Penguins Martillo Island

Awesomeness! That’s what you can expect when walking with the penguins on Martillo Island in Argentina. I mean they’re adorable, little penguins! Haha. In all seriousness, though, I wasn’t entirely sure myself what to expect when I booked this adventure. I knew I was going to be close enough to see penguins, but that was about the extent of it… and everyone said it was an absolute must if I was going to Ushuaia, Argentina.

So, hopefully after reading this post you’ll be a little more prepared than I was for walking with the Penguins on Martillo Island.

What Exactly Are You Going to See on Martillo Island?

Martillo Island is home to an incredible colony of Gentoo and Magellanic penguins between September and April. There are around 1,000 nests there! Check out the video above to see just how many penguins are there…or at the very least, to see penguins waddling around. There’s seriously nothing better than watching penguins waddle, haha.

And if you’re lucky, you might get some other visitors as well! Check out the sea lions we saw just from standing on the shore in the video below.

We were especially lucky the day we went and saw two “tourists” visiting Martillo Island. There were two King Penguins who stopped by that day! (They look really similar to Emperor Penguins!)

King Penguins, Martillo Island

2 of these are not like the others…Can you spot the King Penguins? πŸ˜‰

How Close Can You Get to the Penguins?

REALLY close. We were told to stay 3 large steps away from the penguins. But sometimes penguins would brush right past you on their way over to their friends. I couldn’t believe how close you can get to them.

You can get really close to the penguins!

How Do You Get to the Penguins on Martillo Island?

This is another case where you have to book a tour, and the only way you’re doing it is with the one tour company that has access to the island – Piratour. Now, booking directly with Piratour could potentially save you some money. When I booked, I didn’t realize Piratour was “the” tour company for this, and booked through Viator. Piratour does not list their prices online, so you’ll have to email them to see what they say. And all the prices I was seeing online from other tour sites for this tour were about the same, so I went with what I knew (and that’s good ole Viator). Click here for Piratour, and click here for Viator.

Martillo Island Penguins

Penguins Martillo Island

There were a lot of nests along the walkways!

Once again, the reason for the one tour company is to keep the penguins and their habitat safe. You’ll only be in a group of 20. You have the option to go in the morning or the afternoon. (There are only two tours per day…to not overwhelm the penguins.)

You’ll take a bus from the tourist dock in Ushuaia (within walking distance of most hotels/hostels in Ushuaia)…this bus ride took a little over 1 hour. Then, you’ll take about a 15-minute boat ride to Martillo Island. You’ll spend about 1 hour walking with the penguins with a tour guide, who will quietly point out fun facts about the penguins, show you where they are nesting and make sure everyone is being safe. (You’ll be reminded to not make any loud noises, so you don’t scare the little guys.) At the end, you get to head up to Harberton Farm for coffee and sweets and then head just down the road to the Marine Mammals and Sea Birds Museum. (It was a very interesting tour!)

*But bring cash! You have to pay a small entrance fee to get into the farm and the coffee and sweets are not included.

Martillo Island Penguins

How Do You Dress for Martillo Island?

It’s pretty chilly, but if you’re out of the wind it’s not terrible. So, dress in layers. Bring a coat, sweatshirt, hat, thick socks, scarf, mittens and sunglasses. We wore our hiking boots, but that really wasn’t necessary. It’s all gravel paths on the island that you stay on. The boots were nice for a little extra warmth, though.

Penguins Martillo Island

Penguins Martillo Island


Is It Worth It?

Absolutely! This was a rather pricey tour, but given that you were only with a group of 20 or less, it felt very private. Plus, you can get SO close to the penguins. It was incredible! The farm and museum stops were nice as well.

If you missed it, click here for Piratour, and click here for Viator.

Penguins Martillo Island

What are your thoughts on Martillo Island? Would you add walking with the penguins here to your bucket list? Let me know in the comments!

*Click here to see all my travel posts on Argentina!

And check out more photos of the adenture, below!

martillo island penguins

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*c/o = courtesy of, meaning the company gave me the product to be used on my blog, and I did not pay for it. All opinions are my own, and I am not being compensated for a positive review.

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28 thoughts on “What to Expect When Walking With the Penguins on Martillo Island, Argentina

  1. awayfromtheblue

    Oh wow that looks amazing! it’s great you could get so close to them. I’ve been to the penguin walk on Phillip island, but there’s always a fence separating you from the penguins and as it’s at night you can’t use cameras as the flash upsets the penguins. I wish I could have taken photos like this! πŸ™‚

    Hope you are having a great weekend πŸ™‚ We are having the perfect weather – warm and sunny in the morning, then cooler in the afternoon and evenings when the storms roll in. We spent time by the pool yesterday morning!

    Away From The Blue Blog

    Reply

  2. Lorna

    That looks and sounds seriously AMAZING! Having seen penguins in real life, but never wild, I can imagine how good that was. I saw seals wild though on a boat, but I was so sea sick that I couldn’t manage to see them properly lol.

    Raindrops of Sapphire

    Reply

  3. Karo

    <3 I am totally crazy about this post- I love penguins and possibility to seeing them in natural environment is awesome. So many stunning pictures dear xx

    Reply

  4. Laura Vaughn

    This is so amazing!!! I love penguins. I’d love to visit this place. It super far from me, it would take a lot of hours of flight, but I swear it’d be worth it!

    Reply

  5. Courtney Byers

    Oh my goodness how neat! I didn’t realize you could get so close to them. I LOVE penguins they are precious. I want to do this.

    Reply

  6. Becci Abroad

    Wow WOOOOOW! There are so many!!! Completely new bucket list item (bad thing Argentina is so expensive to travel in…).

    I saw penguins on Peninsula Valdes in Patagonia, which was also awesome but there weren’t as many as here! Uhh! At Peninsula Valdes, we went swimming with sea lions, thus, and woooow, that was by far my favorite experience there! They are really cute too! If you get a chance to try swimming with sea lions, DO it πŸ˜€

    Besitos

    Reply

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