Interjurisdictional Marine Park Makenke

In the southeastern tip of Argentina lies the protected natural area with countless marvels for eco-sustainable tourism: the Interjurisdictional Marine Park Makenke (in Spanish: Parque Interjurisdiccional Marino Makenke). This guide invites you to discover its mighty biodiversity, its significant cultural heritage, and all the activities you can enjoy in this exceptional natural setting.

Introduction to the Interjurisdictional Marine Park Makenke

Interjurisdictional Marine Park Makenke

Geographical Location

Located in Puerto San Julián, on the coast of the Santa Cruz province, Argentina, in the Magallanes department, the Marine Park Makenke extends over an area that covers both provincial and national territory, contributing to its rich biological and cultural diversity. It can be geographically pinpointed by the coordinates: 49°32′54″S 67°37′30″W, and you can view the map of the protected area at:

History and Establishment of the Interjurisdictional Marine Park Makenke

The creation and administration of the Interjurisdictional Marine Park Makenke were carried out through a treaty between the province of Santa Cruz and the national government of Argentina. The treaty was authorized by provincial law No. 3152, enacted on August 26, 2010, and established that decisions regarding the management and conservation of resources would be made by an executive management commission composed of representatives from the National Parks Administration, the province of Santa Cruz, and the municipality of Puerto San Julián.

This treaty, concluded on September 17, 2010, stipulated that unlike national parks, the province did not relinquish ownership or jurisdiction over the Park. It was ratified by provincial decree No. 234 on March 9, 2011, and received national approval through national law No. 26817, enacted on December 13, 2012, and promulgated on the same day.

Regarding the management of the Park, the national government appoints a superintendent, whose headquarters are located in the town of Puerto San Julián. This superintendent is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Interjurisdictional Marine Park Makenke on behalf of the national government.

Importance of the Park

The park is crucial for preserving various marine and terrestrial ecosystems and is home to several threatened species. Furthermore, it plays a vital role in protecting the cultural and natural heritage of the region.

Biodiversity: Park Features

Iconic Species

The southern elephant seal (Mirounga leonina) has been chosen as the emblematic representative of the Marine Park Makenke. This species of seal is the largest of its kind, with males reaching lengths of up to 6 meters and weighing approximately 5 tons. Females are considerably smaller in comparison. Males are distinguished by their trunk, which they use during territorial fights over females during the breeding season.

For most of the year, southern elephant seals spend their time in the sea, diving to significant depths in search of their primary food, including squids, octopuses, and fish. However, during the summer, they come ashore to reproduce. These majestic marine creatures symbolize the biodiversity and natural beauty of the park, and their presence underscores the importance of preserving and protecting their marine habitat.


The Park stands out for its diverse marine ecosystems, including rocky reefs, seagrass meadows, and kelp forests. Each of these ecosystems harbors a unique variety of marine life.


The protected natural area hosts a rich diversity of flora and fauna in the waters of the Argentine Sea. Birds are prominent, with species such as sheldgeese, southern seagulls, plovers, sandpipers, Magellanic oystercatchers, swans, bitterns, and flamingos. On the neighboring Cormorant Island, a provincial protected area, there is a colony of approximately 130,000 Magellanic penguins. On nearby Justice Island, colonies of imperial cormorants and rock shags can be found. On the continental coast, the country’s main breeding colony of grey cormorants (Phalacrocorax gaimardi) is located.

The high concentration of birds in the park is due to the abundance of food offered by the sea. In these waters, there are hundreds of fish species, such as hake, hake whiting, and sea bass, which are important from a fishing perspective. Marine mammals are also present in the park, including the southern dolphin, the Peale’s dolphin, and the killer whale.

Geology and Topography

The underwater topography of the Park is varied and unique, with rock formations that are home to various marine species and offer unparalleled opportunities for diving and observing marine life.


The climate in the Marine Park Makenke is temperate cold, ranging from arid to semi-arid. The average annual temperature is around 9°C, with cold winters that can have temperatures below freezing and summers with highs exceeding 30°C. Precipitation is scarce, reaching approximately 280 mm per year, and is concentrated mainly in the autumn and winter months. The predominant winds come from the west-southwest throughout the year, with an average speed ranging between 35 and 40 km/h. This characteristic climate contributes to the uniqueness of the landscape and environmental conditions of the park.

Cultural and Historical Heritage

The region has a rich cultural history, including the presence of indigenous and European communities. Visitors can learn about this history through exhibitions and cultural tours available in the Park.

Recommended Activities

Permitted activities in the Park include hiking, diving, bird watching, recreational fishing, and whale watching. Always remember to respect the Park’s rules and not disturb wildlife.

