A Great Day To Visit Magdalena Island For Penguins
It was a great day to visit Magdalena Island for penguins on our day in Punta Arenas, Chile. We were intrigued with how many penguins we saw when we visited Bluff Cove Lagoon when we visited to the Falkland Islands. So we could not pass on another penguin experience in this port.
When we docked in Punta Arenas, the morning was grey and wet. Our Oceania Cruises ship was docked at the commercial port and we required a shuttle to town. So we passed on seeing town on our own.
The sky was a bit lighter when we finally boarded our buses. As the catamaran moved out into the bay, stretches of blue sky showed up. By the time we got to Magdalena Island for penguins on our day in Punta Arenas, the sun was shining. It was the perfect day to visit with the penguins.
A Short Drive Through Town
Even though we were just going down the shore, our bus gave us a short drive through the town of Punta Arenas. We were intrigued with the colourful tile work and murals we saw along the way.
The bus finally arrived at the dock and we saw the Fiordos Del Sur catamaran. It was time for our visit to Magdalena Island for penguins.
Heading Out To Magdelena Island
Three busloads from our ship were packed into the catamaran. The crew gave us a safety briefing. And everyone was required to remain inside when the ship was in the bay.
As we headed out, the weather got better and better. So we were delighted when we finally were allowed out on deck. As the catamaran went past, we caught sight of playful dolphins and lazy sea lions.
We enjoyed the catamaran trip out to Magdalena Island.
Magellanic Penguins Greeted Us On Magdalena Island
We got our first view of Los Pinguinos National Monument on Magdalena Island as we pulled up. Magdalena Island was an uninhabited island located in the Strait of Magellan. It appeared that there was a limit on how many could be on the island at one time. Another tour boat floated just offshore.
We had our first penguin encounter on our cruise around South America when we visited the Bluff Cove Lagoon on our visit to the Falkland Islands. On that trip we saw both Gentoo and King Penguins. On this excursion we saw the Magellanic penguins. We were excited when we learned Magdalena Island was home to 350,000 Magellanic penguins.
Magellanic penguins were named by the explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1520. These were medium sized penguins with black backs and white abdomens. We saw many with a small but noticeable region of pink flesh on the face. They typically lived about 25 years. Large flocks settled in September and stayed into late February and March for breeding.
When we visited, many of the penguins showed definite signs of molting. The penguins experienced what scientists called a “catastrophic molt” that makes them look like a down pillow exploded. It takes them a couple of weeks to regain their plumes. While they are molting, they can’t swim or hunt!
We were certainly excited as we approached the island to see these interesting Magellanic penguins.
We Wandered Around Magdalena Island For Penguins
The catamaran pulled up right to the rocky beach and a ramp was put down from the bow. We exited and soon found penguins approach to check out the new arrivals. We moved along the path around the island. Barriers kept the people back from the penguins.
High up on the hill was saw the Faro Isla Magdalena lighthouse. This lighthouse became operational in 1902 and was used by Chile’s Navy to guard the coast. During the 1950’s the lighthouse was automated and is no longer manned. The building was used by the people who manage the penguin reserve.
As we walked around the island we got great views out over the vast open areas. And everywhere we looked we saw groups of the penguins on Magdalena Island.
Penguins All Around Magdalena Island
As we walked along the shore, we saw groups of penguins close to the water. But we did not see any in the water fishing for their food.
We climbed the hill towards the lighthouse. Penguins were all over the grass area. And in many spots, we saw them dug into holes.
The molting penguins drew our attention. We saw various stages of molting over the head and bodies of the Magellanic penguins. At that time we did not know they were waiting to resume normal life after their new plumage appeared!
We moved around the site at a fairly leisurely pace. It left us lots of time to stop and we enjoyed Magdalena Island for penguins.
Glad We Visited Magdalena Island For Penguins From Punta Arenas Chile
We were so glad we visited Magdalena Island for penguins. It was fun to see a very different kind of penguin on this stop. We loved the variety of outdoor adventures we got as we cruised through the Chilean Fjords. Our next stop was a visit to the stunning Orsono Volcano.
Did you Magdalena Island for Penguins from Punta Arenas Chile? Where else did you find penguins in Chile?
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I would absolutely love this day trip to Magdalena Island! I’m shocked by how many they are. You got some amazing pictures. I have not experienced a catamaran pulling up the rocky and putting down a ramp. What a great memory, I have destination envy right now!
This was indeed an amazing memory for us. We loved this chance to see so many penguins as we wandered. A fun day!
