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Penguin Island (Isla Yecapasela) Tours

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Penguin Island (Isla Yecapasela)
Penguin Island (Isla Yecapasela) is home to the only penguin rookery in continental Argentina and the only colony accessible from Ushuaia. Walk this nature reserve’s trail on Estancia Harberton for a chance to see some of the 3,000 pairs of Magellanic penguins, 16 pairs of gentoo penguins, and 155 pairs of rock cormorants.

The Basics
Penguin Island (Isla Yecapasela) is one of the prime wildlife viewing opportunities from the town of Ushuaia. Join a guided tour for the best way to see the penguins. Boats sail from Ushuaia to the island; some then make the return trip to the city, while others continue to Estancia Harberton, where tours groups visit the historic homestead. For an opportunity to get closer to the penguins, look for a tour that allows you to walk on a designated trail among the penguins, accompanied by a guide. Book well in advance to secure a spot on one of these limited tours.

Things to Know Before You Go
  • Penguin Island (Isla Yecapasela) is a must-see for animal lovers and families.
  • Don’t forget to bring your camera, as the birds make for an excellent photo op.
  • Dress in warm layers, as temperatures can be chilly out on the water.
  • Some boat tours are accessible to wheelchairs; be sure to inquire before booking.
How to Get There
Penguin Island (Isla Yecapasela) is on Isla Yecapasela at Estancia Harberton, 52 miles (84 kilometers) east of Ushuaia, 40 nautical miles by sea. The best way to get there is on a boat tour.

When to Get There

Penguins begin to show up on the island for breeding season around early October, and by early April they’ve left for their migration north.

History of Penguin Island
Penguins haven’t been the only animals to live on this island. The reserve once was used by the Haberton estate for sheep and cattle grazing. These livestock animals were removed in the 1960s, allowing the penguins to resettle. With abundant food and few natural predators in the area, the colony has thrived.
Address: Argentina
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