I booked the penguin tour thru a US operator (Adventure Life) that was handling my entire Patagonia trip and frankly was disappointed, although that's partially because of my expectations, not the trip/tour itself. The Isla Magdalena trip was with Solo Expediciones on a small boat.
1. I paid $125 for the trip, which would have cost only $85 if booked directly thru Solo. The price DID include a pickup and dropoff at my hotel, but I could have easily walked to/from my hotel to the office and a taxi would only have been about $6 maximum.
2. I asked specifically if there were a lot of penguins on the island because someone at my Punta Arenas hotel said this was the wrong time of year to visit the island. I was told (by Solo Expediciones) that Isla Magdalena was fine, only Otway penguins were mostly out of season. I went to the island on March 24, and while there were plenty of penguins and great photo ops, this was the tail end of the season with many fewer penguins than there would have been a month or two ago and no breeding, chicks, eggs, etc. The penguins left on the island in late March are the sick, old, or "waiting to finish molting" . Again, there were plenty of penguins to see, and they are fun to watch, but I wish I had known that this was not the best time to visit the island, especially since I specifically asked about it (and paid too much to see it!).
3. I was told (by Adventure Life) that there would be a naturalist guide on our boat/trip to the island...this was something I had specifially asked about. There was no naturalist, there was no guide. The boat captain was a very nice guy that spoke good English and was somewhat knowledgeable; he knew the answers to some of the questions I asked...but again, this was not what I had been sold/promised. There ARE some informative signs in English and Spanish on the island that explain some facts about the penguins and the island.
4. We were unable to visit Isla Marta because supposedly the weather/water was too choppy to do so safely. No one can predict or avoid that, and I'm glad that safety was a concern.
5. Unlike other reviewers, I thought that an hour on the island was enough time. If there had been more penguins or more going on, perhaps I would have wanted more time. Noone on our boat seemed to have any issue with returning in the hour allotted, in fact many people were making their way back to the boat before our time was up.
In spite of my personal issues, I would recommend the tour, but book directly with Solo Expediciones at the standard rate or investigate some of the less expensive options. If you really want to see large numbers, babies, etc. be sure you go at the right time of the year. If you just think it's fun to see penguins in the wild up close...you will not be disappointed.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.