Pinguinero Cabo Virgenes | Tourist Attraction

Staticmap?center= 52.3697811970975, 68.4022266325247&zoom=13&size=1170x250&maptype=roadmap&markers=color:red%7ccolor:red%7clabel:c%7c 52.3697811970975, 68


Last Visited: 19 days ago
GPS: -52.369781, -68.402227
Altitude: 17.0 masl
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PENGUINS. If you want to see penguins, this is your spot. A two hour drive down a gravel road will be handsomely rewarded as you walk down an interpretative path surrounded by hundreds of thousands of waddling and burrowing penguins. A sign says a fee is charged but I was not charged and talked to the ranger some time. Tourist season September-April. Late afternoon/evening visits best for light and activity. Look for pinguinero sign on Highway 3, half hour south of Rio Gallegos, follow the large first road past and through petroleum wells. Super windy, but amazing spot!!


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Nice place but at this time of the year only few pinguin. It's the start of thé pinguin season, we saw 10 pinguins between the sea and the bush. very close. We saw tatoo (armadillo) along the very very long dirt road ti come here.

we sleep here at the parking lot, very quiet.

there is some whales bones at the ranger house (head/skull)

Cool place to see hundreds of penguins. We left our dog tied in the parking lot. Nobody there to charge us the fee.

road was in a good state, less than 2hrs one way. still a long drive. the penguins are adorbs!

Magnifique mais 122 kms de piste avec les 40 derniers à 15 kms/h on aura mis 4h pour les faires avec un motorhome!

If you have respect for your suspension two hours for the 122 km gast. After el condor the road has at least one bump for every pinguïn in the colony. A lot of young birds and busy Traffic from the nests tot the sea. We counted 421.752 birds. Ranger did npt ask entry fee (maybe because we are belgians)

Still 200pp.

The access road is ok the first 60km (good ripio, we drove at 70km/h). The 70km after are really tough : lot of potholes and some washboards.
The road was under construction when we passed, so maybe it will be better now !
After all, it worth it !!!

there was no ranger or anyone so we didn't need to pay. there were quite a lot if nesting penguins in the bushes. follow the sign and walk to the right. it wasn't quite as spectacular as we had hoped but I'm not sure if it's seasonal. I probably would skip the drive here next time unless you MUST see a penguin as the road really is very bad.

I can only reiterate that the road is awful. But it was worth it.

Wanted to add this is open from 8am to 8pm. Hadn’t seen that posted yet. I was here end of Oct and there where plenty of penguins. Arrived at 7pm no rangers and no other people so I didn’t have to pay and had the place all to myself. Lots of penguin roadkill from the entrance to the parking lot
:( please don’t kill Penguins just walk the extra 250m

Shit road but worth it just because we negotiated a 50% discount. It’s 200 pp for foreigners. There’s an estimated 500,000 penguins in this colony. The 2nd largest colony of Magellanic Penguins.

Yes the road is bad - a mix between heavy corrugation and holes on a bone-hard road - but still worth the effort to come here - we needed 3 hours with Toyota Landcruiser. The rangers told us there are now around 400'000 Pingus (adults and chicks). We could camp at the ranger house with good wind protection. They open an intepretive center for the next season, in the meantime you receive two leaflets with infos about the Pingus. Entrance 200 Pesos for Foreigners.

Amazing place, yes road is in bad shape but drive slow and youll be fine.

After paying the park fee, we drove 300 meters to the parking area and on the way there were penguins sleeping in the road. So we now have photos of the bike with penguins, very cool. If you have a car, youll have to drive around them or be patient and wait for them to move.

Then we took a walk around the path surrounded by penguins and we saw a fox hunting them it was very cool.

Penguins not scared of humans really, yes they avoid us but they dont freak out or anything. Very chill birds, I think there is some overreacting in previous posts.

There is a trail where they all come back from the beach and we stood there patiently and after 5-10 minutes a row of 30 penguins walked right in front of us to reach their nests, very cool. We just filmed them and took lots of photos.

We also came to see them the next morning and we confirm that there is much less penguins in the AM because they have gone fishing. So If you cant spend a whole day here better come later when they start coming back from fishing you will see more of them.

We also struck a friendship with one of the guyz working there and after we told him we were going to face the winds in our tent, he let us sleep in the center that is in the process of being renovated.

What a great day!

If you have the time, this park is definite must on your way to Ushuaia.

As amazing as everyone says - well worth the 2hr detour on a crappy road! They *are* charging now, which is probably for the better. 200 pesos/person for foreigners. (And take note of the first review about the directions. The turn off is about 10 miles south of rio gallegos)

UPDATE as of Jan, 25th 2018


We just want to give you guys some important information concerning this (nonetheless) amazing place:

1. Coming from Chile shows the wrong route! Coming from the ‚Austral‘ border (e.g. from Punta Arenas) you have to drive towards Río Gallegos approx. 43km on RN3 before being able to turn right onto Ruta 1 that brings you to the Pengüinero. The road that shows (Ruta 51) does not really exists, it’s a private dirt road.

2. Ruta 1 is the most worst gravel road we’ve ever driven on. At the moment it is in the worst possible shape, because the providence has economic issues and can’t afford to fix it. So please be aware: This road is a .... of a road and the 130km took us 3 1/2 hours with our small 2x4 Mitsubishi Campervan. We met other Overlanders on site with a 4x4 Volkswagen Crafter and they also needed 3 1/2 hours for the drive from the junction with RN3, so just keep that in mind. This road is no fun! (On our way back we encountered a car that broke down because a stone had damaged the gasoline tank) You have to concentrate 100% for most of the 3 1/2 hours on this road, to not blow a tire or get any damages.

