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FarSouthExp @ Fat Birder / WAND

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King Penguins of Tierra del Fuego, Encounters with the Lords of Patagonia © Far South Expeditions

Join us on this unique itinerary to discover the magnificent and awe-inspiring King Penguins of Tierra del Fuego. This tour is suitable for nature enthusiasts as well wildlife photographers of all levels of skills.  

2 options: (A) Full day trip by plane and led by naturalist guide and (B) 2-day trip by ferry, special for serious photographers and people looking for more time in the field with the penguins. Year-round departures from Punta Arenas (Chile).  


King penguins (Aptenodytes patagonica) at the small breeding colony of Bahia Inutil (Useless Bay), Tierra del Fuego, Chile © Claudio F. Vidal, Far South Expeditions

 

Book this trip,  reserve space now!Among wildlife, few groups call our attention as much as birds, and among birds, few families are as attractive and command such interest as penguins. The King Penguin is the second largest species of penguin after the Emperor, and certainly one of the most colourful and attractive members of the group. 

Not many places in the world offer good access and chances to see them in the wild, making this, the only continental American breeding colony, a very special one indeed. By joining our penguin photo journey, you will be able to see these magnificent seabirds in their natural habitat and learn about their natural history from our specialized guide. The journey starts at Punta Arenas, the capital of the Magallanes province, one of the southernmost cities in the world and gateway to the mythical Tierra del Fuego Island. From here we take a 15-minute flight across the Straits of Magellan to Porvenir and then drive along the beautiful coast of Tierra del Fuego to Bahía Inútil (Useless Bay) and the mouth of Marazzi River, where the colony is located. 

 

King penguins (Aptenodytes patagonica) at the small breeding colony of Bahia Inutil (Useless Bay), Tierra del Fuego, Chile © Enrique Couve, Far South Expeditions

 

 

Up to date, the colony is over a hundred strong and expected to keep growing. The King Penguin colony on Useless Bay, Tierra del Fuego, seems to be doing well so far into the autumn (June 2016), with more than fifteen wooly brown healthy chicks that in many cases have already reached the stature of their parents, and seem to be well-grown. The non-breeding penguins have gathered in a nearby group some 20 meters further inland.

 

The history of this particular colony is quite interesting; there are archaeological sites in the area with remains of human settlements dating from more than 6,000 years ago in which bones of King Penguin have been found both as prey and tools, proving that this colony was already here in prehistoric times. However, the colony was unknown-of for centuries, as it probably moved somewhere else due to the arrival of European man, hunting and sheep farming. It wasn’t until some ten years ago that penguins started re-occupying the area, increasing in numbers year after year and starting to court and breed again.

 

Our trips have a maximum of 6 participants and we follow a strict protocol regarding proximity and potential disturbance, essential to keep the impact on the small colony that we visit to a minimum. 

 

• Check out our recent article with some updated background on the King Penguin colony at Tierra del Fuego. Click here

Watch our King Penguin video here.

 

OVERVIEW

Overview

 

Trip Highlights

• Visit the world's most accessible place to see King Penguins in the wild.

• This particular expedition to Tierra del Fuego offers fantastic opportunities for penguin, wildlife and landscape photography.

• In-depth natural history and cultural exploration of Tierra del Fuego, one of the world's most famous landmarks.

• Cross the mythic waters of the Straits of Magellan, by plane and discover the dramatic and complex geography of this region as well as its rich history of exploration. 

• Experience great birding opportunities in the shores of the Straits of Magellan, the windswept steppe and marshes of the islands; you will discover a wealth of specialties and range-restricted Patagonian birdlife.

• See interesting mammals such as Guanaco, Peale's Dolphin and South American Sea Lion.

 

These trips are operated on request with a minimum of 1 participant and a maximum group size of 6 guests. Larger parties can be accommodated on request, and is likely that the group can be split in order to minimize the impact on the colony.

 

King penguins (Aptenodytes patagonica) at the small breeding colony of Bahia Inutil (Useless Bay), Tierra del Fuego, Chile © Enrique Couve, Far South Expeditions

 

The Difference of Traveling with Far South  Expeditions

• Spacious vehicles that guarantee a window seat to each trip participant.

