Interested in visiting King Penguin Park? You can closely observe these magnificent birds in Tierra del Fuego, either on a day excursion or as an overnight trip. You’ll pass through the small town of Porvenir to reach the King penguin colony in Bahía Inutil (Useless Bay).
King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus)
Standing up to one meter tall, these are one of the two largest extant penguin species. King penguins range (in few and remote colonies) from Argentine Patagonia to South Georgia Island. King penguins are also known locally as “Patagonian penguins.”
King penguins occasionally breed and nest in the same sites as the much smaller Gentoo penguins. As the King penguin breeding cycle takes longer than a year, a King penguin couple is capable of producing up to two chicks every three years.
The itinerary for the day trip to King Penguin Park generally follows this plan:
- Navigate through the Strait of Magellan—8 AM departure by private car to embark the ferry to Porvenir (Tierra del Fuego). Begin your tour navigating across the Strait of Magellan, where the waters of the Pacific Ocean meet the waters of the Atlantic. After two hours, arrive at Porvenir Island.
- Visit the Fernando Cordero Rusque Museum—Continue by private transportation to the Fernando Cordero Rusque Museum. Here you will find samples of fauna, the pioneering cinema in Chile, the gold mining, and a collection of archaeology and ethnography of the Selknam, ancient inhabitants of the territory.
- Cross the Useless Bay—On the way, you can see various birds, sheep ranches, and herds of guanacos, a South American camelid related to the llama and the alpaca.
- King Penguin Island—After about 70 miles of route, you will arrive at the King Penguin Park, where a permanent colony of this species resides, the largest in size after the emperor penguin.
- Back to Punta Arenas—Afterwards you will leave the park in the direction of Primera Angostura, the narrowest point of the strait only 3 miles wide. There you will cross back to the mainland in a ferry that takes approximately 20 minutes, after which you will be taken by route, approximately 124 miles until you reach Punta Arenas at approximately 7 PM.
Total time on King Penguin Island during the day trip itinerary is usually around two hours.
The itinerary for the overnight trip to King Penguin Park follows this plan:
- Full day King Penguin Park Program—First day of the program is carried out in the same way as the day trip program.
- Overnight in Estancia Caleta Josefina—Dinner at Estancia Caleta Josefina with local products. Finish the evening with a presentation of the colonization process of Tierra del Fuego before you go to rest.
- Back to Punta Arenas—Morning departure in the direction of Primera Angostura, the narrowest point of the strait of only 3 miles wide. There you will cross back to the mainland in a ferry that takes approximately 20 minutes, after which you will be taken by route, approximately 124 miles until you reach Punta Arenas.
*Program may vary according to ferry availability to the strait crossing
When to visit?
King Penguin Park is open year-round, with the exception of Mondays, Christmas, New Year, and some national holidays.
The peak season is October to April when cruises to Chile are in operation and temperatures reach the mid-50s.
What to bring?
Weather in Patagonia is very unpredictable, as is the case in many mountainous regions with varied terrain. It is not uncommon to experience sunshine, wind, rain, and even snow on a single day, even if traveling during the summer months (December to February). To experience and enjoy this natural paradise to the fullest, come well prepared.
The key is to add layers of clothing for cold weather and remove layers if the day gets warmer or your body temperature rises. It is also recommendable to wear a hat or cap, sun block, and comfortable shoes.
For more information, you can check our Patagonia Packing List.
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