Patagonia’s Must-See Creatures

Patagonia Travel Posted on 08/25/2017

By now, it’s no secret that Patagonia is a fascinating region extending across Argentina and Chile. Its know for its sheer beauty and wide diversity in landscape, wildlife, and intrepid adventures. Animal lovers are particularly intrigued by the region due to the huge variety of flora and fauna that call Patagonia home. It’s especially exciting to see the several species of animals here that live almost exclusively in South America.

Although there are lots of different animals in Patagonia, four species, in particular, are must-sees for anyone traveling to the region and are referred to as the “Patagonian Big Four” similar to Africa’s Big Five game animals (the African lion, African elephant, African leopard, rhinoceros, and Cape buffalo).

So without further adieu, here are our “Big Four” – the Andean condor, guanaco, orca whales, and Magellanic penguins – animals in Patagonia.

1. Torres del Paine National Park

This gorgeous national park in the southern Chilean region of Patagonia is a natural haven of flora and fauna.

Don’t be alarmed if you spot an enormous flying creature resembling a miniature dragon during your visit to this park. Chances are you’ve just spotted the beautiful Andean condor. Did you know this creature has the largest wingspan of any land bird on the planet?

If you see a large group of strange-looking furry creatures strolling across a deserted plain, congratulations—you’ve just stumbled across a herd of guanaco. The guanaco is a particularly interesting-looking mammal, related to the llama and native to South America. 

  • The Guanacos run at an incredible speed!

Torres del Paine - Cuernos - Wildlife

2. Valdés Peninsula

The isolated Valdés Peninsula in Argentina is another wildlife hotspot, particularly great for marine creature sightings. Wanted animals in Patagonia must-see? You have reached the right place! 

November is the perfect time of year to get a view of both the whales and penguins the area is known for, so plan accordingly if you’re hoping to do some sightings. For sure going whale watching will leave you breathless: The freedom of these powerful creatures is truly a beautiful sight.

In the Golfo Nuevo, a protected body of water just off the peninsula, watch for pods of Southern right whales preparing to breed. The Golfo is considerably more peaceful than the waters of the Atlantic Ocean on the other side of the peninsula, which is why so many whales choose this spot to breed year after year. 

  • On the other side of the peninsula, in the open Atlantic, watch for orcas; sometimes they swim quite close to the shore! 

Puerto Madryn - Peninsula Valdes

3. Ushuaia

Finally, you can’t miss the hundreds of Magellanic penguins in the End of the World city. For sure is a unique spot to see animals in Patagonia!  As their name suggests, these penguins are native to the famous Straits of Magellan. 

These cute creatures can be found on Martillo Island, where you can have an amazing close encounter with them, and learn all about their life and behavior. If planning to visit Ushuaia to see its penguins, we highly recommend traveling between November and February.  

Although Magellanic penguins are the most famous, on the island of Tierra del Fuego 3 species of penguins coexist: Magellanic, Gentoo, and King penguins. 

  • In Ushuaia, unlike elsewhere, the visitor is allowed to walk on the island (with the penguins) in a group guaranteed to be no larger than twenty.

Ushuaia - Penguins

Travel to see the region’s incredibly distinct wildlife. You won’t soon forget the experience you had with the five most famous animals in Patagonia.

For further information about the big five animals in Patagonia, Argentina vacations, or tours in Patagonia, talk to a travel expert.

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