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Penguins in Puerto Madryn or Punta Arenas

Olive Branch...
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Penguins in Puerto Madryn or Punta Arenas

My husband & I are going on a cruise in January & have the option of taking an excursion out of Punta Arenas to the Magdalena Island Reserve or out of Puerto Madryn to Punta Tombo.

Since we will only visit the penguins once we would like to choose the best trip. The excursion to Punta Tumbo sounds like it might be more difficult to get to...over rough terran. To get to Magdalena island one must take a ferry. Does anyone have an opinion as to which would be best?

We would certainly use a private guide to either of these places if that makes sense.

Thank you,

Debra

TheHague
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1. Re: Penguins in Puerto Madryn or Punta Arenas

Punta Tombo is I believe the largest penguin colony in the world and is simply breathtaking. It wins hands down.

Atenas, Costa Rica
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2. Re: Penguins in Puerto Madryn or Punta Arenas

Punta Tombo has the largest continental colony of Magellan penguins in the world.

The area has trails where visitors walking among the penguins.

The trip to Tombo from Puerto Madryn is by paved roads except the last 14 miles.

There is a snack bar and restrooms at the entrance too.

Olive Branch...
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3. Re: Penguins in Puerto Madryn or Punta Arenas

Thank you so much!

We will plan a trip out of Puerto Madyrn

Happy traveling to you too,

DebraOlive Branch

Olive Branch...
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4. Re: Penguins in Puerto Madryn or Punta Arenas

Thank you for the helpful advice. I plan to cancel the excursion that I booked to Punta Arenas and will book one, hopfully with a private guide, out of Puerto Madryn.

Happy traveling to you too,

DebraOliveBranch

Lunenburg, Canada
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for Saint John, Foz do Iguacu, Prince Edward Island
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5. Re: Penguins in Puerto Madryn or Punta Arenas

Hi Debra!

The Punta Tombo site was the high point of our entire trip in Argentina. Others have written in this forum that it's the best penguin spot outside Antarctica itself. I agree.

Punta Tombo is not a mere beach or rookery. It's a sizable area of many square kilometers.

Once you arrive at the welcome center, pay admission and pick up a map, you have a three-kilometer walk, one-way, across the campo. There are thousands of penguins dotting the plain, as far as the eye can see! I have no idea how these waddlers manage to march such long distances inland, but they do.

All along the three kilometers, birds line the paths, adults and either chicks or, in February, adolescents. They're not afraid of humans, and if you're careful they may even pose for pictures with you!

I've never been to the spot at Punta Arenas, but I did see penguin sites in South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. There's just no comparison!

At Punta Tombo, you walk by yourself along the paths. No guide is provided, nor needed. A babbling guide would have spoiled the atmosphere for us, unless you yearn to know every trifling detail of the penguin life cycle. Even if there are guides, I doubt that many speak English. Even if one does, I think a guide would just get in your way.

Punta Tombo is about two hours, one-way, from the cruise ship dock in Puerto Madryn. The highway is well paved except for the final 25 kilometers, which is easy gravel with guanacos every here and there along the way. Guanacos!

Punta Tombo was the highlight of our entire trip to Argentina, ranking higher than the Pink House presidential palace and Mount Aconcagua. If you can possible get it into your itinerary, don't miss it!

David

Olive Branch...
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6. Re: Penguins in Puerto Madryn or Punta Arenas

David,

Thank you so much. We will definately go there. I am busy trying to arrange a tour now. Do you have any suggessions? I agree with your views regarding a chattering guide at the reserve...but we do want a driver at least just to get there. Don't care to drive on this trip.

Did you see Gaiman as well? If so what are your thoughts?

You mentioned New Zealand....My husband & I have been there twice...three times for me. We love it there. On the last trip there we spent 3 weeks driving around both islands. I could go back tomorrow.

Thank you for your advice! We will follow it.

DebraOliveBranch

Lunenburg, Canada
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for Saint John, Foz do Iguacu, Prince Edward Island
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7. Re: Penguins in Puerto Madryn or Punta Arenas

Gaiman and, my favorite, Dolavon a bit further to the west, will be off the beaten track for you, especially if you have just one day in port.

When we visited, we started from Buenos Aires in our rental car. It's an easy drive from Puerto Madryn.

I've never taken a cruise, but I have read that tours are offered from Puerto Madryn, and of course your ship will offer something.

If sometime you do have a bit more time, we liked the dying Welsh town of Dolavon, and especially the Old Mill Restaurant which the owner has turned into a veritable museum of Welsh-Argentine memories, especially of the old Welsh churches that were once the pride of this region.

If you had two days, you could drive across the continent to the Andes along Route 25. Starting about 75 km west of Dolovon, the highway enters a river valley with stunning mesas and pinnacles, taken right out of Road Runner cartoons.

David

Olive Branch...
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8. Re: Penguins in Puerto Madryn or Punta Arenas

Thank you, David!

DebraOliveBranch

Orlando, Florida
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9. Re: Penguins in Puerto Madryn or Punta Arenas

Hello,

My wife & I are on the same cruise and are planning on renting a car in Puerto Madryn and driving out to see the penguins. What is you plan?

thanks,

Alberta
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10. Re: Penguins in Puerto Madryn or Punta Arenas

Was the ride a difficult drive? My husband just had hip surgery for a fractured hip and we really want to still go on this excursion. We are healthy active 50 year olds, just clutsy on ice!! lol