When I think of penguins I imagine a cold and snowy habitat, like Antarctica, with lots of slippery ice for the cute little penguinos and their pals to play on. It’s fun to be a penguin! Imagine how surprised we were to learn that penguins also live in the desert region of Patagonia. Given that 80% of Patagonia is actually comprised of the desert steppe I shouldn’t really have been surprised by this information, but it was still a mental adjustment to see it in person.
With an incredibly knowledgeable English-speaking guide named Faubion leading the way, we drove south of Puerto Madryn to Punta Tombo where the largest colony of Magellanic penguins in South America live. After a dusty, dry and visually mundane two hour drive through the desert, seeing the Atlantic Ocean in all its blue glory was a welcome site.
A well-designed wooden path wound its way for several kilometers across the barren land lending great views of the penguins and their habitat. There were thousands of penguins! Many of them were hanging out right next to, or underneath, the path so we were able to really see them and study their movements (or lack thereof). Such funny little creatures! Watching them walk was incredibly entertaining, and hearing a few yelling matches regarding territory was pretty amazing, too.
In addition to seeing thousands of penguins we were also lucky to see other wildlife as well. There were a number of birds in the area but seeing a rhea (a member of the ostrich family) was definitely the most remarkable. Guanacos are related to camels and it was really awesome seeing a bunch of them walking around coexisting with the penguins.
At first I yelled at Harry for stepping in front of my camera, but then I gave him a high-five when I saw what a great photo he inadvertently created.
We truly had an incredible day chilling with the penguinos! They are amazing little guys, that’s for sure.