Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Penguin Tour to Magdalena Island

In case you missed it, my husband an I traveled to the southern part of Chile last year for a pretty awesome backpacking trip. There were highs... there were lows (get it?) but no matter what I kept my eye on the prize. The prize that was PENGUINS.

Disclaimer- I really had no particular attachment to penguins at the beginning of planning this trip. Actually, I had no attachment at all. I didn't want to kick a penguin, but I also had no intention of ever seeing one in real (aka not the zoo) life. But that all changed for the better. I mean, HELLO, can you look at this face?!?

After our trek in Torres del Paine National Park we took 2 back to back bus rides a bit further north to a town called Punta Arenas. Spoiler alert: the town is charming, but there isn't a whole heck open when you arrive at midnight. We stayed at an adorable bed and breakfast and it literally took me the lure of seeing penguins to get out bed the next morning after too many nights cold in a tent.

We made it to Solo Expediciones tour company with time to spare for our early morning departure to Magdalena Island. After another bus ride (Chilean theme) we got to the water to meet our chariot- also known as a boat small and somewhat scary enough to take us to a teeny island off the coast, with the sea swelling, fog settling, and okay... I fell asleep on the boat ride. I have no idea what happened, but you can ask Andrew. I just assume it was scary.

When we arrived on Magdalena Island, which is protected land so we were the only ones there, it was almost comical to see how many penguins there were... everywhere. 

They are sleek and graceful through the water and you see them puttering around online like they all look like it is one drink past last call and everyone is looking for an Uber. 

The other first impression? It reeked. Smelled of penguin poo- not that I had ever smelled penguin poo before, but it became apparent fairly quickly what it smells like.

The island looked like Mars with little penguin nests buried every so few feet around and suspicious penguins peering out at you. There were also penguins still molting, which looked absolutely adorable.

Then there were the show off penguins. Ones that would prance around squawking at whatever they pleased and generally being adorable.

I was most impressed with how much respect the penguins were given. Yes, humans were on the island, but there were very clearly demarcated areas that you could not cross and if you did the park guards would escort you off the island in a flash. I'm struggling with the same idea about if animal tourism is ethical for our upcoming trip to Thailand, and I feel very comfortable with our decision to visit Magdalena Island. The penguins were charming, dynamic, and were really amazing to see in person. 

My new life goal is for Andrew and I to become these two love birds.

If you haven't guessed it, now I'm a big penguin fan.


  1. I would have stayed there all day just trying to play with them! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  2. ALL OF THE PENGUINS! But I think my favorite part of this post is that I'm now picture drunk penguins looking for an Uber.

  3. ooooh my gosh I can't handle the cuteness! I would want to take them all home with me and live just like Mr Popper's Penguins. Also, I love that the island is called Magdalena Island. I love that name and trying to convince my husband to love it too! haha

  4. Oh my gosh! THis is amazing! I want to book a trip there right now!

  5. penguins!!!! this is amazing; my 7yr old would have flipped out (she loves penguins)