Punta Tombo
Punta Tombo
4.5
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Monday
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Saturday
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sunday
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
About
Duration: 2-3 hours
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

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Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles2,263 reviews
Excellent
1,703
Very good
467
Average
70
Poor
13
Terrible
10

GlynisRae
Sydney, Australia90 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Friends
Punta Tumbo and Peninsular Valdes Wild life, Puerto Mardyrn, ship Tour.
Well that’s one day l’ll never get back!
It does say 5.5 hours travelling .... and it was - with no aircon in the bus. When we got there, we saw about 10 Magallenic penguins. The elephant seals are so far away you needed very good binoculars to see the main group. We saw about 5 from 200-300 metres away!
The long drive over dirt road with a guide who was very hard to understand, was not worth the significant cost.
Stay in town, shop and drink/eat in the restaurants. We wish we had!
**Do the Volunteer Point Falklands Penguins - you see thousands all together (King (1,000’s), 100’s Magallenic & 100’s Gentoo) at The Falkland Islands. Patrick Watts Tour was great. Really great (also a long drive .... but worth it).
Written February 17, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Erin Henderson
Pyeongtaek, South Korea54 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2020 • Couples
We decided last minute to make the trip from Buenos Aries when I saw images of these guys online. Although a bit of a hike to get down here, it was totally worth it! Spend a few hours just enjoying the beautiful weather and observing the penguins in their habitat. They aren’t afraid of people and will often walk right by you on the walking trails, so cute!
Written December 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rich M
Orlando, FL316 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
Great bus trip on some dirt roads to get down to punto tombo to see the penguins. Entrance fee was included bin our tour. Guide was informative and pleasant with good info along the trip and at the preserve. More penguins are there during peak season. So check calendar
Worth the drive.
Written March 23, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rowan H
Cairns, Australia1,676 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2015 • Couples
This was easily the best of the activities on offer from Puerto Madryn. I mean - who doesn't pee their pants at the excitement of having thousands of penguins running around your feet? I visit with my partner in December 2015 and here is the advice I would offer others.

GETTING HERE, COST, TOUR VS INDEPENDENT
The colony is located around 180km South of Puerto Madryn or 110km South of the less exciting Trelew (I'd advise against staying there). You've got two options - do it as part of a day tour from Puerto Madryn or hire a car and do it independently. I went the former and I'll explain why.

The cost of hiring a car that allows the mileage you require to get to Punta Tombo and back (around 400-500km) is about 1400AR for a day. Once you add on fuel you're probably looking at about 1500-1600AR. A day tour costs a standard 800 AR p/p (not including entry ticket) and this doesn't vary between companies. This means that the cost for 2 people is roughly equivalent to hiring a car and travelling independently. Therefore, unless you can get a group of 3 or more people it isn't worth it financially. In regards to wanting extra time with the penguins - it's not really needed as it's only a 1.5km trail and you'll have a couple of hours which is plenty of time.

There are also two other issues with cars
(1) ACCIDENTS - I agree with a previous users review that this is probably overstated. Unlike the Peninsula Valdes road which is largely dirt - the first 150-160km of the road from Puerto Madryn is bitumen. Only the last 20km is a gravel road and unless you drive like an maniac it would be hard to flip a car. That being said according to the company I enquired at they have had 4 in the last month! The insurance for these cars have clauses that state you won't be covered in the event of a roll-over and strangely, insurance doesn't cover you if you strike a guanco!
(2) YOU HAVE TO DRIVE A MANUAL - this is probably only an issue for people from Australia and the UK who drive on the left hand side of the road but I couldn't find an automatic car anywhere in Puerto Madryn. This was a big problem for me as Argentinean driving wheels are located on the opposite side of the car and so this means the gearstick, clutch and break are all reversed. You have to operate with the opposite hands and feet to what you're used to. I think this would've been fairly difficult and was one of the main reasons I didn't end up getting a car.

Regardless of your mode of transportation you will also have a cost of 180AR for the ticket at Punta Tombo.

THE TOUR
Most of the tours of Punta tombo from Puerto Madryn follow a standard itinerary. You drive for an hour south to Playa Union where it is possible to do a 1.5 hour boat ride for dolphin watching (weather dependent) . This costs around 800AR and is probably worth doing as otherwise you will be sitting in the car for 2 hours waiting for everyone else to finish. From there you visit a beach with elephant seals before going on to Punta Tombo. On the way back you stop at the Welsh town of Gaiman and are encouraged to participate in a high tea (Cost - 200AR).