• Each vehicle and driver we use has been authorized by the Chilean Transportation Authority.

• The service and expertise of a professional local naturalist leader, who will look after every logistical aspect of your holiday.

• Our guide will carry a top-quality spotting scope and tripod in order to enhance the viewing opportunities of our guests.

• A useful pre-departure information package.

 

King Penguins of Tierra del Fuego can be combined with one of the following optional extensions:

Torres del Paine Explorer (2 to 5-day itineraries); join one of our private photo safari and natural history trips to Patagonia's premier mountain and wildlife destination.

 

BY PLANE

Detailed Itinerary and Activities


Option A: Full day trip (8-10 hours) by plane and led by naturalist guide; available year-round from Tuesday through Friday.


On this option, we leave Punta Arenas on the earliest flight (8.15am) and fly back to Punta Arenas on the afternoon (5.20pm). Duration of the flight approximately 12 minutes. Availability for this option is limited, so booking in advance is recommended.

 

King penguins (Aptenodytes patagonica) at the small breeding colony of Bahia Inutil (Useless Bay), Tierra del Fuego, Chile © Enrique Couve, Far South Expeditions


We start our journey with a transfer from your hotel to the Punta Arenas airport; from here we will take an early flight to the town of Porvenir, in Chilean Tierra Del Fuego Island. This is a short but truly scenic 15-minute flight over the mythic waters of the Straits of Magellan. We will appreciate the incredible glacial action recorded in the last 12,000 years, which has carved these famous seaways as well as the coasts of both the mainland and the huge island of Tierra del Fuego. From the plane we will see the distant peaks of the Andes, located in the southern part of the island, and the huge embayment called Bahia Inútil (Useless Bay).

 

King penguins (Aptenodytes patagonica) at the small breeding colony of Bahia Inutil (Useless Bay), Tierra del Fuego, Chile © Enrique Couve, Far South Expeditions


As soon as we land you will realize that the vegetation of this part of Tierra del Fuego is dominated by flat wind-swept steppes, with tussock grasses and low shrubs, and interspersed with rolling hills. After meeting your local guide and driver, we will stop at the town of Porvenir, visiting a pioneer home, our lovely and cozy hotel, Hosteria Yendegaia; here we will have coffee or tea, snacks, and will have the opportunity to relax for a short while.Immediately we will be driving for approximately two hours along the shores of Bahia Inutil (Useless Bay), where we expect to see a great array of wildlife including Guanaco, Southern Grey Fox, the ubiquitous Upland Goose, Chilean Flamingo and a great diversity of waterfowl and shorebirds. At sea we may see albatrosses, petrels, gulls and skuas patrolling the turbulent waters of the bay.

 

King penguins (Aptenodytes patagonica) at the small breeding colony of Bahia Inutil (Useless Bay), Tierra del Fuego, Chile © Claudio F. Vidal, Far South Expeditions


At 'Parque Pingüino Rey' we will have a short introduction on how to visit and approach the King Penguins. This is a private nature reserve which aims to preserve the small numbers of the 'Kings' that visit the area and even remain year-round here, taking advantage of the excellent feeding conditions of the surrounding seas. We will have ample opportunities to observe and photograph the penguins from a reasonable distance (maximum approach distance will be given by the guide and must be respected at all times during your visit).

After this great wildlife experience, we will return to Porvenir to take our flight back to Punta Arenas. (Picnic-Lunch) (Guide)

 

BY FERRY

Detailed Itinerary and Activities


Option B: 2-day trip by ferry, special for serious photographers and people looking for more field time with the penguins; available year-round only from Saturday to Sunday.

Includes two visits to the colony of Useless Bay at different times each day (for photographic considerations).

