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Bahia Bustamante restaurant

Bahía Bustamante

Patagonia is one of the most sparsely inhabited areas of the world, and it's fair to say that Bahía Bustamante is situated in one of the quietest corners of this remote region.

The lodge is set on Patagonia's eastern coast, the wildlife hub of Argentina, and one of its main draws is its private reserve where Magellenic penguins have a colony. Sea lions, elephant seals, cormorants, steamer ducks, and a myriad of other coastal birds can also be found here. The wildlife is just one of the lodge's attractions, though — the history of the region is equally intriguing. The lodge is based in an abandoned Patagonian village and former seaweed factory, with a schoolroom, church and workers' houses still fully intact. The museum documenting the history of the area is well worth a look around, and the lodge owner, Mathias, is continually working on expanding the museum to include more fossils found on the property's land.

The lodge is growing 2,000 vines as part of a project to produce the first coastal-grown wine in Argentina, and many of the fruits and vegetables served in the restaurant are grown in the lodge's biodynamic vegetable garden.

The location of the lodge means that a fair bit of travel is required to get there, so prepare for a long car journey on a mixture of paved and unpaved roads before arriving. The hospitality, however, is of a high standard and the activities are all run by knowledgeable and passionate guides. 

Our rating: Medium

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Rooms

The lodge has four superior cabins and two standard cabins. The cabins themselves are essentially the same. All have two bedrooms and one full bathroom. Both types are on the water, with seating areas outside overlooking Argentina's only seaside vineyard. The only difference between the two types is that the superior cabins have more of a full kitchen area with a small propane burner.

Standard cabins can interconnect, making them suitable for families.

Lastly, there are five steppe cabins, which are more basic than the others and situated slightly further away from the communal areas.

Location

Located in the tiny settlement of the same name, the lodge is located on a private reserve in northeastern Patagonia. From Trelew's airport it's about three hours' drive and from Comodoro Rivadavia's airport it's about two-and-a-half hours. The last hour of the trip is on an unpaved dirt road. En route, look out for wildlife including Mara sheep and guanacos. 

Food and drink

About 90% of all the food that you'll eat here is from the local area: from the lodge's local organic garden, from their ranch, from the sea, or hunted on land. For breakfast, you can expect farm-fresh eggs, cereals, fruits, homemade bread, jams, butters, yogurt, cheese, coffee, tea and hot chocolate. Lunch and dinner are three-course tasting menus and often include salad or soup, white salmon, seaweed-stuffed enchiladas, mushroom risotto and lamb from the estancia.

Families

The two standard cabins are ideal for families, as they have two bedrooms and interconnect.

Facilities and activities

The lodge offers a range of wildlife-focused experiences, and you can work closely with your guide to select the right activity for you. You'll explore on foot, by 4x4, by mountain bike or even on horseback, should you wish. Trips include observing the local marine wildlife, fossil-hunting, visiting a 65-million-year-old petrified forest and observing the local penguin colony. You can also visit a local canyon and spend a day with gauchos on the property's working estancia (ranch). There's also a seaweed spa and a small vineyard on site.

Our opinion

This is not a high-end property by any means, but it's clean and comfortable, and the food and hospitality is good. Go here to experience the wilderness of this extremely remote region, its wildlife and scenery, which is all brought to life brilliantly by the on-site guides. 

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