How to Reach: I took a shared cab from my hostel to Tres Puentes and booked my ticket there
Cost: Chilean Peso 40,000 (US $60)
Time: 1600 Hrs to 2100 Hrs (4 hours in total on the ship and 1 hour on the island)
*The Ship has a toilet and is big enough for you to not be seasick easily
I don’t indulge in any activity that’s centered around birds/animals but I went here after reading that it does not revolve around torturing the penguins.
I had never seen penguins before and didn’t even know what was a Magellanic penguin. Expectedly, I was super excited to see them. Also, I didn’t think I was going to get an opportunity to see penguins anywhere else on my trip. In hindsight, I really did not get a similar opportunity again.
The tour costs Chilean peso 40,000 (Rs. 4000). It’s a standard price. No scope for negotiations. There are two tour options, One starts in the morning and is like an entire day thing (It’s to another island) and the other starts in the afternoon and is for 4 hours including the journey time. I opted for the latter because of 1. A friend of mine was joining me and he wanted to go for the afternoon one 2. Like my friend, I was also too tired of an entire day of hitchhiking from Ushuaia and wanted to take the morning off.
You can book the tickets in advance to ensure your seat on the ship. My friend and I bought the tickets at the dock and were fine. The boat ride is around two hours on each side. It was pretty exciting though as we also got to see some whales from distance and then move around in the boat itself. First, we sat outside, then we went in to get some warmth. You get about 1 hour on the island which is just about enough to walk around the entire trail and click sufficient pictures but a little less in case you want to sit there and stare at nothing for hours (something I really enjoy doing).
My first reaction upon setting foot on the island was ‘They are this tiny?’. I had expected the penguins to be much bigger. Magellanic penguin is the smallest of the three kinds of penguins.
I was very skeptical before going as I find zoos very depressing. This was thankfully a very different experience. The island is the colony of Magellanic Penguin and they have a right of way, tourists get only an hour on the island and are not supposed to walk outside the designated path, touch the penguins, or just barge into their lives. Penguins didn’t seem to mind the human presence and were crossing way quite freely. It was a delight to watch that human beings have not tried to push their dominance on this island.
Also, on this afternoon tour, you get to see Magellanic penguin that is much smaller. On the day trip, you get to see sea lions and king penguins which are much bigger.