Argentina travel blog by Mark Berman -
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In the heart of the Patagonia is a hidden gem with a well-kept secret - Puerto Deseado, the penguin capital of South America! Located off
the main route south (route 3) out to the east 2hrs from Fitz Roy, Puerto Deseado (a port town) is often overlooked by travelers. Puerto
Deseado is surrounded by a beautiful area of coast with a lot of nature to enjoy with the highlight being the wildlife on Penguin Island.
Coastal Road & Sights
In Puerto Deseado there is a coastal road you can drive (or walk) along and see remote beaches, caves, rock formations and wildlife like
birds, flamingos, penguins and armadillos. Visit Lions Beach, Lions Cave, Lions Rock, Cavendish Point, Foca Point and many other points
of interest on this drive. There are also great views of the area at many positions along the road.
Penguin Island Boat Excursion
The great Penguin Island excursion
in Puerto Deseado is a fantastic and unbeatable experience! If you are a fan of penguins, then this is the place to come and see them up
close and personal. Not only penguins, but also seals, sea lions, birds and large fish. Penguin Island (Isla Pinguino) is around 20kms
south-east of Puerto Deseado. The cost for the boat excursion is around $80-$100USD depending on whether you pay by cash or by card.
Penacho Port (Puerto Penacho) in the bay of Puerto Deseado is where the boat excursion to Penguin Island leaves from on Saturdays (you
need to check if they go on other days, possibly they do at peak season). In the morning of the tour, in the bay around Penacho Port you
are likely to see dolphins and the tonina overa, a large black and white fish. They like to play and swim with the boats. It takes just
50mins to an hour to reach Penguin Island from Puerto Deseado. The view of the iconic clock tower in the city is good from the boat as
you head out. After a very fun ride out to the island you will be greeted with the sight of the lighthouse at the top and then you will
see hundreds of sea lions and seals on the front beach, penguins on the rocks and the white rocks. From here the guide will lead you
around the island and you will get to see 2 different species of penguins, both with very different personalities. The island is a lot of
fun to walk around but you have to be very careful not to stand on the nesting wildlife sometimes. That's how close you can get. I'm sure the
rules will be changed in the future and there will be less freedom. Amazing views of the terrain, island and coastline at every angle! On
the other side of the island live the 2nd variety of penguin found here and there are absolutely thousands! They are not scared of humans
at all and don't seem to mind a few people sitting on the rocks watching them. We spent quite some time walking around Penguin Island,
watching penguins and also had a food break. Watch out for that big green escua bird and their nests. If you get too close they will dive
at you! As you leave Penguin Island, you will pass islands packed with seals, this is the place where they breed. It's quite a sight to
see all their faces together in a bunch all wondering who we were! From here a group of tonina overa fish may follow the boat for some distance back to Puerto Deseado. Enjoy!