Interjurisdictional Coastal Marine Park Southern Patagonia

Located in the stunning region of Argentine Patagonia, the Interjurisdictional Coastal Marine Park Southern Patagonia (in Spanish: Parque Interjurisdiccional Marino Costero Patagonia Austral) awaits to be uncovered. This haven of marine and coastal biodiversity offers a unique experience amidst mighty landscapes and endemic species that capture the essence of Argentina’s pristine nature.

Introduction to the Interjurisdictional Coastal Marine Park Southern Patagonia

Interjurisdictional Coastal Marine Park Southern Patagonia

History and Establishment of the Park

The Interjurisdictional Coastal Marine Park Southern Patagonia was created on August 8, 2007, through a treaty signed between the national government and the province of Chubut with the aim of protecting the rich biodiversity and the marine and coastal ecosystems of the region.

The province of Chubut ratified the treaty through a law promulgated on November 1, 2007, while the national Congress ratified it through a law promulgated on January 5, 2009 (Law No. 26.446/09). The park’s establishment was driven by the Patagonia Natural Foundation and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) starting in 2001, with the objective of preserving this conservation area and promoting the sustainable use of its marine and terrestrial species, as well as its habitats.

The park’s administration is divided into two sectors: one managed by the National Parks Administration and the other under the responsibility of the Chubut provincial government. It is important to highlight that the treaty stipulates that there is no transfer of jurisdictions between the involved parties.

Within the park, there is the provincial wildlife reserve Cabo Dos Bahías, which is part of the Interjurisdictional System of Coastal Marine Protected Areas (SIAPCM) and falls under the jurisdiction of the Chubut provincial government.

The management and execution of the necessary actions to fulfill the park’s creation objectives are overseen by a management commission composed of representatives from the National Parks Administration and the Chubut province. This commission is composed of two regular representatives and two alternates from each entity, with one of them representing the provincial Fisheries Secretariat.

Regarding the park’s administration by the national government, it was established through a resolution by the National Parks Administration in May 2011 that the park falls under the category of protected areas of complexity III. This implies that the park has an appointed superintendent and is divided into departments responsible for administration, infrastructure and maintenance, national park rangers, conservation, and public use. The park’s superintendent office is located in the town of Camarones.

Geographical Location

The park extends along the coast of the Chubut province, north of the San Jorge Gulf, between Cape Dos Bahías and Quintano Island. This park covers an area of 104,812 hectares, including both marine and terrestrial areas. It can be geographically located using the coordinates: 45°00′00″S 66°20′00″W.

Extent and Representative Ecosystems

The park encompasses an area of over 104,812 hectares and protects a variety of ecosystems, including forests, estuaries, wetlands, and marine areas.

Within its expanse, there are 42 islands and islets, such as Arce, Cayetano, Leones, Pan de Azúcar, Tova, Tovita, Cevallos, Viana, Valdez, Quintano islands, as well as Vernaci islands and Gran Robredo, Rojo islets, among others. These islands and islets are an integral part of the park, contributing to its diversity and natural beauty.

Park Emblem

The white-headed steamer duck (Tachyeres leucocephalus) is a symbolic bird of the Interjurisdictional Coastal Marine Park Southern Patagonia. This robust duck is endemic to the Chubut coast and is distinguished by its white head in the case of males. Although it does not fly, it can be observed swimming in pairs or resting on rocks near the sea. Its diet primarily consists of crustaceans and mollusks.

In the highest sector of Leones Island within the park, there stands a structure of historical and visual significance: a 9-meter-tall lighthouse. This lighthouse, built by the Argentine Navy, was in operation from 1907 to 1968. Its presence adds a distinctive element to the park’s landscape and represents an important part of its historical heritage.

Flora and Fauna of the Park

Marine Biological Diversity

The Interjurisdictional Coastal Marine Park Southern Patagonia hosts a rich diversity of flora and fauna, both in the continental landscape and the marine environment.

In the continental zone, the steppe predominates, characterized by typical grasslands and shrubbery. Among the most common fauna representatives are guanacos, choiques (Patagonian rheas), foxes, maras, and moras calandrias. These animals have developed adaptations to survive in this semi-arid environment.

In the marine realm, biodiversity is particularly remarkable. The irregular geography of the coasts, along with the islands and the high productivity generated by nutrient upwelling from the seabed, make the park a refuge and a place for feeding and reproduction for numerous species of invertebrates, fish, mammals, and birds.

