Single Magellanic penguin at Isla Magdalena.

Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images

Monumento Natural Los Pingüinos

Southern Patagonia

The thriving Magellanic penguin colonies of Monumento Natural Los Pingüinos on Isla Magdalena and Isla Marta are well worth visiting, particularly if you have never seen penguins before. The islands are 35km northeast of Punta Arenas. Five-hour ferry tours (adult/child CH$50,000/25,000) spend 1½ hours in transit and land for an hour at the island; they depart the port on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, December through February. Confirm times in advance. Book tickets through Turismo Comapa and bring a picnic.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Southern Patagonia attractions

1. Museo Río Seco

15.45 MILES

The pet project of the Caceres brothers, this funky homespun museum is a delightful detour for fans of natural history. Imaginative displays use fine…

2. Museo del Recuerdo

19.49 MILES

On display are a collection of antique farm and industrial machinery, a typical pioneer house and shearing shed, and a wooden-wheeled shepherds’ trailer.

3. Instituto de la Patagonia

19.49 MILES

Pioneer days are made real again at the Patagonian Institute's Museo del Recuerdo, part of the Universidad de Magallanes. The library has historical maps…

4. Cementerio Municipal

21.02 MILES

Among South America’s most fascinating cemeteries, with both humble immigrant graves and flashy tombs, like that of wool baron José Menéndez, a scale…

5. Museo Regional Salesiano

21.23 MILES

Especially influential in settling the region, the Salesian order collected outstanding ethnographic artifacts, but their museum touts their role as…

6. Museo Regional de Magallanes

21.67 MILES

This opulent mansion testifies to the wealth and power of pioneer sheep farmers in the late 19th century. The well-maintained interior houses a regional…

7. Casa Braun-Menéndez

21.7 MILES

Facing the Plaza Muñoz Gamero’s north side is the Club de la Unión, which houses the former Palacio Sara Braun, now known as the Casa Braun-Menéndez.

8. Museo Naval y Marítimo

21.71 MILES

A naval and maritime museum with historical exhibits that include a fine account of the Chilean mission that rescued Sir Ernest Shackleton’s crew from…