Getting to Povenir seemed easy enough but being there was something else. We arrived by ferry in the afternoon. On a holiday. Meaning that of the total of five restaurants in town none were open. We stopped by a couple of pubs and it was like it normally is when we stop in local establishments, the proprietor wonders why we stopped in. In this case because it was about 4:00 PM I think our timing was off. A bit early for dinner and well past lunch. But we were able to get a big beer to tied us over. Then it was off to the mini market for crackers and cheese.
The following day we were surprised when we headed for the highway and it was a dirt road. Of course many of the highways in southern Chile are dirt roads so I don’t know why we would be surprised. It was actually a really pretty drive out in the countryside on a road that hugged the coast. We saw many guanacos, although on Tierra del Fuego the island where the town of Povenir is the guanacos have black fur on their faces in stead of tan or light brown.
Our purpose in visiting Povenir was to see the king penguins which are really big. Some get to be 4 feet tall. So we drove and drove on the dirt highway for two hours before we came to the penguin colony. There we saw about twenty five penguins from about 100 yards. I have to say it was disappointing. We saw penguins in the Galapogos, of course they were much smaller… but still. It wasn’t as exciting as I had hoped it would be.
The restaurants were mostly closed because it was another holiday, (yes two back to back holidays) but we did find an open restaurant to have dinner at once we returned. During the day after visiting the penguins we had pate with crackers and a bit of red wine so that was quite nice.
I am not sure about Povenir. Since we had a car it made sense to overnight there. Some people just take the ferry and a tour bus to the penguins then go back to Punta Arenas. The cost for that Tour is about $150.00 per person. So it is about the same cost but with less autonomy. I guess I think if I spent $150.00 for four hours on a ferry and four hours in a van on a dirt road the pay off better be pretty fantastic. I thought the pay off was mediocre.
Of course I am sure Tiera del Fuego has more to offer but half the island is in Argentina and we didn’t arrange to take our rental car across the border.