King Penguin Colony at Tierra del Fuego

  • Duration: 14 hours
  • Departure: Tuesday to Sunday at 7:00 AM, year-round
  • Activity level: Level 1, easy, possible for everyone of any age in general good health

This is truely quite a sensation!

There is a new colony of King Penguins establishing at Tierra del Fuego – and, guess what, we are happy to take you there!

King Penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) are usually only found on subantarctic island, such as remote and difficult to access South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. Observing them in Tierra del Fuego, therefore, is a very unique oportunity!

For quite a while now, we have been hearing rumours and in some occasions believed-to-be-true stories amongst some of the local elders that a long time ago there once was a king penguin colony at Tierra del Fuego. Today, a group of about 100 king penguins is reestablishing right at the same spot. For the first time one of their last season’s chicks has made it through the winter. We believe that this is a very good sign for a recovering ecosystem.

Let us go out to observe, spread the word and protect these magnificent seabirds in their natural habitat!

On top of this, the King Penguins live there year-round.

With this tour you will directly contribute to the protection of the King Penguins at Tierra del Fuego.

Every day (except Mondays) at around 7.30 a.m., all participants are picked up from their hotels in Punta Arenas. Be prepared for a loooong road trip – distances and therefore traveling time in Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego are huge. You have been warned! The drive through the Patagonian Pampa takes you at first about 2 hours Northeast of Punta Arenas to Primera Angostura, the first narrowing of the Strait of Magellan, if you would sail into the Strait from the Atlantic. On the way, stop at San Gregorio. Once a flourishing estancia, today it appear to be a ghost town. Later, cross the Strait of Magellan by ferry from the South American mainland to the island of Tierra del Fuego. From here, the only way is South. The landscape in the northern part of Tierra del Fuego is similar to that on the mainland, dominated by the vast, windswept Patagonian steppe. Roughly another 2,5 hours drive later, we reach the King Penguin Colony. Spend about one hour at the penguin colony. Join your guide to approach the penguins on foot. We will keep a fair distance, not to disturb them – penguins first! After a while, the penguins tend to forget about us visitors (or they might simply not care about our presence) and usually come closer on their own – sometimes as close as 20 meters, sometimes a bit closer, but again: we’ll let them decide! After a great experience and high quality observation, we return to Punta Arenas to arrive at about 09:30 p.m. – sometimes even later!

Important:

Experience tells us that some travelers underestimate the huge distances in Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego. For this reason it is very important that you understand what it takes to visit the King Penguins at Bahía Inútil in Tierra del Fuego.

 

Tour Includes

  • Transfer from/ to your hotel or our down town office

  • Ferry tickets across the Strait of Magellan
  • English speaking tour guide

Additional Costs

  • Lunch (please bring your own)
  • Entrance fee to the King Penguin Park: CLP 12,000 (about USD 18.- pp*)

    This fee will help to build basic infrastructure including fences to protect the penguins from natural predators like Patagonian Foxes (which were introduced to Tierra del Fuego and are therefore not native to the island), potentially from stray dogs, but also from potential human misbehavior. This entrance fee will therefore allow for a long lasting establishment of this king penguin colony – and this is what it’s all about!

  • Optional tips to your tour guide and/ or your driver

Regular Departures

Our full-day tour to the King Penguin Colony at Tierra del Fuego departs every day (except Mondays) and outside this time frame on demand.

Important

Although, this tour is mainly a road trip, we have to cross the Strait of Magellan twice. The ferry sails almost always. Nevertheless, delays may occur due to weather conditions that may result in a very late arrival back in Punta Arenas. 

