Penguins on Isla Martillo

What better way to finish off my time in Patagonia than with a visit to an island inhabited by penguins?

Travelling by bus for an hour from central Ushuaia, our trip began with a short stop to observe some of these Dr. Seuss-like trees. The winds in Ushuaia are so strong that the trees have even taken shape to how the winds have blown. It was really like they were straight out of a fairy tale!

Windswept Dr. Seuss-like trees

After the short stop, we arrived at our first destination: a marine biology museum. Here we looked at skeletons of marine life in the area and learnt a bit about them.

Whale bones lie on the grass

Shortly after, it was time to hop on the boat and head over to Isla Martillo where we would encounter an entire colony of penguins! As we got off the boat, we were welcomed by a lone King penguin and a few other Gentoo penguins. The only ones we saw of their kind on the island.

L: A Gentoo penguin basking in the sun | R: A King penguin grooming itself

The penguin party that “greeted” us off the boat

L: My favourite penguin on the day – this one had so much character! R: A Magellanic penguin

When it was time to move on from admiring the King and Gentoo penguins, we were soon faced with a colony of Magellanic penguins. Magellanic penguins are the main species found on the private island of Martillo and I was blown away by just how many there were – I definitely didn’t expect to see that many!

A glimpse at the colony of Magellanic penguins

Walking through a guided path, we got to see into the daily life of these penguins. Many were sleeping, nesting, grooming and just hanging out however, we did also get to see some playing/fighting/bantering (I couldn’t tell the difference)!

It looked like these guys were fighting, but who knows what they were up to!

A visit to Isla Martillo is an absolute must if you find yourself in Ushuaia. Getting to see penguins in their natural habitat was something very special and not an opportunity that often comes by.

If you do happen to visit, please do remember to respect the penguins and their home. Keep your distance – after all, we were lucky to even have been able to set foot on their home!