Isla Magdalena picture
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Southern Chilean Patagonia

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Sightseeing Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
4.1scorecard
  • 4.0Value
  • 0.0Food Scene
  • 4.5Atmosphere

Over 120,000 Magellanic penguins flock to Isla Magdalena's Monumento Natural Los Pingüinos. Located about two and a half hours northeast of Punta Arenas by boat, Isla Magdalena features a well-marked trail that visitors can take to follow the path of the penguin colonies. These playful penguins entertain visitors as they call out to one another and strut their stuff along the shore.

While some travelers were dissatisfied with Magdalena's dirty sands and the pungent odor stemming from its fowl dwellers, most were delighted to observe the interactions of its quirky tuxedoed residents. One TripAdvisor exclaims, "Forget all the other penguin sites around [South] America. This is the place. If you cannot go to Antarctica, Isla Magdalena is the closest thing to it."

Organized daytrips to Isla Magdalena from Punta Arenas are relatively easy to come by. But you can only reach Isla Magdalena by boat from December through February; tours are not in operation during the rest of the year. Turismo Comapa offers tours by melinka ferry on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Expect to pay roughly 15,000 CLP (about $30 USD). For more information on schedules and prices, consult Turismo Comapa's official website.

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Southern Chilean Patagonia
Torres del Paine National Park
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#1 Southern Chilean Patagonia

Occupying the southernmost area of the country, Southern Chilean Patagonia (SCP) draws visitors looking to admire the breathtaking landscape. Most visitors flock to Chile's southernmost province—also known as Magallanes (named after 16th-century conquistador Ferdinand Magellan)—to admire Patagonia's breathtaking landscape. From Magallanes' capital city, Punta Arenas, you can journey to Torres del Paine to admire its striking jagged peaks or head to Isla Magdalena to snap photos of thousands of Magellanic penguins scurrying along the shoreline.

Southern Chilean Patagonia is beyond secluded—separated by the Strait of Magellan and two soaring ice caps—but that only adds to its mystique as the gateway to Antarctica. The best way to reach Southern Chilean Patagonia is by plane from Santiago to Punta Arenas. It's also easy to access this region from Southern Argentine Patagonia. Cancha Carrera is a popular border-crossing, located between Torres del Paine and El Calafate (Argentina). Just be sure to acquire a visa before crossing; you can do so at an Argentine consulate in Santiago or before leaving home. For further details on how to navigate Southern Chilean Patagonia, consult our guide to Getting Around Chilean Patagonia.

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