An Up-Close & Personal Experience Walking among the Cute Magellanic Penguins

  • Visiting the world’s largest colony of Magellanic penguins in Punta Tombo

Get ready for a delightful encounter with some of the cutest and most charismatic creatures on the planet: the Magellanic penguins! Punta Tombo Reserve is home to the world’s largest colony of Magellanic penguins, giving you the unique opportunity to get up close and personal with over a hundred thousand of these adorable creatures. And if you’re lucky, you may even be able to spot guanacos (South American llamas), Patagonian hares, and many different species of birds. However, the stars of the show here are the penguins; who arrive on these rocky Argentine shores each year to breed, and in many cases, to search for their life-long mate.

Magellanic penguins are indigenous only to the Falkland Islands and the coasts of Argentina and Chile. Though they cannot fly, they are excellent swimmers, making their way by sea every year in April, bound for the warmer Brazilian coasts to escape the Argentine winters. In an impressive feat, they swim back the same route every September (a total of 1875 miles), when they make their maritime way back to Punta Tombo to mate and build their nests. Magellanic penguins are a monogamous species, mating with the same partner year after year. In fact, they can even recognize their partners from the sounds of their calls, as each penguin’s voice is as distinct as a human fingerprint! And there’s definitely no sexism between these birds, as both male and female tend to their nests and go out to sea to find food for their chicks.

Your tour starts off in the morning with an approximate 2 and a half hour ride to the Punta Tombo Reserve, located 112 miles (180 kilometers) from the city of Puerto Madryn. Upon arrival at the reserve, we’ll spend 2 hours enjoying the penguins as they frolick in their natural habitat, walking along marked trails and boardwalks. Depending on the season and a little bit of luck, you may get to witness feeding, breeding, and egg-hatching; as well as, of course, that famously cute penguin waddle. In fact, you’re so close to the penguins, you may even witness one crossing the path you’re walking along; a great opportunity to pull out your camera and take plenty of close-up penguin shots! Please bear in mind, however, that touching them is not allowed, so as to preserve their well-being.

Finally, and before your penguin-enhanced experience draws to a close, you’ll also have the opportunity to visit the Penguins Interpretation Center, which has plenty of information about the flora and fauna the area contains, and serves as great source of knowldege for children and adults alike.

Please note: Penguin season is usually from mid-September to mid-April, but the exact penguin season is defined by... the penguins! If you are booked for this tour during mid-September or mid-April and there are no penguins, we’ll refund you for this tour, or we’ll offer you another tour option.

Important: the tour’s exact itinerary and duration may change subject to weather conditions and decisions of the tour guide to optimize your tour experience.

Difficulty: none.

Duration: this is a long half day tour (the visit to the Punta Tombo Magellanic Penguins reserve lasts 2 hours), but it’s usually combined with at least 1 other tour option in the area making it a full day tour which lasts about 10 hours from the time you are picked up until you return to your hotel. Time for lunch is included but lunch cost is not included. Your tour guide will suggest places for lunch.

Guide: group guide. The maximum group size for this tour is approximately 20 travelers.

Vehicle: group vehicle. The transfer to and from Punta Tombo takes approximately 2 hours and a half each way as the total traveled distance during this tour is approximately 229 miles (366 kilometers).

Includes: entrance ticket to Punta Tombo Reserve.