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When you think of penguins the first thing you probably imagine is a group of comic birds waddling around on the ice in Antarctica. But South America is actually home to a number of different species and they can be spotted in various colonies up and down the continent, including as far north as the Galápagos Islands. Here's a list of what penguins you can see where:

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1) Galápagos penguin
Endemic to the Galápagos Islands, this is the only penguin living north of the equator.

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2) Humboldt penguin
Named after the cold-water current it swims in off the coast of Peru and Chile, the Humboldt penguin is listed as a vulnerable species.

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3) Magellanic penguin
Closely related to the Galápagos and Humboldt penguins, the Magellanic penguin breeds in coastal Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands and can be seen near Punta Arenas in Chile and Punto Tombo, Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel in Argentina. Though some have been seen as far north as Rio!

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4) Macaroni penguin
Macaroni was a term used in the 18th century for persons who dressed and acted flamboyantly; so when English sailors came across a penguin with a bright yellow crest, they named it the macaroni penguin. These days they can be found in southern Chile, the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula.

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5) Rockhopper penguin
Another crested penguin, the rockhopper penguin is one of the smallest species of penguin in the world. They can be seen around Cape Horn, the Falklands and South Georgia.

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6) Chinstrap penguin
Its name derives from the black line which crosses its chin making it look as though it is wearing a hat. Easily identifiable, it can be seen in Antarctica, Argentina, Chile, the Falkland Islands and South Georgia.

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7) Gentoo penguin
The breeding colonies of gentoo penguins are on ice-free surfaces and can travel quite far inland to nest. They can be seen on the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and in the Antarctic Peninsula.

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8) King penguin
The king penguin is the second largest species of penguin in the world and can be seen in Tierra del Fuego, the Falkland Islands and South Georgia.

Only found in Antarctica:

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9) Adélie penguin
The Adélie penguin lives only along the Antarctic coast and are named after the wife of the French explorer who discovered these penguins in 1840.

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10) Emperor penguin
The largest penguin on earth, the emperor penguin is endemic to Antarctica and will trek between 50 and 120km to breeding colonies during the Antarctic winter.


Take a look at these excursions and holidays to find out how you can see these penguins with Journey Latin America:

Wildlife watching in Antarctica
Antarctica: In search of the Emperor penguin
Visit a penguin colony
Visit Chiloe's penguins

 

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Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

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Real Latin America Experts

  • Mary Anne Nelson
    Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Expert

    Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tour sales team.

  • Ben Line
    Ben Line - Travel Expert

    Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.

  • Kathryn Rhodes
    Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Expert

    Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.

  • Hannah Waterhouse
    Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Expert

    Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.

  • Lina Fuller
    Lina Fuller - Travel Expert

    Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba (Argentina) to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.

  • Sophie Barber
    Sophie Barber - Travel Expert

    Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia and beyond to Antarctica.

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