 

 

Day 1 • Ferry to Porvenir, Tierra del Fuego – Afternoon visit to the King penguin colony of Useless Bay

We will start our journey with a private transfer from your hotel to the ferry docks located at the northern end of Punta Arenas. At approximately 9 am, we will begin our 2-hour crossing through the mythic waters of the Straits of Magellan; these world-famous seaways are very rich in terms of history of exploration. Magellan, Drake, Cavendish, Bougainville, Fitz Roy and Darwin, among several other sailors and explorers, surveyed this region, most of the times, in really harsh and dangerous conditions.

You will see an interesting array of seabirds, including Black-browed Albatross, Southern Giant Petrel, Southern Fulmar, Imperial Cormorant, Dolphin Gull and South American Tern. It is very likely to see interesting marine mammals such as pods of Peale's Dolphin and inquisitive South American Sea Lion.

As soon as we land you will realize that the vegetation of this part of Tierra del Fuego is dominated by flat windswept steppes and rolling hills, with tussock grass and low shrubs. After meeting your local guide and driver, we will stop at the town of Porvenir, visiting a pioneer home, our lovely and cozy hotel, Yendegaia House; here we will have coffee or tea, snacks, and will have the opportunity to relax for a short while.

Immediately we will be driving for approximately two hours along the shores of Bahia Inutil (Useless Bay), where we expect to see a great array of wildlife including Guanaco, Southern Grey Fox, the ubiquitous Upland Goose, Chilean Flamingo and a diversity of waterfowl. At sea we may see albatrosses, petrels, gulls and skuas patrolling the turbulent waters of the bay.

Parque Pingüino Rey is a private nature reserve that aims to preserve the only known continental King Penguin colony. We will have ample opportunities to observe and photograph the penguins from a reasonable distance (maximum approach distance will be given by the guide and must be respected at all times during your visit).

Overnight at Yendegaia House or similar, Porvenir (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) (Guide).

 

 

Day 2 • Morning visit to Useless Bay  Drive to Punta Arenas

We will have the unusual chance of visiting the penguin breeding colony again during the morning, in order to enjoy of other light conditions (sunrise from the east). This is a great opportuniy and an appealing one for serious nature photographers and people looking for more field time with the penguins. Most of the regular penguin tours spend merely 1 (up to 2 hours) in the colony and we will enjoy of more private time watching and documenting these incredible and colorful seabirds. After lunch we will be heading back to Punta Arenas by ferry.

(Breakfast, Lunch) (Guide).

 

MAP

Trip Map

King Penguins of Tierra del Fuego | Expedition map © Fantastico Sur Expeditions, Chile

RATES

Rates for 2016/2017 Departures

Updated: June 13, 2016


Option A: Full private day tour (8-10 hours) by plane

This trip is operated on request with a minimum of 1 participant and a maximum group size of 6 guests. Larger parties can be accommodated on request, and is likely that the group can be split in order to minimize the impact on the penguin behaviour.

Available year-round from Tuesday through Friday.

We leave Punta Arenas on the earliest flight (8.15am) and fly back to Punta Arenas on the afternoon (5.20pm). The duration of the flight is approximately 15 minutes. 

NOTE: Availability is limited thus we recommend to book fairly in advance.

 

King Penguins of Tierra del Fuego 
Trip Code TDF01a
No. of guests 2 3 4 5 6
Price per person $472 $435 $367 $326 $298

 

The price includes / excludes

The above prices are per person in US Dollars. All payments are in US Dollars.  

The trip price includes: Domestic flight tickets, packed lunches and naturalist guide services as stated in the itinerary, private ground transportation during the tour, and park entrance fees. 

The trip price excludes: Tipping, travel insurance, excess baggage charges, à la carte dishes, drinks, laundry, telephone calls and anything else of a purely personal nature. 

 

 

Option B: 2-day private trip by ferry

This trip is operated on request with a minimum of 1 participant and a maximum group size of 6 guests. Larger parties can be accommodated on request, and is likely that the group can be split in order to minimize the impact on the penguin behaviour.

Available year-round; available only from Saturday to Sunday.

 

King Penguins of Tierra del Fuego 
Trip Code TDF01b
No. of guests 2 3 4+ Single Suppl.
Price per person $699 $605 $510 $50

 

The trip price includes / excludes

The above prices are per person in US Dollars. All payments are in US Dollars.