PUNTA TOMBO
Our visit to Punta Tombo was just extraordinary. The site has a well mapped out 1.5km boardwalk which leads you down to a beach and rocky area. The entire area is covered with penguins who walk straight across the path - seemingly unperturbed by the curious human onlookers. It's important to note that the penguins are only there from September to April as they come in to breed. The scenery changes throughout the year. If you visit in September you will see eggs. From November/December onwards you will see chicks. Around April you will see the chicks leaving/learning how to swim. May to July it's closed.

The boardwalk and nature reserve is very well set out as to allow you to get close to the penguins but with minimal environmental impact. But with so many penguins you will undoubtingly get the opportunity to get close up pictures, even 'selfies' with them. Just beware that they do bite if touched. Also we came across one curious creature that appeared to have been trained into harassing tourists - apparently this occurs secondary to inconsiderate individuals who feed the penguins and train them to beg. I found this area quite exposed and very cold so recommend dress in layers with a wind breaker.

Overall Punta Tombo was a once in a lifetime experience and absolutely not to be missed. We travelled to Puerto Madryn for this alone and did not regret it.

Please take the time to rate my review if you found it handy.
Written January 28, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SoutthfieldRomer
Tucson, AZ22 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2012 • Couples
It is well established here that if you want to see penguins, and plenty of them, go to Punta Tombo. The questions then is how. There are many local tour operators. We used Whales Patagonia to get there. Ahead of time I arranged for a private car, with an English speaking driver or driver and English speaking guide. We were picked up at the cruise dock and were on the road to Punta Tombo before the buses were loaded. Whales Patagonia provided a comfortable car, very good driver, and friendly English speaking fellow who was not experienced as a guide to the penguin colony but who turned out to be very good and informative. Both the driver and guide were friendly and courteous.

Whales Patagonia was easy to do business with, and for two passengers less expensive than the shore excursions offered by our cruise line. I highly recommend them for a private car to Punta Tombo.
e-mail info@whalespatagonia.com.ar
http://www.whalespatagoniatour.com.ar/
Written February 18, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Eric1313
Amstelveen, The Netherlands421 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
There is not much to do or see in the town of Puerto Madryn but many great places a few hours drive away. If you have only one day there (as we had), you have to choose either to go north to Peninsula Valdes (sea lions, penguins and possibly whales) or south to Punta Tombo penguins. Either way, you'll have a great experience. Some visitors have pre-booked tours or take expensive taxis but it is easy to rent a car and drive around (roads are easy). This is what we did when driving to see the Punta Tombo penguins. It is exactly a two hour drive (it takes a bus 3 hours), pretty straightforward and well marked (just follow the penguin/Punta Tombo signs). In Puerto Madryn, take the Av. Gales road to the 3 highway, take the 3 highway to Trelew, at Trelew take the road to Punta Tombo (road 1). About 60 km/38 miles before you get there, there is a sign to take a left turn and a bit later, for a right turn at the intersection. For the last part you have to turn left on an unpaved stone road (for about the last 22 km/14 miles). Entrance to the penguin area was 35 pesos per adult when we were there (February 2010).
Written February 24, 2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Koby O
Tel Aviv196 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2015 • Couples
No doubt this was one of our highlights in our trip to Argentina. Punta Tombo is a colony with more than half a million Magellanic penguins. These are small (~40cm tall) penguins which are amazingly cute, and you can visit them in their natural habitat.

The park itself is huge, but there is an organized walking path that you have to take in order not to interfere with the wildlife (there are also ostriches, guanacos and many types of birds there). As others mentioned previously, don’t stay with the first few penguins you see. Many, literally thousands of others follow very soon. You can see both baby penguins and adults, watch them at feeding sessions, nesting, mating and everything. While some have recommended going particularly early in the morning, we came at 10:30am, and the place wasn’t packed. It’s also large enough to find yourself a corner with some penguins and just spend time watching them and taking awesome photos.

Apparently, this trip can be combined with a boat ride to see Tonina dolphins at Rawson, which we selected to do (+500 peso per person) and it was totally worth it. The Tonina dolphins are probably the smallest kind in the world, and they are bi-color, both black and white. The guide said there is 98% chance to see them while on the speedboat, and we saw many of them. The trip lasts about 1.5 hours.

Lastly, the tour company took us to a place called Gaiman, which is apparently an historical place and the first colony of the Welsh in the region. It’s not an interesting place and if possible I would skip that part all together.

