Travel Tales from Argentina and South America
Technically, this location is just outside of Ushuaia, but you’ll have to travel to “the end of the world” if you are asking where to see penguins in Patagonia. One of our other favorite spots is Martillo Island and Harberton Estancia on the Argentine side of Tierra del Fuego. This day tour is especially unique because there is only one tour company that can bring people to literally walk with the penguins on the island, and you’ll be with a group of twenty people or less because of how special this penguin colony is.
On the tour, you’ll be with a guide the whole time who will take you to Estancia Harberton and give you a little history of the city of Ushuaia. Then you’ll be invited to visit a special museum on the grounds of the estancia, where you will learn a little bit more from scientists who live at the research station and give tours of the marine life that have been known to live in the area. If you’re interested in learning a lot and seeing penguins while exploring the very end of the world.
Punta Tombo is the place to go if you want to see more penguins than you can possibly imagine! That is because Punta Tombo is a reserve that holds its claim to fame as one of the largest Magellanic penguin colonies in the world. Each year hundreds and hundreds of penguins are born here. These feathered friends can only be seen here during nesting time because they spend the rest of the year in Brazil. So if you’re a penguin lover, be sure to head down to this massive penguin paradise sometime between the start of September and the end of April.
In Punta Tombo, you will find yourself literally waddling alongside the penguins as you walk through the paths of this penguin reserve. You will see baby penguins and parent penguins, but make sure to watch where you step because Magellanic penguins dig holes in the earth for their nests.
The best way to get here is by coming from Trelew, which is about an hour and a half drive away. Usually, travelers stay at Puerto Madryn (not Trelew) since it is the top destination in the area to see wildlife. Punta Tombo is one of the classic Puerto Madryn tours, so if you are willing where to see penguins in Patagonia you should definitely go for it!
If you love penguins but want to see other animals too, the Valdes Peninsula may be a better choice for you. Peninsula Valdes is a UNESCO World Heritage site focused on the conservation and preservation of different species of animals – especially marine mammals. Depending on the time of year, a variety of different Patagonia animals can be seen, including the southern right whale, the spectacular black and white orca, elephant seals, several varieties of dolphins, and thousands of penguins. In fact, this park is known for whale sightings, but also offers incredibly diverse landscapes, from salt flats to sand dunes, to rolling hills and massive pasturelands, making it the home of all sorts of animals both on the land and in the sea. About an hour’s drive outside of Puerto Madryn is the Valdes Peninsula. Here you will also find yourself steps away from penguins, but you might not have a chance to literally walk with them. Most tours will stop at a lookout point where you are separated from the penguins by a small fence, but it is still easy to get your perfect penguin picture. You can learn more about this destination in our dedicated Travel Guide.
You’ll be amazed by not only the penguins but the incredibly blue water and green grass, as you are surprised by wild animals at every stop throughout your journey across this naturally raw park. Because wild animals are unpredictable, be sure to pay attention to the “fauna calendar” to see what animals will be more likely to be spotted based on the time of the year.
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