In terms of fish, large schools of anchovies can be found in open waters, as well as hakes and white salmon in the reef area. In the case of birds, Magellanic penguins, cormorants, seagulls, giant petrels, diving petrels, and the white-headed steamer duck stand out, nesting along the coast and islands.

Among the marine mammals, one can spot South American sea lions with one and two hairs, dusky and southern right whale dolphins, Peale’s dolphins, orcas, and whales. These species find a suitable habitat in the park for feeding and reproduction.

The diversity of flora and fauna in the Interjurisdictional Coastal Marine Park Southern Patagonia makes it a place of great importance for the conservation of marine and coastal biodiversity in the Argentine Patagonia region.

Endemic and Threatened Species

The park is crucial for the conservation of several endemic and threatened species, including the black-necked cormorant and the kelp gull.

Birdlife and Seabird Colonies

The park hosts significant colonies of seabirds, making it an exceptional location for birdwatching.

Geology of the Park

Geological Features

The park’s landscape is a geological wonder, with coastal rock formations that reflect millions of years of geological history in the Patagonian Steppe ecoregion.

Regional Climate

The park experiences a temperate and semi-arid climate. The average annual temperature is around 13°C. During the winter months, minimum temperatures can drop below freezing, while in summer, maximum temperatures can exceed 30°C.

Precipitation in the region is relatively low, reaching around 200 mm per year. Most of the rainfall occurs in the fall and winter months. Winds in the area are strong to moderate and tend to blow mainly from the west-southwest. These winds can influence the climate and thermal sensation at certain times of the year.

Islands and Islets of the Park

Arce Island

Arce Island is one of the islands located within the Interjurisdictional Coastal Marine Park Southern Patagonia. With its coastal landscape and cliffs, Arce Island provides an ideal habitat for diverse marine species and birds. Exploring this island allows for enjoying stunning views and the possibility of spotting wildlife in its natural environment.

Cayetano Island

Cayetano Island is one of the islands present in the park. With its scenic beauty and rock formations, this island provides a refuge for numerous marine species and birds that find its shores a place for resting and breeding. Exploring Cayetano Island allows for appreciating the magnificence of nature and discovering the diversity of life that inhabits it.

Leones Island

Positioned in an elevated location, Leones Island offers impressive panoramic views of the surrounding marine environment. This island serves as a landmark for visitors who wish to admire the beauty of the landscape and the richness of marine life. Observing Leones Island is a memorable experience showcasing the grandeur of nature in its most pristine state.

Pan de Azúcar Island

Pan de Azúcar Island is one of the most notable islands in the region. Its distinctive shape and evocative name make it a point of interest for visitors. This island hosts a variety of wildlife, including seabirds and marine species. Exploring Pan de Azúcar Island allows for immersing oneself in a unique natural environment and marveling at the wonders of the Patagonian coast.

Tova Island

Tova Island boasts a rugged landscape and abundant flora and fauna, offering a perfect setting for observing marine life and avifauna. Exploring Tova Island provides the opportunity to connect with nature in its purest form and discover the hidden treasures of this insular gem.

Tovita Island

Tovita Island is a small island that adds charm to the Interjurisdictional Coastal Marine Park Southern Patagonia. Despite its small size, its ecological significance makes it a home for diverse marine species and birds. Its beauty and role in the ecological balance of the area make it a worthy place for exploration and appreciation.

Cevallos Island

With its rich biodiversity, Cevallos Island holds great importance for seabirds. This island is a focal point for wildlife enthusiasts. Exploring it allows for observing marine fauna up close and appreciating the natural beauty that surrounds it.

Viana Island

With its marine environment and abundance of wildlife, Viana Island serves as a sanctuary for various marine species and birds. Exploring Viana Island provides the opportunity to immerse oneself in a stunning marine landscape and uncover the hidden marvels of this unique island.

Valdez Island

Boasting scenic beauty and rich biodiversity, Valdez Island stands out as a prime location for observing marine life and avifauna. Exploring Valdez Island allows for delving into an astonishing natural environment and discovering the diversity of species that inhabit it.

Quintano Island

Quintano Island is one of the islands present within the Interjurisdictional Coastal Marine Park Southern Patagonia. With its coastal location and impressive natural surroundings, this island provides vital habitat for various marine species and birds. Exploring Quintano Island offers the opportunity to connect with nature and appreciate the significance of its conservation.

Vernaci Islands

The Vernaci Islands form a group of islands that enrich the landscape, playing a relevant role in the marine ecosystem. These islands offer a unique experience for observing birds and marine life. Exploring the Vernaci Islands allows for immersing oneself in a fascinating natural world and discovering the captivating interaction between species and their environment.

