Provincial authorities have fenced off most of the nesting grounds and human visitors must stay on marked trails and boardwalks; still, since the penguins themselves do not respect the fences, it’s possible to get up-close-and-personal photographs while respecting the birds’ distance. Note, though, that penguin beaks can inflict a nasty gash.
Punta Tombo’s infrastructure is still very limited—a visitors center is in the works, but local estancieros are disinclined to part with any more property than they already have. Still, the simple confitería, while nothing special, has fresh-baked lamb empanadas and clean, modernized toilets.
At the entrance, provincial authorities collect US$5.50 pp for adult foreigners, US$2.50 for Argentine residents, and US$1 for Chubut residents. No camping is permitted; if you’re driving, penguins have right-of-way.
While it’s also possible for a group to hire a taxi for a day trip to the reserve, renting a car in Trelew or Puerto Madryn would make it possible to follow the scenic desert coastline south past the ghost town of Cabo Raso to the picturesque fishing port of Camarones and the wildlife reserve of Cabo Dos Bahías, which has both penguins and sea lions. From Camarones it’s possible to return to Trelew or Puerto Madryn via paved RN 3.