Jim’s Accessibility Comments:
Puerto Madryn is located on the southeast coast of Argentina, about half-way up the Argentine coast, and the Princess cruise ships docks in a large harbor with a very long pier (perhaps 1/3 mile long). No tender boat is required here and the town is located at the end of this long pier.
There are some wonderful excursion tours available in this part of Patagonia, including the following:
1. The Valdes Peninsula: Charles Darwin spent several weeks on the Valdes Peninsula which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. It is one of the Southern Hemisphere’s major wildlife preserves with large sea lions and one of the world’s largest rookeries for Magellanic penguins.
2. The Penguin Rookery at the Punta Tombo Reserve is also home to several thousand Magellanic penguins.
3. And at Punta Loma, which is where we chose to visit, there’s a cliff-top vantage point for panoramic views of the Argentine coast and a significant population of breeding sea lions.
We were told the driving trips to the Valdez Peninsula and Punta Tombo were about 2 1/2 hours each way along dusty unpaved roads. So we decided on the trip to Punta Loma, which was about 30 minutes along a dusty unpaved road. The scenery along the coast was spectacular! The viewing area at Punta Loma was very wheelchair accessible and the sea lions and bird life were fabulous! As a side note, just prior to arriving at Punta Loma (a couple minutes drive prior – not a roll-able distance) there was a public designated restroom and a specially marked disabled wheelchair restroom.
Backing up a moment, the Puerto Madryn port information and tour booth is located directly on the pier within a few feet of the ship exit. Unfortunately the tour buses and vans are not wheelchair accessible. Although the English-speaking organizer at the booth stated the tours were accessible for me, we later determined that their idea of accessible meant picking me up and throwing me in a large 24-passenger van.
So we walked (rolled) along the very level pier for perhaps 1/3 of a mile to the main street in town. There we quickly waived down a 4 door sedan and asked the driver fold up the wheelchair, place it in the trunk and we pointed to the intended Punta Loma destination. Interestingly our taxi tour cost was US$40 per person vs. US$80 for the dockside tour. And FYI- the Punta Loma park entry fee was $100 Argentina Peso each (US$7.25). Bring Argentina Pesos as they don’t take US dollars, credit cards or make change.
After our Punta Loma tour we requested that our taxi driver drop us off for lunch at a nice oceanfront restaurant. We enjoyed a beer and the best seaport food of the trip thus far at Adano Maximiliano Carlos. It was located about a mile from the cruise ship pier and the beachfront scenery was just spectacular. As a side note, several restaurants in this area provided wheelchair accessible restrooms (although Adano Maximiliano Carlos did not). There is also a new, very nice very large public wheelchair accessible restroom nearby. I was charged US$5 by a “large” man in front but I suspect he would have taken Argentine Pesos (or perhaps the man just wanted a free day’s pay).
The walk back to the cruise ship is a very level oceanfront sidewalk with a few arts and crafts if you want a local souvenir. There were no hills, a few gravelly spots but really quite a nice stroll. And the oceanfront scenery and port were absolutely beautiful! What a spectacular setting! We really enjoyed our day in Puerto Madryn, and the warmth and sunshine. What a beautiful part of the world! And all reasonably accessible.