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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 - $921

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 2-hr 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 4.5/5 from 16 reviews

As we were nearing the end of the Base of the Towers hike in Torres del Paine, I wasn't sure my legs were going to let me finish the hike. I then looked up and saw a condor soaring above my head. It was awe-inspiring to see this majestic creature against such an incredible backdrop. It was as if the condor was there to encourage me on, my energy spiked and my body was ready to continue to the base. What a magical experience!

Travelled: December 2019

Tracy -

Tierra de Fuego, Torres del Paine national park and Perito Moreno glacier national park are all equally amazing. Can't decide what was better, the condors we saw flying over us?, the king penguins nesting and their sounds?, the puma's roar in Torres tel Paine? or the beautiful bright blue color of the large piece of ice at the lago gray and perito moreno? It is a place of nature at its best. I felt I was living inside a national geographics segment for 2 weeks!!

Travelled: March 2021

Cynthia -

Overall, being able to complete the hike, which was challenging and amazing. But the third day (John Garner pass) was probably the most memorable.

Travelled: December 2022

Carol -

Spending time with a mother puma and her cubs at sunset and sunrise, walking a trail with a puma after the first snowfall of the season

Travelled: April 2022

Maddie -

Going over the John Garner pass with good weather and sunshine on the glacier below

Travelled: December 2022

Anonymous -

It was snowing and hailing the day we did John Gardner Pass. The groups had split into two and I was at the back of the 1st group. I trudged along, just trying to not slow anyone down. I was definitely tired and cold. I remember seeing the group resting and waiting for me to come up over the pass. When I reached them I couldn’t contain my emotions. I burst into tears. It was so unbelievably beautiful. How lucky I was that I was physically able to see this wonder. So many people will never get get the chance to experience this… and I counted my blessings and thanks.

Travelled: December 2022

Cortney -

The sense of accomplishment when we finished our last day of hiking.

Travelled: December 2022

Patrick -

Last very treacherous rocky path without our guide. ( She had to catch her boat)

Travelled: February 2023

Arleene -

finishing the W

Travelled: February 2023

Donnis -

Penguin colony

Travelled: February 2020

Deborah -

First seeing the penguins and chicks

Travelled: April 2022

Jennifer -

crossing the John Gardner pass and seeing the ice field. And the guides Mauricio and Javier, they were amazing.

Travelled: December 2022

Marnie -

Crossing the pass and first seeing the glacier

Travelled: December 2022

Marc -

Fjords and glaciers on the route to Cape Horn

Travelled: November 2022

Bradley D. Keister -

Photographing puma cubs

Travelled: April 2022

Connor -

early morning walk at Patagonia Camp

Travelled: November 2022

Kathryn -


Prices, Departures and Inclusions

Prices for the 2023/24 season are:

4 people: USD $921 per person

3 people: USD $993 per person

2 people: USD $1,208 per person


This trip is available year-round on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays only. 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

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