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“three different kinds of penguins!”
Review of Pira Tour

Pira Tour
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: With Piratour travel you can make your dream trip in Ushuaia! you can visit the Beagle Channel, walk among penguins, enjoy breathtaking trekkings around the area, 4x4 experience, and much more... Explore Patagonia with us.
Reviewed January 21, 2013

The dang penguins are SO cute and yes this tour is expensive when you 1st look at the Pira website, but when you see these cuties up close and personal, it is so worth it. I booked the tour online with Pira and since they don't have a secure online payment thing I decided not to give out my credit card info. They were ok with that and asked me to pay when we get to Ushuaia the day before our tour. Since it was Christmas Day, they decided to close early, but they did call my hotel to say that it is ok and we can pay the day of tour at the pier, nice! They have an office on the main street (San Martin) and a tourist office where the tour meets by the pier. We took the 8am tour and yes the bus ride is a bit long, but wasn't a big deal. We stopped a couple of times to get some pictures of landscape and get some fresh air because that bumpy ride can make you nauseous. There's a bathroom right before you go on the boat to go to the penguin island. USE IT because there's no bathroom on the island. The boat ride is short but you do spend about a bit over an hour on the island, so dress warm, it can get chilly and rainy. It was such a treat to see the penguins in their natural environment. They're not afraid and we walked fairly close to them (no touching of course) and most of them Magellanic, with some Gentoo mixed in there, and a couple of King penguins. An hour on the island went by all too quickly. Afterwards we went to the Whale Museum (it was ok) and got a little tour of the place. Then same long bus ride back to Ushuaia (I think most of the people were asleep on the bus on the way back). All in all a great tour and bring your cameras!

We got back to town around 2:30pm or so and went to Moustacchio (on San Martin) for a late lunch. They have the most delicious lamb dish and they give you a lot so we didn't have to eat dinner that night :D

1  Thank silly_traveler_hiker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 17, 2013

We took a cruise that passed through Ushuaia and our ship did not offer a tour of this penguin rookery (although it did visit one, Isla Magdelena, at Punta Arenas later on, so there is another option). Pira Tours was great, our guide Anita/Ana was AWESOME. The only reason for not giving it the full five stars was the long bus ride (90 minutes each way) to get to the boat. Luckily the boat ride was only 10 minutes. We were really uncertain what to wear, but think that what Pira Tour recommends was fine for January - windbreaker, layers, hat, scarf, gloves, walking/hiking shoes. No shoes you would want to keep really clean. Most of that is for the wind on the water. We did not find waterproof pants necessary, but that's because it didn't rain that day! Nice 55 degrees.

The penguins were very cute and the babies were molting, which was really interesting. They don't do much - they're so used to humans that they mostly ignore, unless you move quickly, in which case they run away. So don't expect any up close and personal experiences with the penguins.

The big treat was that although this is primarily a Magellan penguin colony (and one other variety I hadn't heard of), they now have 3 King penguins! This is pretty unusual and the owners and guides are really hoping a colony of them set up shop permanently. The King penguins tower over the others quite remarkably.

3  Thank Dulcinea10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 15, 2013

Allows you to walk in a large penguin rookery! Right through it! The tour is set up by wildlife specialists and very sensitive to the issue of disturbing the rookery. Our guide was great, Her enthusiasm and knowledge made everyone an ornithologist for the afternoon. We saw 3 species of penguin, a king crab, several wild beaches; the whale museum at the estanica is also fantastic.

1  Thank GFFBoston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 11, 2013

This is an experience not to be missed- really it's not often ( or ever) you get to sit down and just observe penguins ( some just next to you ) and incredible views and the vastness of the Patagonian landscape. Pira Tour is reasonably priced and well organized. We opted for the drive by van /bus to Estancia Haberton and boat over to Penguin Island because we did not think our kids would enjoy the long boat tour ( we have 4 kids and 2 are young and the long boat tour would be very tiring for them ) . Ana our tour guide was informative, funny, in tune to the needs of all and really made the day fabulous.....my only complaint was the van/bus that transported us to the Estancia and back ....IT WAS HORRIBLE. Now I will willing admit I do not like bumpy, curvy roads and am easily stressed when traveling in this type of situation BUT I did talk to my husband after and while he felt the driver drove well he did agree that the van was in horrible condition -one of the seats was attached to the side of the van with a piece of wood and nails- the driver did not drive dangerously but he did not drive with the comfort of the passengers in mind and the van itself was such that it was uncomfortable and disconcerting . An investment in better equipment would make for a comfortable and complete experience for clients. If you go expect a great day but be ready for a bumpy and unpleasant ride ( 1 hour 30 minutes each way) .

3  Thank AnitaUNC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 11, 2013

We were at the penguin island trip with Pira Tour. They are the only agency which actually takes you to see the penguins at the island. The guide knew a lot, and the whole trip was very interesting. We also went to see the maritime museum with a guide - I can also really recommend spending a while in there.

Remember to wear warm enough clothing when going to the island, it will be cold any time of the year. With warm clothing, you can really enjoy everything.

1  Thank zillertal_fi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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