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What to Expect When Walking With the Penguins on Martillo Island, Argentina

Penguins Martillo Island

Awesomeness! That’s what you can expect when walking with the penguins on Martillo Island in Argentina. I mean they’re adorable, little penguins! Haha. In all seriousness, though, I wasn’t entirely sure myself what to expect when I booked this adventure. I knew I was going to be close enough to see penguins, but that was about the extent of it… and everyone said it was an absolute must if I was going to Ushuaia, Argentina.

So, hopefully after reading this post you’ll be a little more prepared than I was for walking with the Penguins on Martillo Island.

What Exactly Are You Going to See on Martillo Island?

Martillo Island is home to an incredible colony of Gentoo and Magellanic penguins between September and April. There are around 1,000 nests there! Check out the video above to see just how many penguins are there…or at the very least, to see penguins waddling around. There’s seriously nothing better than watching penguins waddle, haha.

And if you’re lucky, you might get some other visitors as well! Check out the sea lions we saw just from standing on the shore in the video below.

We were especially lucky the day we went and saw two “tourists” visiting Martillo Island. There were two King Penguins who stopped by that day! (They look really similar to Emperor Penguins!)

King Penguins, Martillo Island
2 of these are not like the others…Can you spot the King Penguins? 😉

How Close Can You Get to the Penguins?

REALLY close. We were told to stay 3 large steps away from the penguins. But sometimes penguins would brush right past you on their way over to their friends. I couldn’t believe how close you can get to them.

You can get really close to the penguins!

How Do You Get to the Penguins on Martillo Island?

This is another case where you have to book a tour, and the only way you’re doing it is with the one tour company that has access to the island – Piratour. Now, booking directly with Piratour could potentially save you some money. When I booked, I didn’t realize Piratour was “the” tour company for this, and booked through Viator. Piratour does not list their prices online, so you’ll have to email them to see what they say. And all the prices I was seeing online from other tour sites for this tour were about the same, so I went with what I knew (and that’s good ole Viator). Click here for Piratour, click here for Viator and click here for GetYourGuide.

Martillo Island Penguins

Penguins Martillo Island
There were a lot of nests along the walkways!

Once again, the reason for the one tour company is to keep the penguins and their habitat safe. You’ll only be in a group of 20. You have the option to go in the morning or the afternoon. (There are only two tours per day…to not overwhelm the penguins.)

You’ll take a bus from the tourist dock in Ushuaia (within walking distance of most hotels/hostels in Ushuaia)…this bus ride took a little over 1 hour. Then, you’ll take about a 15-minute boat ride to Martillo Island. You’ll spend about 1 hour walking with the penguins with a tour guide, who will quietly point out fun facts about the penguins, show you where they are nesting and make sure everyone is being safe. (You’ll be reminded to not make any loud noises, so you don’t scare the little guys.) At the end, you get to head up to Harberton Farm for coffee and sweets and then head just down the road to the Marine Mammals and Sea Birds Museum. (It was a very interesting tour!)

*But bring cash! You have to pay a small entrance fee to get into the farm and the coffee and sweets are not included.

Martillo Island Penguins

How Do You Dress for Martillo Island?

It’s pretty chilly, but if you’re out of the wind it’s not terrible. So, dress in layers. Bring a coat, sweatshirt, hat, thick socks, scarf, mittens and sunglasses. We wore our hiking boots, but that really wasn’t necessary. It’s all gravel paths on the island that you stay on. The boots were nice for a little extra warmth, though.

Penguins Martillo Island

Penguins Martillo Island

Is It Worth It?

Absolutely! This was a rather pricey tour, but given that you were only with a group of 20 or less, it felt very private. Plus, you can get SO close to the penguins. It was incredible! The farm and museum stops were nice as well.

If you missed it, click here for Piratour, click here for Viator and click here for GetYourGuide.

Penguins Martillo Island

What are your thoughts on Martillo Island? Would you add walking with the penguins here to your bucket list? Let me know in the comments!

