Magellanic Penguins – Half Day Tour – “BIG Boat” Option
The penguin colony on Magdalena Island is one of the two penguin colonies near Punta Arenas.
Los Pingüinos Natural Monument is located about 20 miles Northeast of Punta Arenas, right in the middle of the world-known Strait of Magellan and protects the islands Marta & Magdalena.
Magdalena Island is home to some 120,000 Magellanic Penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus), being the larges penguin colony in Chilean Patagonia. Marta Island protects about 1,000 South American Sea Lion (Otaria flavescens).
Where as the sea lions live there year-round, the penguins are migrating birds that come to Patagonia every year from mid September to mid April.
This tour is the one with the “big boat”. The “big boat” -or ferry- holds up to 200 passengers. With this tour you will visit “only” the penguin island, Isla Magdalena (but not the sea lions). To visit both islands, take the “a small boat“.
Check-in directly at the port “Tres Puentes”. The port in this case is not much more than a ramp that goes into the water and the passenger terminal. Once you get to the port, it’s super obvious where to go – you will see.
Departure time and off you go sailing the legendary Strait of Magellan by ferry boat. There is indoor seating, but, of course, you can go on deck to catch a bit of the Patagonian breeze. It’s about 2 hours to Isla Magdalena. On the island, you will have about 1 hour (the limit set by the park rangers) to walk amongst thousands of penguins. The path leads on a slight slope up to Magdalena Island Lighthouse. The return journey, back to Punta Arenas, takes another 2 hours, more or less. Hence, you will arrive at the port.
- Entrance fee to Los Pingüinos Natural Monument
- English speaking tour guide on board
- Transfer to the port and back. The port is about 4km (2.5 miles) from our Bed & Breakfast. A taxi costs CLP 4,000 (about USD 6.-).
- Optional tips to your tour guide
This half-day tour to Isla Magdalena departs daily from November through March (or until the Penguins decide to leave the island)
Price for Regular Departures
- CLP 55,000 per person (about USD 81 – p/p*)
- CLP 27,500 per person for children from 5 – 14 years of age (about USD 40 – p/p*)
- Children under 5: free of charge
- * 2019 exchange rate
Please keep in mind that this excursion depends on the weather conditions. This basically means, if it is too windy, the boat will not leave – safety first
Although the focus of this half-day tour is on observing Magellanic Penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus), 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)