Wildlife Observation

The park offers sightings of killer whales, southern dolphins, Peale’s dolphins, Magellanic penguins, sea lions, and southern elephant seals. Various birds can also be observed, including swans, flamingos, sheldgeese, plovers, southern seagulls, and bitterns. The cliffs of the Apostadero Makenke and La Mina Beach host Argentina’s main colony of grey cormorants.


Private vessels must comply with the requirements and notices provided by the Argentine Naval Prefecture. This involves adhering to regulations and guidelines established to ensure water safety. It’s important to be informed about restrictions and obtain the necessary permits before engaging in kayaking activities in the park.

Sport Fishing

Sport fishing is allowed in the Interjurisdictional Marine Park Makenke from November 1st to May 1st each year. In the vicinity of the park, various species can be caught, such as smooth-hound sharks, rays, yellowtail amberjacks, red porgy, flathead croakers, hake (3 species), marine silverside, bonito, marine catfish, anchovy, Argentine anchovy, and flounder.

It’s important to note that although there isn’t a specific regulation for sport fishing in the park’s marine areas, the use of coastal gillnets is prohibited. It’s essential to respect fishing regulations and sustainable practices to preserve the balance of marine ecosystems and ensure species conservation.

Before engaging in any sport fishing activity in the Interjurisdictional Marine Park Makenke, it’s recommended to obtain up-to-date information about current regulations and adhere to the established provisions to protect marine resources and preserve the park’s biodiversity.

Makenke Beaches

The beaches in Makenke are free to access and provide opportunities for recreational activities along the shores of the Argentine Sea.

It’s essential to note that the waters are deep and have low temperatures, so swimming is not allowed. Furthermore, it’s important to be aware that the beaches do not have services or lifeguards.

The park is exposed to intense wind gusts, and tides are very expansive, so it’s advisable to check the conditions before engaging in any beach activity. This is particularly important to ensure safety during the visit.

The beaches of the Interjurisdictional Marine Park Makenke offer a stunning natural environment for enjoying walks, nature observation, and coastal landscapes. Always remember to take necessary precautions and follow regulations for a safe visit.

Coastal Circuit

Entering through the Coastal Circuit of the Marine Park Makenke, access is available via a gravel road located at kilometer 2230 of National Route 3, about 19 km north of Puerto San Julián.

Along the Coastal Circuit, several beaches are found, each offering different landscapes and opportunities to enjoy the coast:

  1. La Mina Beach: This beach provides a tranquil and picturesque natural setting to relax and enjoy sea views.
  2. Garganta del Diablo Beach: Accessible by foot with moderate complexity, this beach offers an impressive experience with cliffs and rock formations that create a natural gorge.
  3. Médanos Beach / Pigafetta Beach: These beaches offer vast stretches of sand and dunes, making them ideal for walking, sunbathing, and enjoying nature.
  4. Los Pescadores Beach / Punta Cuevas Beach: Popular for fishing enthusiasts, these beaches provide opportunities for recreational fishing from the shore. They also offer picturesque views of the sea.

While exploring the Coastal Circuit and visiting these beaches, it’s important to consider the weather conditions and respect the park’s regulations to ensure a safe visit and preserve the natural beauty of the coastal environment.

Península de San Julián Fauna Reserve

Access to the Península de San Julián Fauna Reserve is available through kilometer 2262 of National Route 3, about 12 km south of Puerto San Julián. From there, a gravel road extends for approximately 17 km.

Within the reserve, two notable beaches are present:

  1. EmPaSA Beach: This beach offers a tranquil and natural setting, perfect for strolls, enjoying sea views, and relaxing in a serene atmosphere.
  2. Los Instalados Beach: Located within the Península de San Julián Fauna Reserve, this beach offers the opportunity to enjoy beautiful sea views and explore the coast.

When visiting these beaches within the reserve, it’s important to respect the regulations of the protected area and behave responsibly to preserve the natural environment and protect the fauna and flora that inhabit the area.

Auto Routes

For those who wish to explore nature by combining walks and vehicle stops, auto routes are a viable option to consider.

The Coastal Circuit is the ideal route to access the Northern Zone beaches of the park. It starts in Puerto San Julián and offers audio guide services, general and interpretive signage, as well as brochures with relevant information. Throughout the route, visitors can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views and access beaches for walks and exploration of the natural environment.

It’s important to remember to respect the park’s regulations and follow the indications of the Coastal Circuit to ensure a safe visit and preserve the natural beauty of the area. Additionally, it’s recommended to carry water, sunscreen, and other necessary items to enjoy a comfortable and pleasant experience while exploring the park by car.

Bicycle Routes

The Coastal Circuit can be traversed by bicycle, offering a blend of steppe and sea. It provides beautiful panoramic views and an exciting experience for cycling enthusiasts. Make sure to have a bicycle in good condition and the necessary safety equipment. Enjoy the scenery and remember to bring water and sunscreen.