*Click here to see all my travel posts on Argentina!
*Click here to read my post, “How to Spend 10 Days in Argentina.”

Travel Insurance

It’s a good idea, no matter where your adventure takes you, to have travel insurance. You never know what might happen! Whether you get sick before your trip and can’t go, or you become sick or injured while on your adventure – being covered with travel insurance is a must. Some credit card companies do provide this service (check with yours), or you can get a quote from companies such as RoamRight. To get a free quote, click here.

Visa Requirements

To check if your country requires a Visa for traveling to Argentina, click here.

Want to Learn Spanish Before Your Trip?

Knowing some basics in Spanish can be helpful for your time in Argentina. Try a free 3 day trial of Rosetta Stone (the best way to learn a foreign language) by clicking here.

And check out more photos of the adventure, below!

martillo island penguins
If you liked it – Pin it!

*Disclosure: some of these links are affiliate links. Meaning, if you click a link and make a purchase, Have Clothes, Will Travel gets a very small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible! I am also a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

*c/o = courtesy of, meaning the company gave me the product to be used on my blog, and I did not pay for it. All opinions are my own, and I am not being compensated for a positive review.


  1. Laura Vaughn says:

    This is so amazing!!! I love penguins. I’d love to visit this place. It super far from me, it would take a lot of hours of flight, but I swear it’d be worth it!

    1. haveclotheswilltravel says:

      Ooh it would so be worth it then! Haha. I hope you get the chance to visit them one day!

  2. <3 I am totally crazy about this post- I love penguins and possibility to seeing them in natural environment is awesome. So many stunning pictures dear xx

    1. haveclotheswilltravel says:

      Yay! So happy you liked this post. Thank you so much!

  3. luxeandlinen says:

    This is such an amazing experience, and those shots are incredible.

    1. haveclotheswilltravel says:

      Thank you!

  4. Ms Coffee and Cream says:

    WOW!! What an amazing post!! These penguins are soooo adorable and this whole post reminds me of something from BBC Planet Earth!!! I love how you explore nature so much during your travels – thank you for the inspiration!




    1. haveclotheswilltravel says:

      Aw, thank you so much, Asha! Best compliment ever!

  5. latroupeblog says:

    Love the Penguins! Wonderful place!

    1. haveclotheswilltravel says:

      Me too 🙂

  6. That looks and sounds seriously AMAZING! Having seen penguins in real life, but never wild, I can imagine how good that was. I saw seals wild though on a boat, but I was so sea sick that I couldn’t manage to see them properly lol.

    Raindrops of Sapphire

    1. haveclotheswilltravel says:

      Oh no! Sorry to hear that happened to you, Lorna! But thank you so much!

  7. Oh wow that looks amazing! it’s great you could get so close to them. I’ve been to the penguin walk on Phillip island, but there’s always a fence separating you from the penguins and as it’s at night you can’t use cameras as the flash upsets the penguins. I wish I could have taken photos like this! 🙂

    Hope you are having a great weekend 🙂 We are having the perfect weather – warm and sunny in the morning, then cooler in the afternoon and evenings when the storms roll in. We spent time by the pool yesterday morning!

    Away From The Blue Blog

    1. haveclotheswilltravel says:

      Philip Island always looked amazing to me! And thank you for reading! Hope you had a great weekend too. 🙂

  8. Monica@theRiteofAging says:

    Wow!!! Those photos are amazing!! I don’t know if I could put a price on seeing penguins in their habitat like this! This experience just looks like one of a kind!

    1. haveclotheswilltravel says:

      It really is! And thank you so much!

  9. jointyicroissanty says:

    Such a great experience and amazing pictures!


    1. haveclotheswilltravel says:

      Aw, thank you!

  10. Totally fun!! And much better than going to the north pole to see them (or is it the south pole??)
    Was it noisy when you were there?

    1. haveclotheswilltravel says:

      Oh yes! And yep, Antarctica has penguins and Africa..I think New Zealand and Australia have a couple places too? And oh no, it wasn’t very noisy. Just windy! 🙂

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