Gran Robredo and Rojo Islets

Gran Robredo and Rojo Islets are small rocky formations that are part of the park. Despite their small size, these islets hold importance for various species of seabirds. Visiting Gran Robredo and Rojo Islets offers an opportunity to observe wildlife in its natural environment and appreciate the beauty of these small yet significant shelters of life. These islets are ideal habitats for avifauna, seabirds that find a place to nest, rest, and feed in the Southern Patagonia region.

Recommended Activities, Landscapes, and Points of Interest

From its beaches to its forests and wetlands, the park offers a variety of stunning landscapes to explore.

Caleta Sara (Sara Cove)

Within the Interjurisdictional Coastal Marine Park Southern Patagonia lies the "Caleta Sara" Day Use Area. This area is particularly renowned for providing shelter from wind and waves, making it an ideal spot for fishing activities, whether from the shore or boats, as well as for enjoying outdoor picnics.

The protection offered by Caleta Sara against winds and waves creates favorable conditions for fishing, allowing visitors to engage in this activity more comfortably and safely. Whether you prefer shore fishing or embarking on a boat, this location offers an excellent choice for pursuing your hobby.

Beyond fishing, Caleta Sara is also a suitable place for organizing a picnic in a natural setting. Its geographical features and scenic beauty make it an attractive space for spending a day outdoors, sharing meals and enjoyable moments with family and friends.

It provides visitors with the opportunity to make the most of the park’s natural surroundings, offering a peaceful shelter suitable for fishing and outdoor recreation activities during the day.

Hiking and Trekking Trails

The park offers numerous hiking trails that guide visitors through its diverse terrain, providing opportunities for exploration and discovery.

La Pingüinera (The Penguin Colony)

La Pingüinera is a low-difficulty pedestrian trail that passes through an area of great importance for the nesting of Magellanic penguins. From September to April, witnessing the full development of the penguin colony is possible. This trail offers the unique opportunity to observe these charming birds up close in their natural habitat. It’s a fascinating route for wildlife enthusiasts, allowing them to appreciate the behavior and interaction of penguins within their colony.

Cabo Dos Bahías (Cape Dos Bahias)

The pedestrian trail of Cabo Dos Bahías is a route that leads to the easternmost point of the Interjurisdictional Coastal Marine Park Southern Patagonia. This is where the division between the Gulf of San Jorge to the south and the Bay of Camarones to the north is located. The trail has an approximate duration of 2 hours and 30 minutes round trip. Along the hike, visitors can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views of the coast and the sea, appreciating the natural beauty of Patagonian landscapes. It’s an enriching experience that allows for connecting with nature and exploring the unique geography of the region.

Islas Viewpoint

The Islas Viewpoint is a vehicular path leading to a point with a stunning panoramic view. From this viewpoint, visitors can contemplate a representative sample of the insular environments present in the park. The view offers an impressive panorama of the surrounding islands, allowing the appreciation of the diversity and beauty of these ecosystems. It’s a perfect place to admire the majesty of the marine landscape and enjoy the serenity provided by nature. Vehicle access makes it convenient to reach the viewpoint, allowing visitors to enjoy this visually captivating experience.

Wildlife Observation

Opportunities for wildlife observation are exceptional in the park, from birds to marine mammals.

Water Activities

The park’s waters are ideal for activities such as kayaking and snorkeling, providing a unique perspective on marine life.

Nearby Points of Interest

Punta Tombo Protected Natural Reserve

Punta Tombo Protected Natural Reserve is located about 160 km from Camarones, accessible via Provincial Route No. 1. This reserve is renowned for hosting one of the most important Magellanic penguin colonies in the world. During the breeding season from September to April, thousands of penguins arrive at Punta Tombo to nest and raise their chicks. Visitors have the opportunity to walk along well-established trails and observe these adorable penguins up close in their natural habitat. It’s a unique experience that allows for appreciating the life and behavior of these seabirds.

Valdés Peninsula Protected Natural Reserve

Valdés Peninsula Protected Natural Reserve is located about 365 km from Camarones and can be accessed via Provincial Route No. 30, National Route No. 3, and Provincial Route No. 2. This reserve is a true paradise for wildlife enthusiasts, as it hosts a wide variety of marine and terrestrial species. Among the main attractions of Valdés Peninsula are southern right whales, elephant seals, penguins, orcas, and seabirds. Visitors can enjoy animal sightings, explore trails, and marvel at the natural beauty of this iconic location in Argentine Patagonia.

