We had just completed the W walk in Torres Del Paine and were looking for a slightly less energy consuming activity. Penguin spotting on an island close to Punta Arenas seemed like the perfect option and so we caught the bus out of Puerto Natales heading further south. Between the months of December to March over 100000 penguins migrate to Isla Magdalena, an island situated about 2 hours from Punta Arena, on a very slow boat.
Dolphin spotting on our way to the island:
We arrived in town on the 30th March and managed to book onto the last trip of the season. The island was certainly not swarming with baby penguins, or even with adult penguins, but we still got to watch those penguins less eager to leave the island. With up to 60000 pairs breeding during each season the island swells to capacity during the main breeding months. We were required to be a bit more patient with our spotting as we watched little penguins duck into their dens and avoid the biting winds that pummeled the island.
Penguin chill time:
Magellanic penguins are super cute, as are all penguins in my opinion. Apparently they are medium sized penguins and they flock to Isla Magdalena in the Magellan Strait during the Patagonian summer in order to breed. They then migrate back up to Brazil to escape the extremely cold winters of the region.
This week’s Film Friday shows a few of the last stragglers on the island:
Comapa run the cheapest tour to the island at CLP$35000 per person (~£35). The boat took 2 hours out and 2 hours back, you get one hour on the island. It is a pretty long way to go to see penguins, but if you go in the height of season then you will see thousands of them rather than the 50 or so that we spotted. As you walk around the island you are kept within sectioned off paths, apparently during the busy period you can expect the penguins to ignore this segregation and walk right out in front of you. We also got to look around the lighthouse that has some information about the penguins.