Penguin Colony on Isla Magdalena
Punta Arenas is the airport to fly into when reaching Torres del Paine and Patagonia. Before heading straight on to Puerto Natales and the park I’d highly recommend spending a day in Punta Arenas! The town is small, but cute, and best of all there is an island not far off the coast in the Strait of Magellan that is full of 60,000 Magellanic Penguins!
This is a bit of a pricy excursion, it was 60,000 CLP per person which is about $85 USD. But for a once in a lifetime experience where you are surrounded by thousands of wild penguins, I would say it’s worth it! It was a half day tour, we met at the office where we boarded some vans to transport to the boat dock. From here it was about 45 minutes on an enclosed boat to get to the island. It was COLD and WINDY on this trip, much more so than in town, so I was very glad to have packed a hat and gloves. As soon as we got back into town, we warmed up again right away.
The island has a set path to follow that ends at the lighthouse at the top. We had about an hour on the island to see and photograph all the penguins. It was so much fun! These little guys have no land predators so really aren’t too scared of humans at all. You aren’t allowed to touch the penguins and they made sure to keep their distance, but this still meant we were within just a few feet of them! On top of this, the island itself is beautiful with wonderful coastlines and seagulls flying in the air. It was so relaxing to be there.
After our time at this island we headed over to Isla Marta which is inhabited by sea lions, about 5,000 of them! Of course we couldn’t get off on the island to walk around these giants but we got pretty close to it! The weather was great so we all climbed on top of the boat and sat outside as the boat pulled back and forth in front for us all to admire these creatures and snap some photos. The penguins were still my favorite though 🙂
Our tour was from about 7-11:30am and was a ton of fun. I would rank it as one of our top travel experiences. We booked through http://apatagonia.com/ and I was very happy with the service we received and how communicative they were during the booking process. Another tour I would highly recommend!