Penguins in South America: When to see them and which species can be seen in Argentina and Chile?

Argentina and Chile are perfect to enjoy penguins. There are many options to see them along coasts of Patagonia, and there are different species available. If you´re interested in seeing these increcible animals, take a look to the following article about Penguins in Argentina and Chile


Where to see penguins in Argentina and Chile?
Peninsula Valdes and Punta Tombo

The answer is clear: Patagonia. These birds can be see along the Patagonian Coast in Argentina, from Punta Norte in Peninsula Valdes, where the maguellan penguin arrives every year to the coast of Estancia San Lorenzo in the north coast of the peninsula, in the San Matias Gulf. When? Well, penguis arrives in September and can be seen until March/April. This is the most important continental colony in South America (few years ago the top 1 was for Punta Tombo). It´s the fastest growing colony in the continent, due to climate, and food conditions.

The  Maguellan Penguin can also ve seen in another important colony in South America: Punta Tombo. This colony, located 188 km from Puerto Madryn and 100 km from Trelew, the capital city of Chubut Province. I´m sure you will be located in Puerto Madryn because it´s the best city to visit Peninsula Valdes. So, then in Punta Tombo, you will enjoy the Maguellan Penguin, and of course these birds will be available from september to march/april and you ca walk among 250.000 couple of penguins.


Penguins in Bahia Bustamante

A very interesting place to stay, to enjoy penguins but also nature and other fauna is Bahia Bustamante. With a great number of geographical accidents, Bahia Bustamante is a paradise awaiting to be discovered. From its magnificent white sandy beaches and crystal clear water, framed by red rocks reaching inland, to its moonscapes of great deserts, it is a marine and earthly paradise inhabited by a great number of birds and mammals. Exploration activities in the area are proposed on a day-to-day basis, considering tides and weather conditions.

Let me go back to penguins. Again, the Maguellanic Penguin can be seen here. 100.000 maguellanic penguins can be seen there. This place is located 155 miles from Trelew. It´s a little unknow place, but let me say it´s amazing. If you have time and can stay there 2-3 nights… I can guarantee you will enjoy it.


Penguins in Puerto Deseado:  Rockhopper and Maguellanic

May be one of the less visited colonies of penguins, and it´s because Puerto Deseado is far away from main touristic destinations in Argentina. But, what you can see in  Puerto Deseado? The Rockhopper penguin, called “Pinguino de Penacho Amarillo”, due to the yellow plume in their heads. It´s amazing.

Every year from end of October until April they arrive the shores of Puerto Deseado. In these months the town has the privilege of being the only host of the penguins and it is possible to approach, take photos and enjoy them.

It is a colony of approximately 30 thousand rockhopper penguins and magallanes that nest and care for their young in the Isla Pingüino Provincial Reserve. Which is one of the natural areas protected by the province of Santa Cruz, located about 20 kilometers from the urban center and accessible with a brief and colorful navigation. So, in Puerto Deseado, Maguellanic but the atraction is the Rockhopper Penguin.





Penguins in Tierra del Fuego Island: Ushuaia

We´re still going to south, to arrive to the Island of Tierra del Fuego, where the most important city is Ushuaia. Called “The City of the End of the World”, because it´s the southernmost city in world. From Ushuaia, you can take a boat navigation to see, or disenbark if you want (and depending the visit you choose), at Isla Martillo Penguin Rookery where you can walk among penguins. What specie of penguin? We have two here, again the Maguellanic, but also the only continental colony of Papua Penguin called also subantarctic penguin.

Tucker Islets

If you want to see penguins in Tucker Islets, you have to take the Australis Cruise. A wondeful cruise expedition to enjoy southern fjords and glaciers in Patagonia and the mythical Cape Horn. Passengers will disembark in zodiacs to see the penguins in Tucker Islets.  Normally arriving to their colonies in September, it is the males who prepare the nest as they await the return of the females – then they work together to incubate the eggs for a period of three months. Chicks normally hatch at the end of December and in March, at which point the whole colony begins its migration north towards warmer climes and to follow the movement of anchovies, their preferred type of fish. During this period, penguins have been known to migrate as far north as Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, and even up to 3,000-miles (4,820km) north to Parque Paracas in Peru.


Useless Bay: The king Penguin Colony in South America

The only penguin colony of King Penguins in the continent (away from Antarctica), is the Useless Bay. Just few people arrive to this new colony of king penguins who is growing in the coasts of Tierra del Fuego Island in Chile. After two hours driving along the coast, we will arrive to the penguin colony. The gate to visit this colony is Porvenir, or may be Punta Arenas with more hotels and infraestructure.  So, from Punta Arenas, you wil take a ferry to cross to the Island and then it´s two hours driving to the colony.  And when I have to organize my trip? No problem. King Penguins are all over the year!


Penguins in Magdalena Island

Magdalena Island forms part of a protected area known as Los Pingüinos Natural Monument, which is home to the largest colony of Magellanic penguins in South America. Besides more than 60,000 pairs of penguins, other protected animals also inhabit the Patagonian island, such as Cormorants and Sea Lions.

From Punta Arenas, just board the boat to go to the island. Our destination is Magdalena Island, a small island located in the Magellan Strait, some 20 miles to the northeast of Punta Arenas.

You will have an hour of your own free time to explore the island at your own pace, admire the breath-taking landscapes, and observe the penguin colony. You will visit the lighthouse and the Environmental Interpretation Center, where you can witness the conservation efforts taking place in Patagonia and the Magellan Strait whilst enjoying the wonderful panoramic view across the island.

We continue our journey to Marta Island, where on the shore you will spot sea lions, cormorants, and flocks of seagulls. If you are lucky, we might even encounter the different species of dolphins that are native to this part of the world.

The trip finishes back at the port in Punta Arenas.


Penguins in Chiloé Island

Finally, going north along the chilean cost, we can arrive to Chiloe Island, where we can find a colony of penguins. And it´s an important place, because it´s the only colony in the entire earch, where Maguellanic and Humbold Penguins nest together. Amazing isn´t it?

The “Monumento Natural Islotes de Puñihuil” is situated at 27 km away from the city of Ancud. There are three islands which share the same purpose: keeping the penguins safe from extinction. Of the eighteen species of penguins living in our world, ten can be found in Chile. There are two of those species living in Puñihuil: the Magallanes penguin and the Humbolt penguin. The season to see penguins here is from November to March.

If you need to organize your trip to see penguins in Argentina and Chile, you can email me or visit our websites:,, and

Lic. Ramiro Rodriguez
Sales and Marketing Manager


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