3. There is an entry fee to be paid, that supports the foundation in maintaining the Pengüinera. It’s 200 ARG per (extranjero) person. We didn’t have ARG so we paid 7.000 CHP each.

4. We have no idea why they allow it, BUT: From the ranger house where you pay the entrance you can drive up another 300m to a parking spot in the middle of the nesting area of the penguins. PLEASE be kind and park your car by the rangers house and walk the additional 300m, because the penguins are freaking scared of cars and all over the road! You’ll need a walk after the previous hell of a drive anyhow...

5. Don’t bother coming here between end of March and end of October because you won’t see anything! Pinguins migrate during that time..

6. TO BE CLEAR: This is an amazing place! The penguins are all over the place, it’s incredible. You have all the time in the world to walk through the area and during late afternoon the light gets golden and all Pinguins that are in charge of the food come back from the ocean and walk back to their nests.. it’s a spectacle! There are currently 160.000 pairs of penguins and they usually have two babies so do the math, it’s a circus! And they are so cute!!!! So yes, you should go, but maybe you should plan to stay the night over there, to recover from the road and get the energy to drive back the following day. Oh and don’t forget to drive up to the lighthouse. The navals on duty invited us in for mate tea and where the nicest guys. And they have a little museum and confitera up there.

And FYI: Concerning gasoline. We filled up in Rio Gallegos and made it to the Pingüinera and from there to the tiny Copec (Puerto Sara) in Chile on the way to Punta Arenas (closes at 8pm!). We have 400km capacity with a full tank (yeah, we know, it sucks!) and when we arrived at the Copec we were at 396km. Maybe that helps anyone out there. (Started at the big YPF Station in Rio Gallegos)

Enjoy, overlanders! :)

INCREIBLE - 250 km. de ripio bien vale esta pingūenera, miles y miles de parejas. Puede ser un espectáculo poderla visitar a finales de Enero, para ver todos los pichones ya crecidos y en la face de "guardería"

Indeed thousands of penguins, many babies! magic place, you can see them from very close.
However, we were a bit suprised :
- several gaz and petrol plants around, very closed to the penguinery, not sure it's a good environment...
- the path pass two times through the way penguins use to go to the see, and they obviously were afraid of us. moreover, the car park is after a route penguins often cross over, we regretted not to park before, it is better to avoid scary them or worse...
- didn't see any guardaparque, but there is a fee entrance panel and we would have been very unhappy to pay something after this terrible 130km gravel road permanently damaged by big petrol trucks...

Incredible in the evening. So many penguins ! Everywhere and you can be very close. It worth the 130 km of gravel road.
In the morning there is far less penguins.

Amazing spot. It's a long gravel road drive (130 km from Ruta nacional 3) but way worth it. Thousands of penguins in bushes and on the beach. Many babies as they are usually born around November. We were alone with the penguins and it's still free. True end of the world experience.

No penguins end of April. Just a couple orphaned chicks and dozens of dead ones. Sad day.

220,000 pairs and growing. A nice fenced path takes you out through a small portion of the colony and to a nice beach overlook. Oct-Apr penguins should be there. Recommend a late afternoon or evening visit to see penguins returning from sea, congregating on the beach and wobbling back to their partners en masse. More vocal in the evening as well.

Literally thousands of penguins. For all the penguin tours we've paid for this stop was the best to see so many and in such close proximity and it was free. Although I would have happily paid to support this place. It is a long drive but definitely worth it. We camped on a small dirt track beside a closed information centre. There was a small camping sign but the road is becoming overgrown. There is a fair amount of traffic from the refineries.

We can confirm all mentioned below. Perfect spot, thousands of prnguins here. The rangers are super friendly and offered us use of bathroom, hot water, tea, coffee and all around. We were the only guests in pinguineria, the weather was windy, little rain sometimes, but nothing bad. We slept in the car in front of centro de interpretation, whichbis next to rangers house (not office, that is further inside the park, as also mentioned below). Everything s nicely shown on the map at the entrance to the area. We slso tried to drive all the way to the faro punta fungeness, but there is a rafineryin the way and we did not ask to continue and turned back. You cannot go to the beach in the pinguineria, but you csn drive few kmsto area pescas (also clearly marked) and go to the beach there, or cook, or whatever. Very nice around. We were told that during weekend in january, few locals come, but other days it is "only yours here".

As stated, the road is quite bumpy, but we were rewarded with up close views of thousands of penguins! AMAZING! We were here on a weekday- very few people-and the visitor center was closed so we did not pay an entrance fee.

There are several roads leading off from the route to the Pinguinera. We thought the Pescar point was best for camping. Great views of the crashing surf.

The road up to the Argentinian lighthouse and museum was decent. Worth the time to visit, this is also the official start to Ruta 40! There is a small cafe up there as well. Beautiful view of the coastline.

nothing to add to the description before. it s really worth coming. although we have been to punta tombo, capo dos bahias, parque nat. monte leon, and isla de pingüinera before we can recommend this place highly. the parking is already inside the nesting area. however we were asked not to stay overnight here, but in their nearby campingarea.

This is amazing!
Thousands of Magellan penguins around!

PENGUINS. If you want to see penguins, this is your spot. A two hour drive down a gravel road will be handsomely rewarded as you walk down an interpretative path surrounded by waddling and burrowing penguins. No fee when we were here because the info center was closed, but all gates were open. Sign says tourist season September-April. Look for pinguinero sign on Highway 3, half hour south of Rio Gallegos, follow the large first road past and through natural gas refineries. Super windy, but amazing spot!!