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Very nice trip, only place where you get so close to the penguins. Crew was nice, coffee and cookies were offered. We also were taken to Isla Martha to see the sea lions.
The tour was very good. We had chosen the hotel pick up, the driver was on time and we were comfortably transferred to the agency. After checking in, they transferred us to the pier and the trip started. It lasts for roughly 3hours, we visited the Magdalena island penguins colony and due to the good weather conditions we travelled to the Martha island and saw some sea lions, more penguins and seals. The tour guide was very well informed and answered all our questions. Pretty good information about the penguins year round life and habitat. Very much satisfied!
Overall this was a great trip. Would only be better if there was more time on the island. We had an hour.
We were picked up at our hotel at 6:20 AM, driven 5 blocks to the office. We did some paperwork, then boarded busses at 7AM for a 30 minute drive to the dock. The boat must have left the doc around 8AM. The water was calm so the ride was fine. The boat was comfortable, seemed safe, and the crew was amiable. We had one hour on the island. We went another half hour to Santa Marta Island to see the sea lions, but did not get off the boat for that. Santa Marta Island is about a half hour going away from the dock, so the ride back was about an hour. We were on land around 11AM, and in our hotel at 12:10.
Penguins were everywhere on Magdalena Island. Several people had huge cameras, but they were not necessary since the penguins were often within 10 feet or less of us. You need to stay on the trail, but the penguins cross the trail all the time. If you get too close, they will peck your shoes. Be sure to spend some time watching the penguins as they enter and exit the water - they look pretty silly. We also saw baby sea gulls that were cute.
The sea lions were far away so the views of them on Santa Marta Island were quite distant and not as impressive.
Overall a 5 star rating for the fantastic views of the penguins. A fun and memorable morning.
very interesting, the guides were very well prepared. The ship was more than ok
Seeing the penguins was FABULOUS. You really do get up close and there are THOUSANDS of them. I highly recommend this trip, even if you don't do well on boats. I get sea sick really easy...and I know it, but I wanted to see these penguins. I got sea sick AND saw these beautiful creatures. Well worth it!
Found the tour organisation a little chaotic in terms of knowing which busses to board, where we were going and how to get back. Departure peer is about 30 mins drive from Punta Arenas, crossing conditions can vary from everyone sitting on the boat's roof to everyone being confined indoors, and temperatures can be down to zero. Visit to the penguin island didn't feel long enough, even though walking the loop of the island and light house need only take 15 minutes, we could have done with more than an hour, especially towards the end when the penguins started getting friendly and coming to meet us. The boat then sales slowly around a fur seal island but doesn't stop there before returning to the peer. This activity starts early but is finished by midday, it is however the best thing you're likely to do in Punta Arenas, though it might lead to sea sickness as there's more than an hour of sailing and it can get choppy.
booking through the internet was a breeze with instant confirmation
local pickup was right on time
group size was just right
enthusiastic cruise staff and guide
Ok this is a bit unfair. We were hugely disappointed to learn on the morning of the trip that it was being cancelled because of wind. And they weren't lieing, the wind was incredible. The guide we had gave us an option - money back or visit condors. He was excellent, managing the obvious disappointment in the group. Personally I thought the condors were great though I would still rather have seen the penguins. The question then is, if the same happens to you, is t worth seeing the condors - well I suppose it depends how much you paid for the tour....
The tour itself was great. It seemed a little touristy but once you got to the island you could see why its so popular. The reason it didnt get 4 stars is because the trip was supposed to include a shuttle back to our hotel and once we got back from the island there was no shuttle. They just left us to find a ride back. Luckily our hotel was only about 15 minutes walk but if it was included it should have been delivered.
There is no hotel pick-up at all. The company is terrible. They got everything wrong.
The tour is great. We have never seen so many pigeons in our whole life. The guide is professional and very funny.
Penguins were great to see. Worth it.
However, the organisation was chaotic. The minibuses used to transport you to the tour starting point were VERY poor quality and would not be allowed on the road in western countries heavily rusted sills, cracks across driver's view of road, broken seat belts etc.
On our return journey we got into a bus to be taken back to the town but ended up getting shouted at by an irate driver about something in Spanish, then unceremoniously dumped somewhere in the town without a clue about what just happened. None of the drivers spoke English so we have no idea about what happened or why, other than the driver as very angry at us. Luckily for us we knew our way around the town at that point its tiny so you cant get lost and were able to walk the 20 minutes back to our hotel but it left a VERY sour taste on an otherwise great experience.
The tour itself was very nice and well organiced.
BUT: The price was off the chart. We paid more then double. And its not too overcrowded and therefore Im very dissapointed about that. Ive the feeling you got punished by booking in advance. Thats why I cant really recommand it... sorry!
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