Makenke Visitor’s Guide

Opening Hours

There are no specific entry and exit times for the Interjurisdictional Marine Park Makenke, but it’s recommended to avoid darkness and plan visits during the daytime. Additionally, it’s important to consider the tide changes and their impact on the beaches.


Access to the park is free of charge.

How to Get There

The Marine Park Makenke is accessible by road from the city of Comodoro Rivadavia. Guided tours can also be arranged through local tourism agencies.

Park Access Points

By Car

The entrance to the Interjurisdictional Marine Park Makenke is located 434 km from Comodoro Rivadavia in the Chubut province, and 370 km from Río Gallegos in Santa Cruz, via National Route 3.

To access by car from the north, you can take National Route 3 and follow the Coastal Circuit, which features audio guides for orientation.

From the south, you can access through the Península de San Julián Provincial Reserve, taking a gravel road of approximately 17 km that leads to the beaches in the central sector of the marine area.

By Plane

For those who prefer to arrive by plane, the Puerto San Julián "Capitán José Daniel Vázquez" Airport receives flights from the LADE airline with destinations to Comodoro Rivadavia, Río Gallegos, and Ushuaia.

By Bus

The Puerto San Julián bus terminal receives services from different Argentine provinces through companies like Los Andesmar/Tramat, Don Otto/Transportadora Patagónica, El Pingüino, Sportman, Taqsa-Marga, Vía Tac, and Cerro San Lorenzo.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit is during the summer months, from December to March, when temperatures are more pleasant and marine life is more active.

Contact Information

The park’s address is Av. San Martín 1570, Puerto San Julián, Santa Cruz, and the contact phone number is (02962) 452072.


Camping is not allowed in the park, and it lacks facilities for overnight stays as it is a protected natural space for the preservation of marine fauna and flora. Accommodation can be sought on Isla de la Justicia, which is the closest, as well as Isla Cormorán or in Puerto San Julián, which allows road access. The latter offers a wide range of services and lodging options, including restaurants, hotels, and campgrounds.

Rules and Regulations

Respecting the rules and regulations of the Park is important to ensure the conservation of its biodiversity. This includes staying on designated trails, not disturbing wildlife, and not leaving trash.

Activities Near the Park

In the vicinity of the Interjurisdictional Marine Park Makenke and beyond its boundaries, several activities can be enjoyed:

Visit to Puerto San Julián’s Historic Center

Explore the picturesque streets of Puerto San Julián and discover its colonial history. Visit the Regional Museum, the church, and other points of interest.

Sport Fishing on the Coast

Take advantage of sport fishing opportunities on the region’s coasts. Whether from the shore or on boats, you can enjoy the thrill of fishing and catch some local species.

Bicycle Tours in the Surroundings

Explore the park’s surroundings on a bicycle and enjoy the beauty of the coastal landscape. Scenic routes and paths offer excellent opportunities for cycling.

Explore Isla de La Justicia

Visit this nearby island and marvel at its bird colonies, including imperial and rock cormorants. Enjoy breathtaking views and observe marine life in its surroundings.

Visit Isla Cormorán

Explore this protected island, home to a colony of approximately 130,000 Magellanic penguins. Admire these adorable birds in their natural habitat and enjoy the island’s natural beauty.

Conservation and Protection

Threats and Challenges

The Park faces several challenges, including climate change, pollution, and unsustainable tourism. However, conservation efforts are underway to address these challenges.

Conservation and Recovery Projects

Several projects are underway to conserve and recover the Park’s biodiversity, including species monitoring programs, habitat restoration, and environmental education.

Role of the Park in Biodiversity Conservation

The Marine Park Makenke plays a vital role in biodiversity conservation, serving as a refuge for many endangered species and providing a place for scientific research and environmental education.

Scientific Research and Important Discoveries

The Park has been the site of numerous scientific discoveries, including the identification of new marine species and studies on marine ecosystem dynamics. These research efforts contribute to scientific knowledge and help make informed decisions for the conservation of the Park and its biodiversity.

Interjurisdictional Cooperation for Park Management

The management of the Interjurisdictional Marine Park Makenke is achieved through strong interjurisdictional cooperation between the Santa Cruz province and the national government of Argentina. This joint collaboration ensures effective protection and conservation of this marine treasure. Through this cooperation, resources and knowledge from various entities are combined, enabling comprehensive tackling of challenges. Additionally, scientific research is promoted, and conservation and sustainable use practices are encouraged. Interjurisdictional cooperation is essential for planning and implementing measures that ensure the long-term preservation of the Marine Park Makenke.

Photo Gallery