We did the trip in Jan 2015 and the price was 560 peso for the tour + 500 for the dolphins boat ride. Entrance to the Tombo park wasn’t included and cost 130 peso.
Written February 8, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Gene R J
Silver Spring, MD10,071 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2018 • Couples
We rented a car the night before from the airport for the morning 123 km drive southeast of our Patagonia Apartment Hotel in Trelew. We got an early start and with perfect weather and light traffic (met no one on the 30km gravel section), entered the site at 9:30AM. After parking, we walked 250m to the ticket booth, paying 320Ap foreign entry fee, then used the huge clean restroom, before peering into the Visitor’s Center. With little interest for educated adults, we walked back to our car and drove 1km to the next Visitor Center. After parking, we walked a short distance to an entrance booth where a Park Ranger informed us of the necessary rules (no smoking, no touching, stay on the walkways), we then proceeded onto the boardwalk. A small herd of resident guanaco's greeted us and then we spotted hundreds of Magellanic breeding pairs and their burrowing chicks along a 3km stone trail. At the end there are 2 walkway viewpoints high over the surf where huddling groups of parents are entering to find marine food, or exiting, to walk back to feed their chicks. A Giant Petrol with its 2 meter wingspan was buzzing and menacing these flocks.
It's all very dramatic and hard to believe this is not a UNESCO site, as it contains up to ½ million penguins, according to our guidebook. Its wonderfully protected by Province of Chubut.
As we were walking back to our car at 11AM, the first flag- following tour groups were just arriving. Driving back we had the road to ourselves but coming the other way were scores of tour buses (both big and mini), taxis, trucks and cars, all loaded with eagar visitors to see the Magellanic Penguins of Punta Tomba.
After getting gas, we returned the rental car to the Trelew Airport at 1:30PM and taxied back to Trelew by 2PM. We were both exhausted and I had some eye strain from driving into the sun on our return.
A wonderful well planned day trip.
Written January 16, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

travelmuse1
Newport Beach, Ca128 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2015 • Couples
We visited this penguin rookery the first week of March as an independent excursion while on a cruise Around the Horn The tour provider was Forastero Tours. We were a group of 16 at a rate of $105 pp. We were able to get off the ship immediately at about 8:00 am as requested by the tour operator, which resulted in our beating all the big buses to the site. Our guide, Noemi, was waiting for us at the pier with a sign with our name on it.

The trip to the rookery is about 180 km each way. Included in the tour is the ride, a box lunch, water, and admission fees. We took a couple of bathroom breaks along the way. The road was not as bad as we had expected, only the last 1/2 hour or so being on bumpy gravel. Noemi spoke very good English and was knowledgeable about Puerto Madryn, the flora, fauna, and, of course, the penguins.

We did see lots of penguins although not the groups of 1,000s that have been reported. Instead the penguins were in smaller groups of 10 - 25. You do walk on the pathways all the way out to the water so don't get too hung up on the first ones as there are lots more along the way. In spite of the more limited number of penguins that day, it was well worth the long ride. We were told that we were viewing juvenile penguins still in the process of molting and that their parents were out to sea searching for food. The penguins had not yet migrated to Brazil and it would be possible that in a day or two there would be many, many more, i.e. the luck of the draw that particular day.

Our group opted to limit our visit to one hour and a half rather than 2 hours so we were back in town about 3:30 and had the option to be dropped off in town and take the ship shuttle back to the pier. As we were leaving the rookery, there were hoards of cruise ship passengers arriving on the big buses. We opted to stay in town for a while and use the internet at Havana, a local coffee shop, and to shop a little. However, most of the shops were closed for siesta.

We got to check Penguins off our list!
Written March 24, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

babystepper
Big Flats, NY330 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2014 • Friends
Penguinos! Lots and lots of penguins - including some by the flagpole in the parking lot. Most of the penguins are after you go up a hill (broad, well-packed path about 3 city blocks long). Then you walk down a ridge through the penguin burrows, and sometimes over boardwalk bridges that span main penguin paths to the sea. Two different near-the-edge-of-the-water overlooks as well. How close are the penguins? There is a sign to "yield to penguins", that's how close!

Great views to the sea, we also saw guanacos and rheas, as well as some hawks. We visited as a day shore excursion while on a cruise. Sentir Patagonia was very well organized and much less $ than going with the cruise line's tour - plus we had a much smaller group! Wonderful guide. From the pier in Puerto Madryn all but the last 10 miles (or 5? not very far) are good, paved roads. The last bit is on a wide, well-graded gravel road. When we visited Dec 5 there were many chicks, almost all were inside the burrows but you could glimpse them easily.
Written December 24, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Punta Tombo - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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