Penguins in South America
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Antarctica Cruises

Penguins in South America

4 min read

Oct 16, 2015


By Marci Koltonuk

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Last updated on December 23rd, 2020 at 03:54 pm

Are there penguins in South America?

Yes! There are a lot of penguins in South America. When travelers hear, “wildlife in South America” it often conjures images of parrots, monkeys, and piranhas in the Amazon, wild alpacas roaming the deserts of Chile, and giant tortoises and iguanas in the Galapagos Islands. Though, for many travelers, a trip to South America isn’t complete without getting close to some adorable penguins. And contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to travel to Antarctica to see them.

Where are the penguins in South America?

From November to March, right after the young have hatched, penguins spend their time onshore with their fuzzy babies. There are plenty of colonies where you can actually walk right alongside these curious, charismatic creatures while learning about local preservation efforts to protect them.

Penguins in Patagonia 

Magellanic Penguins in South America

Magellanic-Penguins on rookery

From the southernmost tip of the continent in both Chilean and Argentine Patagonia, you have the opportunity to get up close and personal with the indigenous Magellanic penguins. From Punta Arenas in Chile Patagonia, you can take a Patagonia cruise to Isla Magdalena to see South American Penguins.

While exploring Ushuaia, Argentina, sail the Beagle Channel to Isla Martillo – on both of these islands you can disembark and spend about an hour waddling around with the hundreds of thousands of penguins. Read more about our Patagonia Wildlife Cruise

Rockhopper Penguin in South America

penguins on rock island

Go on a short 4-day excursion through Puerto Deseado for a Patagonia Bird watching tour to see South American Penguins!  Here you can see the silly-looking Rockhopper penguin, distinguished by their long bright yellow eyebrow.  The Rockhopper Penguins are the smallest of the crested penguins.  Some people call them the “Bobo Bird Jumper” because they move around by jumping.

Every year from late October through April, they visit the coast of Puerto Deseado in Santa Cruz.  Get up close and personal with the penguin colony and be sure to take plenty of photos.  Be prepared to see about 30 thousand Rockhopper and Magellanic penguins raising their young in the Penguin Island Provincial Reserve. Read more about our Patagonia Bird Watching Tour

Penguins in Chile

Baby penguins sitting in nest

Humboldt Penguin in South America

A little further north off the coast of the Peninsula Valdes in Argentina, there is another huge colony of over 1 million penguins at Punta Tombo. Further north, near the Chile Lake District you can visit the mythical, traditional Chiloe Island, where you can see the endangered Humboldt penguin living alongside Magellanic penguins. Even further north, about 300 miles past Santiago, is the Humboldt Penguin National Reserve.

A boat ride through crystal clear, bright blue water will take you to a cluster of three small islands, where along with sea lions and dolphins, you will spot penguins playing along with the rocky shore (but you won’t be able to walk near them onshore here). Only one island here, Isla Damas, allows visitors to walk on the white sands, where you can also snorkel or hike to the highest point of the island for expansive views. Your journey to see South American Penguins awaits! Read more about our Wildlife Tours in Peninsula Valdes

Penguins in the Galapagos

On a Galapagos Island cruise, you can spot the only penguin that lives in tropical climates. If you swim or snorkel off of these islands, you may even see a penguin right in the water with you. This is the only place in the world where you can swim in warm water with a penguin in a bathing suit instead of in frigid waters with a wetsuit. Read more about our Galapagos Islands Cruises

Penguins in Antarctica

Emperor Penguins on beach

Emperor Penguins in South America

For the ultimate Penguin experience, considering going on a cruise to Antarctica and visiting the South Shetland Islands.  This is a haven for wildlife, filled with penguin rookeries and beaches covered with the Antarctic fur seals.  Explore the most remote continent on the planet and discover wildlife like never before.  In Antarctica, you can see Emperor Penguins, Gentoo Penguins, Chinstrap Penguins, Adelie Penguins, and Macaroni Penguins. Read more about our Antarctica Cruises

Start planning your trip to see the Penguins in South America!

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Last updated on December 23rd, 2020 at 03:54 pm

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