I mentioned this once or twice (or very much possibly more) before that I really like peguins. Whenever possible I look for them on my travels, but often do not have much luck. Those of you, who read my blog on regular basis my remember the post I wrote on searching for penguins in Chile and fails attempts of finding them. From the cold and windy land of Patagonia to the desert of Atacama i tried and tried and nothing. So many fruitless trips I did in Chile to spot those funny birds. One cold afternoon however on my way to Ushuaia I was so priviliged to see the king penguins in Tierra del Fuego. Recently on my trip to Chiloé, the moment I heard that there is a place to see Humboldt and Magellanes penguins, I decided that it must be my first and main activity on the island.
We drove to Chiloé from Bariloche as part of our road trip around the lake region of Chile and the Bariloche area in Argentina. After a few hours of driving and a trouble-free ferry trip we finally arrived to Ancud in the evening. After checking into the most peculiar B&B decorated with figuers of Santa Claus in all possible shapes, colours and sizes (the owner had a thing for little figures, especially Santas and had probably hundreds of them) we gather all the information on how to get to the place for penguin tours.
Next morning after quick breakfast with Santas staring at us, we impatiently started the short drive to Pingüinera Puñihuil. At the entrance to the beach we got spotted by someone from a boat tour company trying to get us join a tour that was leaving in a few minutes. We went to the office and singed up for a tour to see the penguins and whales.
They had 3 tour options:
- Penguin tour ($CL 7.000)
- Whale watching tour.
- Penguin and whale watching tour ($CL 10.000).
We took the tour with Huaihuen III. They leave daily at:
I would recommend to arrive for the early tour as it sometimes depends on weather conditions if they are able to work, so if you leave it till the end of the day you might get disappointed. Moreover seeing whales is not always possible, but they check if any whales have been spotted that day or not, so the chances are higher for tourists to see them too.
Little tip: In Ancud there are offers to take tourists to the place, from which you can take the boat for $CL 15.000 + the cost of the boat trip. It is a good alternative if you don’t want to rent a car.
How to get to Pingüinera Puñihuil by car:
- Pingüinera Puñihuil is located in the nirthern part of the island, 28 km from Ancud.
- To get there by bus you will need to take the road W-20 (the road Lechagua).
- After around 12 km you need to take the road W-220, which does not have alphalt, but it is easy to drive on.
- You’ll get to a beach where you can park the car and hire a boat to three little islands where the penguins live.
The tours are short and last less than an hour, but it is enough to get totally amazed. The place is really pretty and even clouds and a little bit of rain add some charm. To be honest I did not care much about wind, rain or big bumbs. I sole and only concern was: will I be able to see penguins today?! Soon after we started the tour the sky turned blue, which must have meant a good sign (so I told myself).
We all were taken to the boat in a small cage on wheels, which was quite funny. Great idea I though! The waves were calm at the beginning quickly showing us their power. Splashing salty water was sparkling on us causing some laughs and happy screams. We did not know that soon we would be exposed to an incredible experience that many people I know dream of: spotting a whale showing off just a few meters away from our tiny boat. What a magnificient creatures they are! I really wanted to capture this moment as much as possible on the camera, but at the same time I prefered to have a rich experience and strong memories. It resulted in no many photos or videos and the ones that I somehow managed to take are not of the best quality. And I don’t really care and I hope you all can forgive me this little oversight.
I enjoyed the company of this pretty whale a lot! I wish it was up to me to stay there a bit longer wathcing it from a distance. The next stop was a little island where the penguins stay when they are not hunting for food. We spotted many of them in the water, but they incredibly funny on land. So cute and clumsy trying to get on and off. We did not come to close not to disturb them and it was fascinating to watch them. I was one happy girl that day!
See also: 12 cool things to do in Atacama.
Sometimes it is easy to stop for a second and enjoy the moment, especially in digital era we live in. I would to invite you all to put your phones and cameras away sometimes during your travels and let yourselves to be soaked in the experience. I know very well the urge to take hundreds photos and videos that later I can share with my friends, family and you, lovely readers. At the same time, however I travel for the experience. There were times that I was so occupied by taking photos that I was missing out on my travels. It had to stop and remembering from time to time to put the camera away can be key to so many deep and meaningful memories and experiences. I’d like to invite you all to try and see the positive change.
Thank you for visiting. I’d like to know what are your travel dreams? Do you prefer nature or cities? Whatever is your preference I wish you all happy travels!
P.S. Contiki has some cool offers to travel in Latin America, so if you are planning to go, it might be interesting for you to look.
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