Sarmiento Petrified Forest Protected Natural Reserve

Sarmiento Petrified Forest Protected Natural Reserve is located about 414 km from Camarones and can be accessed via Provincial Route No. 30, National Route No. 3, and Provincial Route No. 26. This reserve is a true paleontological treasure that preserves ancient petrified trees dating back millions of years. Visitors can traverse interpretive trails and marvel at the beauty and antiquity of these petrified fossils. It’s a unique opportunity to delve into Earth’s history and appreciate the grandeur of nature over geological timescales.

Town of Camarones

The town of Camarones is a nearby reference point to the Interjurisdictional Coastal Marine Park Southern Patagonia. Located in the Chubut province of Argentina, Camarones offers a range of services and amenities for visitors exploring the region.

In Camarones, visitors can find a variety of accommodation options, including hotels, family lodgings, and rental houses. These choices provide the possibility to find a cozy and comfortable place to rest during the stay.

For those who prefer the camping experience, the town has a municipal campground where one can enjoy the natural beauty of the area in direct contact with nature. At the same time, visitors can relish Argentine gastronomy and savor local dishes as well as other types of cuisine.

The town of Camarones serves as a starting point for those wishing to explore the Interjurisdictional Coastal Marine Park Southern Patagonia.

Research and Conservation in the Park

Conservation and Restoration Programs

The park has several ongoing conservation and restoration programs, focusing on the protection of endemic and threatened species.

Research Centers and Scientific Contribution

The park houses various research centers conducting vital scientific work to understand and protect the park’s biodiversity.

Environmental Education and Awareness

The park emphasizes environmental education and awareness, with programs and activities aimed at fostering a greater appreciation of the natural environment.

Practical Aspects for the Visit

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit the park may vary depending on the activities desired, but generally, the summer months are the most popular.

How to Get There

There are several ways to get to the park, whether by car, bus, or boat, depending on the starting point of the journey.

By Car

If traveling by car, the "Cabo Dos Bahías" Protected Natural Area serves as the main entrance to the Interjurisdictional Coastal Marine Park Southern Patagonia. To get there, one should depart from the town of Camarones and travel approximately 28 km on a gravel road south along Provincial Route No. 1, followed by a indicated detour.

Camarones, where the Park Headquarters is located, is about 252 km south of Trelew, 261 km from Rawson, 320 km from Puerto Madryn, and 262 km north of Comodoro Rivadavia. Access to Camarones is through Provincial Route No. 30, which connects to National Route No. 3 after traveling a 68 km paved stretch. These routes provide access to the mentioned towns that function as welcoming centers and service hubs throughout the eastern part of the Chubut province.

Traveling by car offers flexibility and autonomy to explore the region and enjoy the diverse natural attractions offered by the park.


Both the city of Trelew and Comodoro Rivadavia are important access points and receive buses from different parts of the country. They also have daily flights from Buenos Aires, providing additional options for travelers.

Rental Vehicles

From Trelew or Comodoro Rivadavia, you can reach Camarones using rental vehicles, remis services (private hired vehicles), or through tourism agencies that offer transportation to the area. Additionally, there are weekly bus services that connect these cities with Camarones, providing a convenient option for those who prefer to travel by bus.

Camping and Accommodation Options

There are several camping and accommodation options within and around the park, allowing visitors to spend more time exploring its beauty.

Available Services

It’s important to note that the Patagonia Austral Coastal Marine Interjurisdictional Park does not have specific visitor amenities. However, the town of Camarones, located near the park, offers a variety of services for those wishing to visit.

In Camarones, visitors can find lodging options such as hotels, family lodgings, and rental homes. Additionally, there is a municipal campground available for those who prefer camping in the area.

Regarding food, there are restaurants where one can enjoy local dishes and other culinary options. There are also stores where you can purchase food and other necessary supplies for your stay.

For additional services, Camarones has a gas station to refuel vehicles, as well as an ATM from the Banco del Chubut for banking transactions. Moreover, there is a rural hospital to address any medical needs that may arise during the visit.

If broader tourism services are needed, the city of Comodoro Rivadavia, located at a greater distance, offers a more comprehensive range of tourism services, including hotels, restaurants, travel agencies, and other amenities that can satisfy the needs of visitors seeking a more complete experience.

For banking needs, Camarones has an ATM from the Banco del Chubut, facilitating financial transactions for visitors.

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