Fortunately, our marathon bus ride from Buenos Aires was the hardest part of our journey from the biggest city in the country to one of the least inhabited parts of the country. We read about Bahía Bustamante in a NY Times article a few weeks ago and decided that a visit was an absolute must. Bahía Bustamante is a tiny village and nature preserve that now accepts a small number of guests each night. The village calls itself “el único pueblo alguero del mundo” or, the only town dedicated to producing seaweed in the world.
Bahía Bustamante is on the coast about 200km north of Comodoro Rivadavia. One option for getting there is to take a bus to the nearby town of Garayalde and from there you can arrange car transport to the estancia. The other option is to rent a car in Comodoro and drive the whole way yourself. We opted for the latter for the flexibility and we were glad we did as there are a number of sights in the area to which you can drive.
Renting was a piece of cake. You can either use a local firm (there are dozens) or you can use one of the corporate giants (Avis, Hertz, etc). We ended up with Avis as the seemed to be the cheapest of the bunch. Total price for a three day rental of a VW Gol came out to $145. While I was shopping around I discovered that it is often helpful to pick up from the city location (as opposed to the airport) as you can avoid the nasty 20% concession tax. This trick also works in the States…good to know.
While I was working on the rental car situation with Avis, Amy ran to the grocery store and stocked up on food for coming days. At Bahía Bustamante you can choose between self-catering (some houses have kitchens) and having your meals prepared for you. We opted to self-cater to keep our costs down.
My first Argentine truck stop!
With a (very small) car full of groceries and backpacks we headed up Ruta 3 towards Bahía Bustamante. It is a good thing we stocked up before we left town because there is very little along the highway north of Comodoro. On the two hour drive we only saw one truck stop and by that I mean a shack along the side of the road that didn’t even sell gas (only meals and refreshments). Once we turned off Ruta 3, it was about 40km further to Bahía Bustamante along a gravel road. It was on this road that we had our first guanaco and ñandu sightings.
The quiet village of Bahía Bustamante
The village was exactly as promised. Laidback and quiet. The streets here are all named after different species of seaweed! It took us a little while to find the staff (read: this place is quiet!) but they soon showed us to our house. I believe that the house we are staying in was originally workers housing, although it seems they have been modified to make room for a kitchen and large bathroom. Our place was $110 a night and was more than enough space for the two of us. There will be more tomorrow about Bahía Bustamante including lots of pictures of penguins!