One of the biggest highlights of Patagonia is the chance to visit a real penguin colony and watch penguins in their natural environment.
The only penguin colony on the Peninsula Valdes itself is on the a stretch between Punta Norte and Punta Delgada. Instead of that colony, most penguin watching tours focus on area around Trelew, and Punta Tombo in particular, which is home to the world's largest Magellanic penguin colony; close to one million are estimated penguins come here to roost on an annual basis. Punto Tombo Article - (External Link)
There are penguin watch tours that start out in both Puerto Madryn and Trelew, although the Trelew is the better option because of its proximity to the colonies. The best time to visit is between October and March, when these flightless birds are found throughout the seacoast.
Entrance fees to any reserves visited are not included in the tour prices, which can range from US$25-$75, depending on the extras desired. Tours starting out from Trelew generally head straight for Punta Tombo and usually offer a visit to the Welsh villages in the Chubut Valley as well. It is possible to add on a trip to Peninsula Valdes, but this is best done with a guide from Puerto Madryn.
Almost all guides also offer tailored tours, allowing visitors great flexibility in terms of agendas. Depending on the number of people taking the tour, these can range from a few hours to a week in duration. Most tours will run the better part of a day.
In many cases, staying at a coastal estancia also means an opportunity to see penguins without a guide or agency. Many of these ranches are located quite near the penguins' breeding grounds.
Peninsula Valdes Lodgings: Estancias
Trelew Penguin Watch Tour Agencies
In Trelew, Calon Huilli, Nieve Mar, Patagonia Grandes Espacios and Southern Cross are the best-known tour agencies for penguin sighting. These and others also offer inland trips specializing in estancia tourism, paleontology and wildlife.
Calon Huilli Tours - (External Link)
Nieve Mar Tours - (External Link)
Southern Cross Tours - (External Link)
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