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Patagonia Argentina

Ultimate guide about diving in the Southermost Atlantic Ocean

25/May/2023

Patagonia, located in the southernmost region of Argentina, is a land of contrasts capable of offering an unforgettable diving experience. From the waters of Valdés Peninsula thriving with life to the southern-most city of the world, Patagonia is a dream destination for diving enthusiasts. In this ultimate guide, we will explore everything you need to know about diving in Patagonia, including the best diving spots, what to expect, and tips for planning your diving adventure.

Patagonia Argentina

The Patagonian region is in its majority composed by the provinces of Neuquén, Río Negro, Santa Cruz, Chubut and Tierra del Fuego. It’s extensive deserts contrast along some of the highest mountains to the west and a very large coastline to the east. Diving here has developed in some specific locations such as Península Valdés, located over the coast of Chubut, and Ushuaia, located over the southern edge of the world, in Tierra del Fuego.

The main diving season in Patagonia extends through the summer months from December to March, with the warmest ones being January and February. During the winter months skiing season takes over and the water temperature can drop drastically making it essential to wear appropriate gear to stay warm and comfortable. It is also important to check the weather forecast before your dive, as the weather in Patagonia can be unpredictable.

air view of cliffs in patagonia argentina

From North to South. All you need to know about the best diving spots in Patagonia Argentina

Valdés Peninsula (UNESCO protected area)

The Valdés Peninsula is located on the east coast of Patagonia over the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the diving here occurs in Golfo Nuevo protected waters, though there is also diving outside the gulf, in waters facing the open ocean. This popular spot offers diving for both beginners and experienced divers with a wide fluctuation on visibility subjected to weather, tides and current changes. It is recommended for diving here that you have your Advanced Diver Certification and your Wreck Specialty Certification. Diving with a Dry Suit can be more comfortable but thick wetsuits can be utilized without further concern.

Valdés is home to a variety of marine life such as Fjord and Cinderella Sea Stars, Large Warted Doris and Faded Tritonia Nudibranchs, the amazing Tehuelche Octupus, Patagonean Squids and several species of skates among other creatures. This dive location also provides the opportunity to dive with Sea Lions and the possibility to spot the elusive Commerson´s Dolphin, often mistaken with Orcas. The stunning topography plays a great roll diving in this waters, offering all sorts of overhangs and swim-throughs as well as some interesting wrecks such as El Folias, a half sunken 71m/233ft argentinian fishing ship. This features turn Valdés into an amazing place for underwater photographers.

Diving in Peninsula Valdés may also present the chance to visit the Penguin and Sea Elephant´s local communities and from May to December, witness the incredible Southern Right Whale migration. Humpback Whales, Blue Whales and occasionally Orcas can also be spotted while diving in this location making Valdés Peninsula one of the most popular diving spots in Argentina.

When to go

The best time of the year to dive in Valdés Peninsula is from December to March, during summer season, when the air and water temperature are warmer. Water temperature varies from around 18°C/65°F in summer to 15°C/59°F in winter while air temperature varies from around 29°C/84°F in summer and 2°C/36°F in winter. Though weather and water are warmer in the summer, visibility can be affected by the algae blooming.

southern right whale tale in patagonia argentina

Ushuaia

The city of Ushuaia, the southernmost city of the world is located on the southern shores of Tierra del Fuego and offers a unique diving experience. The city lies over the shores of the Beagle Canal, one of the three passages that connect the Atlantic with the Pacific Ocean creating a perfect environment thriving with life. The location presents cool water diving and it is suitable for advanced and newly certified divers. It is convenient to have your Dry Suit Certification if you are considering diving these waters, although you can also get it onsite with one of the several dive operators in the city. The Wreck and Deep Diver Certification can also come in handy if you are planing on visiting the interesting wrecks near the city.

The Beagle Canal presents a great biodiversity. The kelp forest which can grow up to 50m/164ft long on average, provides shelter for numerous species of crustaceans, echinoderms and an extensive variety of macro life. The Southern King Crab is a particular inhabitant of the forest and the local communities of Sea Lions love to play around the kelp, so encounters are frequent, especially on Isla Redonda and Estancia Tunel dive sites.

Experienced divers will have the opportunity to enjoy two very popular wrecks in the area. The Monte Cervantes shipwreck, a German transatlantic vessel sunk near the Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse -one of the most meridional lighthouses in the continent- in 1930. This ship is split in two parts, the bow lies at about 90m/295ft and it is beyond recreational diving, but the stern of the wreck sits in over 40m/130ft of depth. The second wreck is the Sarmiento, which lies in shallower water compared to the Monte Cervantes and allows penetration.

Along the boat ride or surface interval divers will also have the opportunity to visit the local Penguin and Sea Elephants communities.

sea lion swimming in ushuaia, patagonia argentina

When to go

The best time of the year to dive in Ushuaia is from May to October, during winter season. This is when the water is colder (around 3°C/37°F) but calmer and the visibility is the best. During the summer, from December to March, the water temperature rises up to around 9°C/48°F, wind can pick up a bit and algae blooms, which can slightly affect the viz, though air temperature is more pleasant.

 

How to get there

Flying is the easiest way to get to all three spots. There are frequent flights from Buenos Aires and you may also find direct flight to Ushuaia from Santiago de Chile. Most airlines flying in this direction offer a layover in Buenos Aires so you can always take a few days to walk around this beautiful city. Prices on flights heading to Ushuaia may also present some fluctuations depending on the skiing season during the winter months.

 

Diving in Patagonia Argentina, is a unique and unforgettable experience that should not be missed. Diverse marine life, fabulous wrecks and clear waters, Patagonia offers a range of diving spots suitable for divers of all experience levels. The only thing to decide now is when you would like to go!

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