King penguins in Chile

Chile Wildlife

Where to see King penguins in Chile

I openly admit that I am a penguin addict. In fact, it’s on my bucket list to see every species of penguin in the world. So far it’s three species, Little (or Blue) Penguins in Australia, Galápagos Penguins and of course, the King Penguins in Chile. It’s not a challenge I’m planning on doing quickly. Wildlife experiences are there to be enjoyed at any time of life, but it doesn’t hurt to start planning your penguins encounters sooner!

Over Christmas and New year holidays, I’d booked a trip to Patagonia with Tucan Travel. Spending 3 weeks travelling around Chile and Argentina. The main reason I had selected this tour over other companies was that it included a penguin stop in the itinerary. You have to know where your priorities are!!

King Penguins in Chile

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For someone who really loves penguins an encounter in the wild with King Penguins was one of my highlights of my trip. There’s something about their comedy clumsiness on land that puts a huge smile on my face. And then to see them glide through the water (I was lucky enough to snorkel with a penguin in the Galapagos Islands). It is an amazing thing to see with your own eyes. And I know I’m not alone.

Day 1 during our tour welcome meeting, we were told the Magellanic penguins we were due to visit was no longer an option. But, we had an option B. To drive an extra long day and visit a King penguin colony. Everyone in the group agreed. And I was even more excited…. King Penguins, I was going to see King Penguins!!!

arriving to see King penguins in Chile

After a really long drive. I can’t remember how long as I fell asleep, but it was several hours we arrived at Parque Pinguino Rey (King Penguin Park). I’m not sure what I expected but it was a small area with a few cabins and toilet. Anyway, I was here to see King penguins, not the facilities!

I patiently listened to the briefing talk. Then we were split into two groups to watch the penguins at two different places. The main colony and the beach.

As I was walking down the path it was important to keep really quiet and move slowly so as not to alarm them. I vividly remember walking closer towards them and inside I wanted to break into a run, but that’s a big NO! I managed to keep calm enough until I reached the colony.

So many king penguins!

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Our group went to the main colony first where the King penguins were hanging out, doing not a lot to be fair!! There were over 50, I couldn’t believe my eyes, I never expected to see that many. They were grouped close together and you could actually see them balancing eggs on their feet. It was amazing. There’s a barrier in place so you can get pretty close to them but not so close as to disturb them. Which for me is so important, the last thing you want is people frightening them.

After seeing so many I didn’t think it could get any better. But when I swapped to go to the beach, the penguins seemed to be putting on a real show.

Walking up out of the sea, three penguins caught my attention. They followed each other up until for some reason the one in front stopped suddenly and the other two crashed into him. It was like something out of a comedy sketch like they didn’t have any brakes top stop themselves.

As well as those three, there were numerous King Penguins lying on their tummies, scratching their wings and generally being pretty awesome. As we were part of a group and still had to drive to Tierra del Fuego. After an hour it was time to leave. I genuinely could have stayed and watched them all day.  Looking at the photos takes me back to that moment in an instant so for me it was totally worth the visit.

You might like  15 awesome wildlife experiences

Why chose Parque Pingüino Rey in chile?

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Parque Pingüino Rey in Chile gives you an amazing chance to get up close with these beautiful birds in their own habitat.

However, they, more importantly, promote the protection of the penguins and conservation of the area.

Now if you’ve done your research you might have read reviews on Trip Advisor that say you don’t get close enough to the King penguins. But for me, it’s more important not to disturb wildlife that is in its own environment. Treat yourself to a good camera instead!

The only downside is that the park is a considerable drive. But for a penguin lover like me it was all worth it. Plus I wasn’t driving ha ha!

For detailed directions how to get to the park. Click here

top tips for visiting king penguins in Chile

  • Enjoy the experience – it’s great to capture the moment but it’s not all about the photos.
  • However, if you do want to take photos I would recommend a zoom lens.
  • Visit the main colony but remember to pop and visit the beach – this is where all the action is happening!
  • Binoculars would be handy if you want to see them closer.
  • Remember not to disturb the penguins, keep quiet as you don’t want to spoil the experience for anyone that’s visiting.

Do you want to know about my experience? Ask me any questions in the comments below

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Where to see King Penguins in Chile

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Comments (16)

  1. Hey Becky! This kind of thing would be up my alley too – I honestly love scenery and nature and I will do anything to have these kinds of experiences. I heard King Penguins can be up to 1 or 2 metres tall, is that true?

    1. You sound very similar to me Phoebe 🙂 The King Penguins are the second tallest in the world and can grow up to about 1m, the Emporer penguins are slightly taller about up to 1.3m. I can’t imagine a 2-metre penguin, that would be taller than me!! 🙂

  2. I love penguins!! I actually have a small penguin that I bring with me on my travels and take photos of (he has his own Instagram). This must have been a fantastic experience for you, and I will absolutely head that way when I visit Chile!

  3. I too love penguins, sadly I only saw them once at the Vienna zoo and not in their *natural* habitat. Chile is surely added to my bucket list for another amazing reason 🙂

  4. I love everything about this post! I never even knew visiting penguins in Chile was a thing! That’s incredible! I’ve only seen the little blue penguins in Australia, but now I want to see them all!

  5. Beautiful! I didn’t even know you could see penguins in Chile. This definitely made me put Chile on my bucket list!

  6. I’m a huge wildlife fan; anything involving animals and nature usually ends up being the highlight of my trip, so I loved this! And like you say, who doesn’t love penguins? 😀

  7. So cute! I got to hang out with penguins in South Africa and I didn’t realise how adorable they would be. Will definitely need to see them in Chile. Your pictures are so great!