Punta Arenas Penguin Reserve Excursion Reviews
We were told that the schools of fish that the penguins depend on have been moving away from the area. So, there were only about 2 dozen Magellan penguins on the beach 30-ish feet away that you see through a 4 inch hole in a hide that is wide enough for about 8 people. You have to walk for a kilometer or so to get there on a rough path built on thin planks set about an inch apart. It is cold and windy. If you're lucky you might see a couple of penguins trying to make their way to the ocean though the shrubbery. There are better places to see penguins, but if this is your only chance then take it.
Visited Otway Sound penguin reserve and saw hundreds of Magellan penguins both on the beach and in the vegetation around the beach area. The commentary offered by the guide was interesting, but in retrospect you could save money by hiring a taxi outside the port to visit the area independently. After the tour we walked around the town which was small and safe with a handicraft market in the main square and some pleasant cafes.
All the penguins at the Otway Sound Penguin Colony are gone by March. If you are going that late, do not book any penguin excursion.
Three of us went on this shore excursion. It involved a short bus ride to the ferry and a 2 hour ferry ride each way to Magdalena Island. A snack and lunch pack was provided with 2 sandwiches, chocolate bar, cereal bar, large bottle of water and a large juice pak. Magdalena Island was covered with Magellan penguins. We were told there were 200,000 penguins. Even on the ferry you were extremely close to the penguins. We had seen the Magellan penguins at Volunteer Point though. So, while I got some great pictures, having been to the Falklands, it would have been better to save the money. This shore excursion was also sold out.
The Otaway Penguin tour was more interesting... the guide provided more of the area history and identified wildlife, including rheas and upland geese. There were only a small number of penguins, but we were able to observe them on the beach, in the water and in their burrows.