrees of nature and access to an incredible diversity of fauna. Since December 2008, its coasts have been part of the National Park “Patagonia Austral,” which protects one marine mile from the coast and around 50 islands.
Style & Character
Bahia Bustamante is truly in the middle of nature, hundreds of miles from any other urbanization, with unending skies and undulating landscapes ranging from pockets of the desert, uninterrupted swathes of pastureland, dunes, and canyons to the rugged Atlantic cliffs which drop down beaches and the wild and deep blue ocean.
The old grocery store houses the hotel’s common areas and has an old-world Patagonia atmosphere. The club is a games room with a pool, ping-pong, and table football. The bar and living room are the perfect place to relax while watching the sea through the immense windows and enjoying the special lighting & fabulous sunsets that Patagonia offers. The bar is situated in the corner of the living room. In the small library, you will find works about birds that inhabit the local shores left year after year by Biologists.
There is also a local museum that contains a collection of old photographs of the village and its old ways, showing the first steps of the seaweed industry worldwide that took place on the coast and how Bahia Bustamante was born in 1950.
The most luxurious rooms at Bahia Bustamante are located across six sea-view houses. Each house has two very comfortable, decorated bedrooms, a living room, and a fully equipped bathroom. Minibar & oceanfront view terrace. The hotel includes a full board (except beverages) and activities, which are coordinated the night before and are subject to weather conditions & tide tables. Bicycles are also complimentary.
Simpler rooms are set up in five Steppe Houses located at the edge “village” where the steppe landscape begins. Each house has one double room, dining room, bathroom, kitchenette, and a small living room with a single bed. This option does not include activities or meals. The maximum capacity of each house is three people.
Service & Facilities
Is worth noting that Wi-FI is available in the common areas while the generator is on. Please keep in mind that since it is a satellite, the service is very variable. Unsurprisingly there is no cell phone signal, but we have a telephone at your disposal.
After breakfast, gather at the grocery store and assess the weather report and the tide tables to determine whether sailing is possible. This trip aims to sail along Malaspina cove visiting sea lion and seabird colonies. If sailing is possible, the group gets on the boat and sails along the seaweed fields, where you come across vessels working on the seaweed harvest. Later you sail on the mussel crops and will be told all about the online breeding system.
Finally, arrive near the islands that are within the cove, approach the Roca Malaspina to continue sailing down the archipelago made up of the Vernacci Islands. While sailing, contemplate Sea Lion colonies (4000 animals during the breeding season), Magellan Penguins (100.000 – Season: October to March), and colorful Marine Bird colonies. Then the boat is moored and returned to the village.
Another popular trip is to the peninsula (4 hours approx.): Graviña Peninsula is a 70 km Peninsula of sandy beaches, crystal clear water, and reddish rocks. Biking, trekking, or 4×4 are possible. This will depend on the preferences of the group. If the tide is low, natural swimming pools are formed in the rocks, ideal for bathing if the weather is good. The peninsula also houses an archeological site.
The Petrified forest tour (4/5 hours approx.) involves A 4×4 ride combined with trekking to the Petrified Forest, located 18 miles away from the town, within the limits of the land. Once there, you will travel 60 million years ago, interpreting the different pieces. On foot, we arrive at “The Pyramid,” where it is possible to listen to the Patagonian silence. During the visit, we will also observe all kinds of Steppe fauna. This activity can also be done riding at an extra cost.
Penguin Island (3 hours approx.) is a shorter venture. Just 15 minutes away from the town by 4×4, this island is home to a small colony of Magellan Penguins. During low tide, it is possible to reach the island on foot, allowing us to observe penguins and their nests closely. On the way, you will also be able to find all kinds of Steppe fauna.
Aristizabal cape (4 to 5 hours approx.) is a 4×4 drive to reach Aristizabal Cape, an important rockery cape, which is characterized by its imposing landscape, dominated by the sea, the stone beaches, and fauna. During the way, apart from enjoying the beautiful coastal landscape, you will also be able to observe all kinds of Steppe fauna. Once you reach Aristizabal Lighthouse, you will trek to see Sea Lions, which usually rest here. This is also a nesting area for many kinds of marine birds.
Rock Canyon (4 to 5 hours approx.) involves beautiful trekking down a canyon, an area that used to be a river and is now dry, offering the possibility of trekking until reaching the sea. Its 15-meter walls are formed by Jurassic rocks from the Mesozoic era. During high tide, it is possible to swim in the natural pools, and it is also an archaeological site since aborigines used to visit this area too. The place has special weather conditions, which make it ideal for bird-watching.
Other activities include Trekking, Mountain Bike / Activities with an extra cost: Horseback Riding, Kayak, and navigation in private Zodiac.
Food & Drink
The restaurant serves regional food based on typical products of the area: seaweed, different kinds of meat, fish, and other marine products, and fruits and vegetables from the organic garden all make their way onto your table. Meals are hearty, country fare with lentil-based dishes, hearty roasted vegetables, and fresh fire-roasted lamb, all washed down with a few bottles of Patagonia beer.
Bahia Bustamante doesn’t do any marketing; this place is on a need-to-know and recommendation basis. It is one of the few true secret destinations left in the world. This isolated and unique ecosystem is a dream for any naturalist. If you appreciate the massive grandiosity of nature and want a private and unique place to enjoy our planet earth, you will surely love Bahia Bustamante.
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