The trip price includes: Ferry fares, meals and naturalist guide services as stated in the itinerary, private ground transportation during the tour, and park entrance fees.

The trip price excludes: Tipping, travel insurance, excess baggage charges, à la carte dishes, drinks, laundry, telephone calls and anything else of a purely personal nature.

 

FACTS

Facts on the King Penguin


Penguins of Patagonia and Antarctic Peninsula by Enrique Couve and Claudio F. Vidal © Fantastico Sur ExpeditionsKing Penguin | Pingüino Rey | Aptenodytes patagonicus


Excerpts from the book 'Penguins of Patagonia and Antarctic Peninsula' by Enrique Couve & Claudio F. Vidal.

 

Length: From 33.5 to 37.5 inches (85-95 cm) • Weight: From 20.5 to 38 lbs. (9.3-17.3 kg).


Distribution: A sub-Antarctic circumpolar resident present between 45 and 55 degrees S. Nests at South Georgia Island (400,000 pairs), Falkland Islands (app. 500 pairs) and a small colony at South Sandwich Islands. Its world population is estimated between 1.6 and 2.2 million pairs. It is an uncommon visitor, although recently more frequent along the Atlantic coast of South America,the Straits of Magellan and Tierra del Fuego.


Breeding: It settles its colonies in flat, ice-free coastal areas. Monogamous, although thye fidelity between pairs is less than in other penguins. It breeds from November onwards. It has an exceptionally long reproductive cycle (14 to 16 months), breeding up to twice every three years, being an unique strategy among penguins. Those couples who manage to raise a chick, generally fail in breeding again in the immediately following season. Its only egg is incubated for a period of approximately 55 days. Both parents continue rearing the chick  for nearly 50 weeks. At five weeks of age, they are grouped in 'creches', which allows both parents to feed at sea simulateneously. The chick will reach its maximum weight in April, but during the winter, it will experience a long fasting period of several months; again it will recover weight from September to October, and will fledge between November and December. Juveniles will reach their sexual maturity between 3 and 4 years, although they will reproduce the first time only between 5 and 8 years of age.


Diet: Feeds on small lanternfish and squid that it captures by means of long and deep pursuit-dives. It can remain submerged for nearly 10 minutes and dives up to 650 feet (200 m) deep; occasionally up to 1,000 feet (320 m). 

 

GALLERY

Photo Gallery

 

Check out our photo gallery with images from recent 'King Penguins of Tierra del Fuego' tours


 

BOOK NOW

 

Tour Registration

To book this tour, please complete our online registration form. We will process your booking form and will send you (within 24 hours) a note with space confirmation and a deposit invoice with payment instructions. The deposit amount is $150 per person. Full payment of the tour fee is due 60 days prior to tour departure.

NOTE: Inquires received on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays will be replied during the following working day.

 

Cancellation Policy

Notice of cancellation can only be accepted IN WRITING from the person who signed the booking form and takes effect on the day such noticed is received by us.

Refunds are made according to the following schedule:

- If cancellation is made 60 days or more before departure date, the deposit less US$ 100 is refundable.

- If cancellation is made fewer than 59 days before departure date, no refund is available.

This policy and fee schedule also applies to pre-trip and post trip extensions, as well as any transfers from one tour to another. We strongly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation insurance to protect yourself.

 

 
Regions and Destinations Interests  
     
Patagonia Tours Birding Tours Adventure Cruising
Torres del Paine NP
Tierra del Fuego
Wildlife & Nature Journeys
Puma-tracking
Perito Moreno Glacier
Cape Horn
Photography Tours
Mammal Tours
Chalten / Mt. Fitz Roy

Day Tours
Whale Watching
Chile Tours Cultural Tours Wildflowers
Atacama Desert Altiplano Wine Tours
Lake District Central Chile
Easter Island Robinson Crusoe Island
Chiloé Island
Antarctica & Southern Ocean
Antarctic Peninsula Falklands / Malvinas
South Georgia Island
Peru Tours
Machu Picchu Amazon
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