Such an inspiring post and glorious photos! I couldn’t take my eyes off those beautiful penguins and would love to visit this island!
Magdalena Island was a lovely spot to find so many penguins.
Ah, you beat me to Magdalena Island! We visited Patagonia back in 2018 and wanted to see Magdalena Island as well. Unfortunately, we arrived in Punta Arenas in May, which was a little too late for the penguins. We were told they moved farther south, so we gave up going on the island. I’ve got some pretty good pictures of the penguins!
We were indeed very happy we visited Magdalena Island at the right time. A great day trip from Punta Arenas.
It’s interesting to learn that the Magellanic penguins were named by the explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1520. What a sight it would be to see them waddling about, they are such funny birds that you can’t help but get a smile on your face when you see them. It would be hard to put down the camera and just watch them. Sounds like a great memory for you.
The penguins sure did make us smile. Such a great day trip in Chile.
Ooh, those molted penguins look cute. This is the first that I am learning so much about penguins and the molting conditions. And then there is the orgin of their name – did not know that they were named after the explorer. I loved this article Linda – learned so much about one of my favorite creatures.
We could not get enough of the penguins on our visit to South America. This was a great day trip with so many fun little penguins to see.
This would be my dream! I’d love to see any penguins in their natural habitat but it’s a long way for me! Your photos are so great and they capture their personalities so well. It’s on my bucket list!
I hope you do get to visit Chile one day and get to see these cute penguins. A great day trip to Magdalena Island on our trip.
O we would love this trip to Magdalena as it seems so fascinating. Probably more so because of the opportunity to be around with the penguins, one of the most beautiful creatures on earth. Your fantastic photographs as always makes me wait for your blogs. They give a true feel of being there.
I am glad you enjoyed our penguin photos. It was hard to pick just a few to showcase these cute birds!
I can only imagine how wonderful it would be to see the penguins in their natural environment. Unfortunately my only experience is frequently visiting the Penguin Encounter at SeaWorld in San Diego, which is a dismal substitution. Even the adventure of getting to Magdalena Island sounds fun!
We did love the whole excursion to Magdalena Island. Having seen so many penguins in the wild on this trip, we definitely won’t be looking for them at SeaWorld.
Very beautiful post on the Magellanic penguins on the Magdalena Island. Now you have known three different types of penguins King, Gentoo and Magellanic.
It’s amazing to watch these creatures from a distance thier stride being so much similar to humans adding to their incredible cuteness. Also you were lucky vto see them molting and greeting you as you landed on the island.
We were indeed happy we got to see yet another type of penguin when we visited Magdalena Island. So much fun to wander around them and watch their antics.
Happy for you Linda??
What a cute little adventure! I must add this to my list – thank you for sharing!
I hope you do get to visit this part of Chile one day. The penguins were delightful. A great day trip.
Chile would be an amazing place to visit and such a unique experience. How neat that you were able to see so many penguins!
It was amazing how many penguins we saw. We were glad we got there at the right time.
Penguins are such funny animals and I would love, love, love to do a trip to Magdalena island to watch them. Great that you had ample time to stroll around and take a lot of pictures. We also saw Magellanic penguins in Chile, but not that many at one place.
Magdalena Island was a real treat on our visit to Chile. More penguins than we expected for sure.
What a dream! I would absolutely love to see the penguins at Magdalena Island. This looks like such a fun and interesting experience. I need to visit Chile so I can do this, what a great adventure!
Chile is definitely a great destination for your travel wish list. Hope you get to visit Chile and explore Magdalena Island.
We haven’t had the chance to see penguins like this up close and personal in real life. But it’s something that we’re definitely dreaming of experiencing. Also going to Chile! We had no idea there were even penguins there so we learned something new about the world through this guide of Magdalena island.
I hope you do get to plan a visit to Chile. We were so amazed with all we saw. And the penguins were such a treat at Magdalena Island.
Oh wow! This island looks like so much fun! And so much wildlife as well to admire! I love penguins because they are funny and cute. Would definitely love to see it. Thanks for sharing!
The penguins were definitely a treat when we visited Magdalena Island from Punta Arenas in Chile.
Great pictures! I can’t believe how many penguins there are!! That looks like a great day trip.
It was so great to see so many penguins all in one place. Glad we planned this excursion.
Oh I absolutely love this, I am hoping to visit punta arenas before I head to do the W trek at the end of the year. This makes me really excited for my trip and thank you for sharing this.
I hope you do get to visit Punta Arenas when you get to South America. We got just a taste test but this was a great stop in Patagonia Chile.
This looks like such a unique island to be able to visit with all of the penguins in their natural habitat. This is going on my bucket list for sure!
