Exploring the coast around Puerto Madryn is a good way to take in the rugged solitude and some marine wildlife. Home to a permanent sea-lion colony and cormorant rookery, the Reserva Faunística Punta Loma is 17km southeast of Puerto Madryn via a good but winding gravel road. The overlook is about 15m from the animals, best seen during low tides. Many travel agencies organize two-hour tours according to the tide schedules; otherwise, check tide tables and hire a car or taxi, or make the trek via bicycle.
Continue on the same road for Unesco-protected Punta Ninfas, a cliffside marked by a lighthouse, to see elephant seals on the beach. There's also a penguin colony. Please exercise self-restraint and snap photos at a nonthreatening distance. It's 78km from Puerto Madryn on a dusty dirt road.
Punta Flecha observatory is a recommended whale-watching spot 20km north of Puerto Madryn via RP 1.