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King Penguin Encounter

Available as a 2-day trip by ferry, this unique wildlife adventure offers a perfect opportunity to spend time with the most accessible King penguin colony in the world. Cross the Strait of Magellan from Punta Arenas to reach the nesting site of these beautiful birds; your expert naturalist guide will help you discover the fascinating wildlife of Tierra del Fuego.

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King Penguin Encounter

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Trip type

Guided Activity

Trip length

2 Days




Tierra del Fuego

King Penguin Encounter - 2 - $650

Trip Summary and Itinerary Map

Day 1: Cross Strait of Magellan; Useless Bay (Bahía Inutil); Hotel in Porvenir

Day 2: Stromatolite Park; Laguna de Los Cisnes Nature Reserve; Punta Arenas

Start from Punta Arenas and end at Punta Arenas

Landmarks visited on King Penguin Encounter

Operator's Itinerary

Day 1: Cross Strait of Magellan; Useless Bay (Bahía Inutil); Hotel in Porvenir

We'll start our journey with a private transfer from your hotel to the ferry dock at the north of Punta Arenas. At around 9am we'll begin our 2hr crossing of the mythic waters of the Strait of Magellan; these world-famous seaways are very rich in exploration history. Magellan, Drake, Cavendish, Bougainville, Fitz Roy and Darwin, among several other sailors and explorers, surveyed this region, often in extremely harsh and dangerous conditions.

We'll see an interesting array of seabirds, including black-browed albatross, southern giant petrel, southern fulmar, imperial cormorant, dolphin gull and South American tern. We're also highly likely to see interesting marine mammals such as pods of Peale's dolphin and inquisitive South American sea lions.

As soon as we land you will notice that the landscape on this part of Tierra del Fuego is dominated by flat wind-swept steppes, with tussock grasses and low shrubs, and interspersed with rolling hills. After meeting our local guide and driver, we'll stop at the town of Porvenir, visiting a pioneer home, our lovely and cozy hotel, Hosteria Yendegaia. Here we'll have coffee or tea with snacks and will have the opportunity to relax for a short while.

From here we'll drive for approximately 2hrs along the shore of Useless Bay where we can expect to see a huge variety of wildlife including guanaco, southern grey fox, the ubiquitous upland goose, Chilean flamingo and a wide diversity of waterfowl and shorebirds. At sea we might see albatrosses, petrels, gulls and skuas patrolling the choppy waters of the bay.

At King Penguin Park we'll have a short introduction on how best to visit and approach the king penguins. This is a private nature reserve which aims to preserve the small numbers of king penguins that visit the area and even remain here year-round, taking advantage of the excellent feeding opportunities in the surrounding seas. We'll have plenty of opportunity to observe and photograph the penguins from a reasonable distance – the maximum approach distance will be given by the guide and must be respected at all times during your visit.

Meals: Picnic lunch, dinner
Accommodation: Hosteria Yendegaia or similar, in Porvenir

Day 2: Stromatolite Park; Laguna de Los Cisnes Nature Reserve; Punta Arenas

After breakfast, we'll head out to Stromatolite Park. The landscape of this park looks like it dates from the very early days of out planet. We'll also visit the Laguna de Los Cisnes Nature Reserve to spot a wide variety of land and water birds in the lagoons. There might also be cururos, foxes and guanacos in sight.

After lunch we'll board the ferry and sail back across the Strait of Magellan to Punta Arenas.

Meals: Breakfast, picnic lunch

Customer review background image

What our customers think of King Penguin Encounter

King Penguin Encounter trips scored 4.2/5 from 9 reviews

The distances are large and drive times are long. Wear lots of layers! Pack binoculars.

Travelled: April 2022

Jennifer Hitchcox - Virgin Islands (U.S.)

We had a great time on this trip - Paula was an absolute pleasure, and the driver was great, too. We were lucky to have a nice day and many penguins to see.

Travelled: April 2022

Jennifer Hitchcox - Virgin Islands (U.S.)

The penguin encounter was amazing!! Penguins have always been my favorite animal so seeing them in their natural environment in a place that doesn't sensationalize it but respects the colony was really a dream come true.

Travelled: December 2017

Jami & Don - California, USA

The King Penguin tour (many king penguins and their babies - just adorable) and the Birding tour (birds, geese, sea lions, wild horses and dolphins galore) were outstanding. Our guide was outstanding and personable and we saw wildlife beyond what we could have imagined.

Travelled: October 2017

Gail - Florida, USA


Prices, Departures and Inclusions

This trip is available year-round from Saturday to Sunday only. Prices for a full group:

4 people: USD $650 per person

3 people: USD $775 per person

2 people: USD $950 per person

1 person: USD $1,650 per person


A departure can be set up on a date of your choice, subject to availability. Please get in touch for more details.

Additional Notes

Group size – Maximum of four people to minimise the impact we have on the penguin colony.


  • Ferry tickets
  • Meals and naturalist guide services as stated in the itinerary
  • Private ground transportation during the tour
  • Park entrance fees
  • English and Spanish-speaking guide


  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Drinks during lunch or dinner
  • Any extra/optional excursions
  • Personal equipment (see our recommended kit list)
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Gratuities/tips
  • Excess baggage charges
  • International and domestic/in-country flights
  • Any visa, passport and vaccination expenses

Questions about this Trip?