I visited Isla de Lobos by renting a seat on a boat charter called the Calypso. The boat charter took me from Punta del Este Uruguay over to Lobos Island. There was a minimum of 8 people on the charter and cost me 50USD.
Since I went on to Uruguay in November which is right before the Tourist Season, I had to wait about 3 days before they had 8 customers lined up to charter the boat.
The Calypso boat charter contacted my hotel when they had enough people and we departed on a sunny and warm November afternoon. Living around this island are approximately 200,000 seals all of which eat anywhere from 3 – 10 kilos of fish everyday.
I was told by the crew of the Calypso Boat Tour that there are approximately 30,000 babies born every year and that most years the heard is culled down by approximately 20,000.
The death rate for the seals or "sea wolves" as the people of Uruguay call them, is highest in the first year as babies fall from rocks, are squished by competing males or drown.
The Calypso crew also told me that these animals used to be hunted not only for skin and oil but for the penis which is apparently thought to be an aphrodisiac.
The captain of the Calypso boat tour in Punta Este and I both laughed as he said;
Another Interesting Fact about Lobos Island is that no one is allowed on this South American island. The reason I was given by the crew is that the Uruguay Government does not want the island polluted and wants to maintain the islands eco system.
The Isla de Lobos lighthouse in the Picture above is the second largest lighthouse in south America. There is a light house keeper who apparently watches to make sure no one is killing these protected animals.
You also might find it interesting that this island has caused lots of controversy and debate for years. So on one side you have the local fishermen who upset that the seals eat all the fish and cut down on their catch.
They are supported by those who made a living hunting the seals for their oil and meat. On the other side of the debate, you have the animal enthusiasts who want to preserve the large sea wolf herd and those who benefit from the tourist revenue it brings into this beachfront community. Who is right and who is wrong is just a matter of opinion.
Having lived on the West Coast of British Columbia Canada, I used to think that I had seen alot of seal and sea lions all at once. That is up until I visited this interesting Uruguay tourist attraction that you and your family should experience when visiting Uruguay.
The boat tour was 2 hours. The crew was very friendly and informative and some spoke very good English.
They shared alot of good information and offered to take pictures and answer any questions I had. The were very welcoming and put everyone at ease and made this trip enjoyable as entertaining.
I highly recommend the Calypso boat tour to Isla de Lobos in Punta del Este Uruguay.
You will gain some unique knowledge gained this well informed crew as well as seeing a site that is becoming more rare throughout the world, as civilization encroaches on animal habitat.