Punta Tombo is by far the largest single colony of penguins on the continent, with a population of more than half a million birds; it is also one of the most commercialized. The noise from these black-and-white Magellanic penguins is immense; it’s quite an experience to wander around this scrubland avian metropolis amid a cacophony of braying, surrounded on all sides by waddling, tottering birds. The penguins nest behind the stony beach in scrapes underneath the bushes, with a close eye on approaching strangers. Get too close and they’ll indicate their displeasure by hissing or bobbing their heads from side to side like a dashboard dog – respect these warning signals, and remember that a penguin can inflict a good deal of pain with its sharp bill.

Late November to January is probably the best time to visit, as there are plenty of young chicks. The penguins are most active in the morning and early evening; tour agencies run morning trips from Trelew, allowing around one and a half hours with the birds. The nearby countryside is an excellent place to see terrestrial wildlife, such as guanacos, choiques, skunks, armadillos and maras.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Argentina features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Beyond steak: how to order like a local in Buenos Aires

Beyond steak: how to order like a local in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is often associated with steaks, but they are far from the most common cut served up in the parrillas (meat restaurants) of Argentina's capital. …

20 Apr 2016 • Daniel Neilson insert_drive_file Article
15 things everyone learns backpacking South America

15 things everyone learns backpacking South America

South America has become a favoured destination for the intrepid backpacker, and while it’s impressive in the astounding diversity of its nations, there are a…

02 Mar 2016 • Steph Dyson insert_drive_file Article
Why Córdoba is Argentina’s most underrated region

Why Córdoba is Argentina’s most underrated region

Although long popular with Argentine tourists, Córdoba Province receives few foreign visitors, despite being one of the most diverse parts of the country. This…

24 Feb 2016 • Shafik Meghji insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month