Price

CLP 50,000 per person (about USD 78.- pp*)

+ Entrance fee to the King Penguin Park: CLP 12,000 (about USD 18.- pp*)

Of course, the main goal of this full-day tour is to observe King Penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus), but there’s much more to see…

Other species you may observe during this trip include

  • Guanaco (Lama guanicoe); the wild ancestor of the domesticated llama; fairly common in the Patagonian steppe and on Tierra del Fuego
  • Ñandu (Pterocnemia pennata); a large flightless bird similar to the ostrich, also called Darwin’s Rhea or Lesser Rhea; fairly common in the Patagonian steppe, but does not inhabit Tierra del Fuego
  • South American Gray Fox (Lycalopex griseus); a species of the “false” foxes, which is actually closer related to wild dogs than to foxes, also called Patagonian Fox

  • Southern Crested Caracara (Caracara plancus); a bird of prey often seen perched on trees and fence poles; very common

… and if you’re somewhat lucky:

  • Chilean Dolphin (Cephalorhynchus eutropia), also called Black Dolphin, only found off the coast of Chile

  • Commerson’s Dolphin (Cephalorhynchus commersonii)

… which may be observed during the ferry crossing from the Patagonian mainland to Tierra del Fuego.

Kayak Tour on the Strait of Magellan to San Isidro Lighthouse

  • Duration: full day
  • Departure: daily at 7:00 AM, year-round
  • Activity level: Level 3, moderate, possible for beginners as long as you are in good health and good physical condition

Patagonia… For most people, Patagonia stands for show-capped mountains, calving glaciers and seemingly endless, windswept Pampa

… fair enough, but there is more to it! Patagonia is also a pristine, maritime ecosystem.

Wouldn’t a perfect full-day tour let you get to know a little bit of both?

Ladies and Gentlemen, let us invite you to an unforgettable adventure, here, at the End of the World!

Explore Southern Patagonia with this Sea Kayak Tour on the world-known Strait of Magellan!

This full-day sea kayak tour runs every day on requestyear-round, therefore, also during the Patagonian winter.

This sea kayak tour is possible for beginners.

Note:

Although, the snow-capped mountain in the back of the image above is the remarkable Monte Sarmiento, you won’t really see glaciers on this tour (there are better places for that), but experience an outstanding insight of maritime Patagonia along the shore of evergreen, almost jungle-like terrestrial Patagonia that is covered by temperate rain forest.

This full-day tour begins at 7:00 a.m. with pick up at our hospedaje. After a little more than an hour and a half drive South, changing into the kayaking clothes and a brief introduction on how to use the kayaking equipment and kayaking itself, you are ready to take off to explore the coast line of Southern Patagonia from the sea. You will be kayaking on the legendary Strait of Magellan and if you are lucky, a school of dolphins joins you during the sea kayaking (but, be aware that there is no guarantee for this, of course!). Continue towards San Isidro Lighthouse. We stop for lunch at a nearby bay, probably in company of some ducks and other sea birds. After visiting the lighthouse, paddle to Bahía Aguila, the Eagle’s Bay, where at the beginning of the last century a whaling station was located. In the afternoon, return the same way back to Punta Arenas. The total kayaking time is about six hours. After a long day and tons a new experiences, return to the hostel just after 8:00 p.m.

Tour Includes

  • Transfer from/ to Hospedaje Magallanes

  • Complete kayak equipment: double kayaks, paddles, spraydecks, wetsuits, kayaking booties, kayaking gloves, kayaking jackets, life vests, bilge pump
  • Lunch
  • English speaking kayak guide

Additional Costs

  • Optional tips to your tour guide and/ or your driver

Departures & Prices

Regular Departures

The full-day kayak tour on the Strait of Magellan to San Isidro Lighthouse departs every day on request (year-round).

Important

Please keep in mind that this excursion depends on the weather conditions. This basically means, if it’s too windy, we might have to change the itinerary or we won’t go at all – safety first!

Price

CLP 230.000 per person (about USD 390.- pp*)

Single/Solo Traveler

Single/ solo travelers may book this kayak tour for 1.5 times the rate stated above (add CLP 70.000; about USD 109.-).

Pali Aike National Park

  • Duration: 11 hours
  • Departure: daily at 8:30 AM, from September to April
  • Activity level: Level 1, easy, possible for everyone of any age in general good health

This full-day tour to Pali Aike National Park takes you through the immense Patagonian Pampa to a landscape that is dominated by the Pali-Aike Volcanic Field. The last volcanic eruptions in and around Pali Aike National Park happend about 12,000 years ago. This area has also been home to a Paleo-Indian hunter-gatherer people, the forefathers of the Aonikenk, and is one of the earliest proven human settlements in The Americas. We visit: Pali Aike Cave, El Escorial del Diablo (an extinct volcanic crater) and Laguna Ana, which is known for its abundant wildlife, such as guanacos, ñandus (Lesser Rhea), grey foxes and flamencos that live in its surroundings.

