Patagonia is home to so many incredible animals, but one of our favorite creatures that we can find in Southern Argentina are penguins! We’re calling all penguin lovers of the world to discover these black and white flightless birds in their natural habitat.
We´ve pulled together a list of our top three favorite spots to see Magellanic Penguins in Argentina.
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 until 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 of the area to see wildlife. Punta Tombo is one of the classic Puerto Madryn tours, so you should definitely go for it if you stay for multiple days in this coastal city!
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’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.
Technically, this location is just outside of Ushuaia, but you’ll have to travel to “the end of the world” to see the penguins in one of our other favorite spots: Martillo Island and Harberton Estancia in 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, this might be the best spot for you to see penguins in Patagonia.
Start planning your dream penguin tour in Patagonia by taking a look at our tailor-made trips. If you’re planning to make it a family trip, we also have some travel ideas for you. Leave a comment if you want more information about penguins or if you need any help booking your next travel adventure with us.