Magdalena Island was a real treat as a day trip from Punta Arenas in Chile. The number of penguins we saw was truly amazing.
This sounds like such a great day trip. I love penguins and it always amazes me how many different types of penguins there are
We were so glad we saw so many penguins and different types on our visit to South America. A real treat to see the in person.
What an incredible experience! My partner is crazy about penguins so this would be his dream come true! The molying penguins are absolutely adorabel – they’re so fluffy! I’d love to see them in person one day! Thanks for the great guide!
I hope that you and your partner get to have this amazing penguin experience one day. I have to agree about how cute the fluffy ones were!
What a fantastic day trip! Wish I had ventured further south when I was in Chile. Would have been worth it just to see the penguins!
There is so much to see in Chile. We were glad to have this penguin experience on Magdalena Island.
I love the images of the penguins. They are so cute, and your description of them “molting” is definitely spot on. I would enjoy a day trip to see the penguins, and that’s saying a lot for me. I am terrified of everything, but they look so darn cute :-).
It was great to wander around the penguins. There was a border that kept us back from the penguins. But not the penguins from us. But most of the time they just sat and looked adorable!
How fun that you were able to get so close to the penguins and were able to add to the species you’ve seen. Your photos are terrific.
Thanks for the feedback on the photos. This was a great spot to settle in and catch the penguins as they moved about.
350,000 penguins! What a fabulous day-trip experience to visit Magdalena Island and check out the penguins in Punta Arenas, Chile.
Our day trip to Magdalena Island was one of the highlights of our trip for sure!
How exciting to see so many cute penguins! And that you have had the chance to see different types on your travels. I’d never heard of molting but that’s interesting that they can’t do much in that period of waiting. I hope to visit one day!
It was fun to see them with they were all fuzzy and molting. So much to learn about these guys.
Chile is absolutely on our list of “must go.” I saw penguins in the Galapagos, but sometimes I still can’t get over seeing them out the artic. I guess misconceptions are slow to die. Great photos!
We were delighted with how many different times we saw penguins on our trip to South America. A real treat for sure.
Wow what a fantastic experience. I’ve not been to Chile yet but when I do I would love to go to this island. Bless the penguins with their “catastrophic molt”! I assume they don’t have any predators as I’m sure having to stop doing a lot of things during the molt could leave them very vulnerable? But very cute too 😉
The molting penguins sure were adorable. Awesome to see so many on Magdalena Island when we visited. We sure loved finding the penguins in several spots on this trip.
Sounds like Magdalena Island is amazing place to see wildlife, not just penguins! Looks like the penguins do steal the show though 🙂
The penguins were such fun entertainment as we strolled amongst them on Magdalena Island!
My sister lived here for 2 years, and she loved the penguins! I really regret not being able to visit her while she lived there. Hoping she will take me someday!
Too bad you didn’t get to visit Magdalena Island when your sister lived in this part of Chile. It was a real treat for us.
Penguins are such wonderful characters, I’m glad they gave you a good time!
The penguins sure did give us a fun time!
Fascinating! Such an interesting excursion and to see penguins in their natural habitat. They certainly did not object to being photographed. I can see myself enjoying an experience like this.
We loved the chance to see so many at the same time and to wander and watch them play. A fun experience for sure.
I have never seen penguins in the wild, but am sure even if I had I would see them a second time… and tenth. They do look like exploded pillows.
We were sure glad we got to see penguins so many times on our visit to South America. But the fluffy ones sure caught our eye on this visit.
This is absolutely amazing!!! I love penguins so much and would love to visit them in their natural habitat. I have only had the chance to get a closer encounter with penguins in the Atlanta Aquarium, but this would be so much better! Love all of your experiences – they are always so unique!
It was a great day seeing all the penguins on Magdalena Island in Chile. One that is for the travel wish list for sure!
Squeeee this must have been soooo fun! I love that you get to wander off to the open spaces and meet the penguins without being in a giant crowd. You must have been smiling from ear to ear!! 😀
We were indeed smiling from ear to ear. Those penguins just made us laugh!
What a great and fascinating trip! Its now on my travel wish list. Thanks for the inspiration.
You won’t regret putting Chile on your travel wish list. An awesome spot for penguins and more.
Those penguins certainly look happy about their new feathers. It’s great that you got to see different types of penguin in the destinations you visited. Ellie & I only ever saw penguins in the zoo so far.
I hope one day you get to see penguins in the wild. It was so fun to watch them for hours. And great indeed to see so many different kinds on our trip to South America.