All tour members willl be picked up from their hotels at about 8:30 a.m. Off we go! We leave Punta Arenas and head out of town towards the North. For most of the day, the landscape is dominated by the seemingly endless, windswept Patagonian Pampa. On the way, stop at San Gregorio. Once a flourishing estancia, today it appear to be a ghost town. Right down on the coast of the Strait of Magellan, check out the wrecks of two ships that we put ashore by a storm. Later, we reach Pali Aike National Park. Join your guide on a gentle walk over an old lava field to look into the mouth of an extinct volcanic crater, El Escorial del Diablo. Visit the Pali Aike Cave and later Laguna Ana. Return to Punta Arenas at about 7:30 p.m.

Tour Includes

  • Transfers from/ to your hotel or our down town office
  • English speaking tour guide

Additional Costs

  • Entrance fee to Pali Aike National Park (CLP 3,000 per person)
  • snacks/lunch (please buy some up front)
  • Optional tips to your tour guide and/ or your driver

This full-day tour to Pali Aike National Park departs daily from September through April, but we need a minimum of 4 tour members to realize this tour.

Price

CLP 35,000 per person

+ Entrance fee to Pali Aike National Park (CLP 3,000 per person)

Humpback Whale Watching in the Strait of Magellan (Full Day)

full day trip to the first Marine Park of Chile “Francisco Coloane” in search of the majestic humpback whales
  • Duration: Full day, 12-14 hours
  • Departure: December to March
  • Activity level: Level 1, easy, possible for everyone of any age in general good health

the first Marine Park of Chile “Francisco Coloane” in search of the majestic humpback whales. A close encounter with wild nature, a day of adventure that you will never forget.

A few years ago, a group of Chilean biologists discovered an until then unexplored feeding ground of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) on the southernmost tip of South America. Every Patagonian summer, these astonishing marine mammals return to an area around Carlos III Island, which is located right in the legendary Strait of Magellan.

Their passion for science and their love for nature has led to the creation of Chile’s first marine protected area, Francisco Coloane Marine Park.

Turismo Aonikenk/ Hospedaje Magallanes has been one of the main supporters of this project from its beginning in 2004, because we believe in conservation through science and tourism.

04:00 am

Check in at the office in down town.

04:30 am

Boarding. We start the navigation through Magellan strait observing the amazing sunrise by Tierra del Fuego, Fuerte Bulnes, first settlement of Punta Arenas. [B]

06:30 am

Crossing Froward Cape, last point of the American continental territory. We will admire beautiful landscapes, exuberant flora and big hanging glaciers from Darwin range.

09:00 am – 12:00 pm

Navigation across the Marine Park “Francisco Coloane” observing humpback whales, Magellan penguins, sea elephants, sea lions, toninas, austral dolphins, cormorants, albatros and a great diversity of sea birds. [BL] 

04:00 pm – 06:00 pm

Return to Punta Arenas. 

Included Meals

B = breakfast, BL = box lunch

Note
All departure times of navigations depend on weather conditions. Changes in the program may occur without prior notice.

Tour Includes

  • Transfers according to the program
  • Bilingual tour guide (Spanish and English speaking)
  • All meals specified in the program (see itinerary: B = breakfast, BL = box lunch)

Additional Costs

  • Optional tips to your guide and/ or other people working for you (e.g. the boatmen etc.)

Departures

Departures calendar

Price

CLP 245.000 – per person

Although the focus of this half-day tour is on observing Magellanic Penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) and South American Sea Lions (Otaria flavescens), other animals that you may see on this tour include:

  • Cormorant (Phalacrocorax magallanicus)

  • Chilean Skua (Stercorarius chilensis)

  • Southern Giant Petrel (Macronectes giganteus)

  • Kelp Gull (Larus dominicanus), also called Dominican Gull; very common

… and if you are somewhat lucky:

  • Chilean Dolphin (Cephalorhynchus eutropia), also called Black Dolphin, only found off the coast of Chile

  • Commerson’s Dolphin (Cephalorhynchus commersonii)

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