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Magdalena Island (Isla Magdalena)
Magdalena Island (Isla Magdalena)

Magdalena Island (Isla Magdalena)

Jose Nogueira 1255, Chile

The Basics

Magdalena Island (Isla Magdalena)is a designated national nature reserve and one of the most popular natural attractions near Punta Arenas. Most visitors choose to visit on a day trip from the Patagonian city; a typical tour includes boat transportation to the island and time onshore to observe the colony of some 120,000 penguins. Tours often include a circumnavigation of nearby Marta Island, where visitors can spot sea lions, elephant seals, cormorants, gulls, and Chilean dolphins.

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Things to Know Before You Go

  • Magdalena Island (Isla Magdalena)is a must-visit for animal lovers, photographers, and families traveling with kids.

  • Wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking over uneven surfaces.

  • Dress in warm layers, as it can get chilly on the island even in the Southern Hemisphere’s summer.

  • Camera tripods, monopods, and selfie sticks are not permitted on the island.

  • Boat trips to the island usually depart from the Punta Arenas pier, though some tours include hotel pickup and drop-off.

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How to Get There

Magdalena Island (Isla Magdalena)is accessible by boat, with tours departing regularly from the main pier in Punta Arenas. If you’re not taking a guided tour, there’s also a public ferry to the island that leaves from the Tres Puentes ferry dock, about 4 miles (6 kilometers) from Plaza del Armas.

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When to Get There

Due to the extreme Antarctic climate, the island is only accessible to visitors between December and March.

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Magdalena Island Lighthouse

Many travelers miss the park’s interpretive center, housed within a historic lighthouse built in 1902, after making a beeline straight for the penguins. But, the historic structure is well worth a few minutes, thanks to its exhibits about the island and its waddling residents.

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