The Penguin Colony
The colony of Magellanic penguins on San Lorenzo has been growing steadily ever since penguins started to nest here nearly 50 years ago. The average growth rate of this rookery has been estimated at more than 20% per year, showing exponential growth as from 1995. In 1977 it hosted 93 breeding pairs, whereas the last survey from 2017 gave an estimation of 210.000 pairs spread across 220 hectares.
This makes San Lorenzo the world’s biggest Magellanic penguin rookery with around 600.000 penguins in the peak season.
Magellanic penguins arrive every year early September and leave by the end of April.
The San Lorenzo sheep farm has designed several circuits to suit all kinds of visitors and interests.
1. Penguin Experience (traditional walk trail)
The circuit stretches through a penguin transit and burrowing area. Halfway along the walkway there is an astonishing lookout over San Matias Gulf and the wide beach used by penguins to get in and out of the water, and to rest. At the end of the trail we find the ruins of the old Sealion-oil Factory.
The starting point of this circuit is a sand dune. After a small slope we encounter 20 million-year-old Giant Oysters. Then, as we walk through the Skeleton Hollow, skeletons of different land mammals will help us interpret their connection to the environment.
After a short distance we come to the Archeological Area, where we find physical evidence of native people who lived here over two thousand years ago.
The trek in the dunes goes on as we start to see the first penguins beneath the shrubs or walking on the sand. Then, we enter a walkway virtually surrounded by penguins, which leads to the Old Ruins of the Sealion-oil. From here on, we continue along the Penguin Experience trail. A Park Ranger will be present throughout the circuit.
2. Penguins and more…
3. Penguin Adventure
After leaving the Penguin Experience trail, we walk along a track that is typically used by researchers and park rangers, and we arrive at the sector called “La Colmena” / ”The Hive” due to the high density of burrows.
The amount of penguins along this trail is much higher than on the Penguin Experience circuit.
This tour is offerend only to small groups. A Park Ranger will be present throughout the circuit.
This circuit is a mini trekking tour through the area of the highest penguin concentration otherwise only visited by Researchers and Park Rangers. Access is permitted only to small groups, and a San Lorenzo Park Ranger will be present throughout the trek.
The visit will include the area “La Colmena” / ”The Hive” with very high penguin concentration, and the Penguin Gully, transit area of the penguins on their way to the different burrowing sectors.
One of the most beautiful places along this circuit is the cliff area, where penguins also burrow.
On the way back to the starting point we walk along the highest part of the beach.
4. Land of Penguins
5. Fossil Gully
20 million years ago, a marine ingression flooded great part of Patagonia and the South American continent. This warm sea was home to different vertebrates, whales, sharks and reef species that can be seen today on this trail.
This is a low-difficulty circuit with 12 different stops to observe fossilised animals that lived in that ancient sea.
As to elephant seals, depending on the season and their behavior, we can eventually see some individuals on the beach.
This circuit by the farm premises offers a trek through plant species typically found on Peninsula Valdes. Along the trail, there are good chances to see animals such as burrowing owls and Patagonian cavies.
6. Flora & fauna
7. Bush Trekking
This is the most comprehensive circuit, perfect for adventure lovers. You will observe flora, fauna, fossils, archeological sites, historical ruins and the penguin rookery.
A good physical condition, comfortable shoes, sunglasses and drinking water are essential!
A Park Ranger will be present throughout the circuit.
The last part of the trek goes through a wide area of the penguin rookery, and it ends with the Penguin Experience trail.
San Lorenzo sunset
Magellanic penguins are most active around sunrise and sunset.
San Lorenzo Farm offers the chance to visit our walk trails “Penguins and more…” and “Penguin Experience” during sunset accompanied by our Park Rangers. This is a superb time of day for photography offering the best light and the biggest concentration of penguins.