The Falkland Islands
Home to the famous King penguins
Lying 300 miles off the Patagonian coast, and 750 miles from the Antarctic Peninsula, the Falkland Islands (also known as Islas Malvinas in Spanish) is a far-flung British overseas territory.
Pictures of The Falkland Islands
Highlights in The Falkland Islands
Bull Point is the most southerly point of either of the two main Falkland Islands. Sitting in the far south of East Falkland island, the point forms part of the western shore of the Bay of Harbours. Most of Bull Point is used by North Ant Farm and actively grazed but its important flora and fauna led to it being declared an Important Bird Area (IBA). The tip of the point has been fenced off completely to allow a natural habitat to recover. Surveys have revealed over 100 different plant species at the Point, more than half of which are considered to be rare. A particularly important species is Dusen’s Moonwort - only known to occur in two other places in the Falklands apart from Bull Point and nowhere else. The rocky shore here protects kelp beds, and the sandy beaches are often visited by southern elephant seals and southern sea lions. There are also nesting sites for Gentoo and Magellanic penguins, as well as breeding colonies of ruddy-headed geese and Falkland steamer ducks.
Saunders Island (known in Spanish as Isla Trinidad) is in the northwest of the Falkland Islands group and is the 4th largest individual island with 50 square miles of land. Saunders Island is geographically stunning, as well as rich with remarkable wildlife. The island is made up of three peninsulas that are joined by narrow necks of land. The three uplands towner over the necks, with the tallest, Mount Richards, being 1,500ft above the waves below. The views from the headlands are astonishing. Saunders Island has been designated an Important Bird Area (or IBA) thanks to the large numbers of breeding species that make their homes here. The beaches are home to thousands of gentoo, rockhopper, macaroni, and king penguins - you can’t avoid hearing their raucous cries from all over the island! There is also a colony of Magellanic penguins on Saunders Islands - these are some of the most southerly of that species in the world. Other significant species to be found on Saunders include Falkland steamer ducks, black-browed albatrosses, and white-bridled finch. In the waters off the shoreline, you can see the delightful Commerson’s dolphins - their black and white markings making them seem like miniature orcas. Visiting Elephant Point will bring you face-to-face with the small colony of elephant seals that live here and gave their name to the beach. You can also often find southern right whales in the sheltered bays here feeding and resting before moving on.
Stanley (sometimes called Stanley) is the capital of the Falkland Islands and is quintessentially British - albeit reminiscent of a Britain from yesteryear. But there’s something remarkable about seeing the red “telephone boxes” and signs for “fish n chips” sitting in a landscape that’s more like Patagonia than the pastoral English countryside. Stanley is home to 70% of the Falklands’ population, about 2,500 people. There’s a gentle pace to life here, but if there’s a cruise ship or two in the harbor then it can feel quite lively! As well as pubs and “chippies” there are some definite signs that you’re not in Europe. Visit Christ Church Cathedral, opened in 1892, and you’ll enter through an arch built from the jaws of two huge blue whales. A stroll to Victory Green in central Stanley will bring you face to face with a mizzen mast from the original SS Great Britain. Brunel built the world’s first propeller-driven iron ship in 1843, and it was badly damaged by gales when rounding Cape Horn in 1886, limping back to the Falkland Islands where it lay abandoned for almost a century. Walk down Pioneer Row and you’ll see the original settlers’ cottages, not only still standing but in perfect condition. Originally shipped the 8,000 miles from the UK as kits, they were erected quickly by the first settlers to provide warmth and shelter from the sometimes forbidding weather. But no matter what other unique and unusual sites you see in this southern hemisphere town, the Union Jack flags flying and the garden gnomes in gardens won’t let you forget that this is a piece of Britain at the edge of the Antarctic.
Bleaker Island (known as Isla Maria in Spanish) has had at least 3 changes of the name since the Falkland Islands were first discovered and colonized. It was first named Long Island - a rather unimaginative title because that’s what it is, long and thin. Its name was changed to Breaker Island and it appeared like this on maps and charts until 1859, when a new chart was published with the name changed to Bleaker. What was probably a printing error has stuck ever since! There was evidence that sealers had been using Bleaker Island as a base, but there was no permanent settlement attempted until 1880 when a house was built and a sheep farm set up. The island has been used for rearing ship ever since, and now has some cattle as well. It’s run as an organic farm and tourist destination, with stewardship of the land to allow both commercial farming and wildlife preservation at its heart. A formally-designated Important Bird Area (or IBA), Bleaker Island is home to a large breeding colony of Imperial Cormorants more than 16,000 strong. Other species to be found here include Gentoo penguins who nest on the appropriately-named Penguin Hill above Sandy Bay. There are also Southern Rockhopper penguins to be found near Long Gulch and Magellanic penguin burrows are widespread. There are also many smaller bird species here, including Falklands grass wrens and pipits, black-chinned siskins, and dark-faced ground-tyrants. There are also some birds of prey including southern caracaras.
Well-named West Point Island is one of the furthest points in the northwest of the Falklands archipelago. Known originally as Albatross Island (and Isla Remolinos in Spanish), this 5.5 square miles of grassy rock has some of the most stunning scenery to be found in the islands. West Point is a working sheep farm and is owned by the Napier family, who will warmly welcome you to their home. As its original name implies, you’ll also be welcomed by the calls and shrieks from the huge colony of black-browed albatross that live here. In fact, more than two-thirds of the world’s entire albatross population breed here in the Falklands! But the highest cliffs and the biggest albatross colony aren’t the only things that await you on West Point. There is a large southern rockhopper penguin colony, as well as a smaller Magellanic penguin nest site. Other notable bird species include striated caracaras, Cobb's wrens, blackish cinclodes, and white-bridled finches. In fact, there are so many important species here that West Point Island has been formally listed as an Important Bird Area (IBA). The other thing you’ll get on West Point is fantastic Napier hospitality! Your group will be welcomed with traditional tea, cake, and biscuits as well as an invitation to walk around the island gardens.
Arrival at Port Stanley
Port Stanley (also known simply as Stanley) has been the capital of the Falkland Islands since 1845 and lies on the eastern coast of East Falkland. Although it is a capital, you’re not going to find a bustling metropolis here. But you will find a very warm welcome from the 2,500 islanders who live here (some 70% of the entire population). Stanley feels like a small slice of the United Kingdom in the South Atlantic. As well as traditional red telephone boxes, and driving on the “wrong side of the road”, there’s a charm about Stanley that harks back to how the rural UK may have been in the 1950s. You’ll be made to feel at home in any of its 4 pubs and you must try a “takeaway” from its fish and chip shop! About a third of the residents are government employees, with another substantial proportion involved in tourism, fishing, and farming. The area around Stanley is worth an excursion. It’s a 4-mile walk or taxi ride to Gypsy Cove where there is a Magellanic penguin colony. You can also visit Cape Pembroke, the easternmost point of the Falkland Islands. Whether you choose to explore the wider area or just take a relaxed stroll around Port Stanley itself, this is a wonderful place to enjoy your last footfall before you reach the Antarctic.
The Falkland Islands
The Falkland Islands (known in Argentina as Islas Malvinas) is an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean. Most people may be familiar with them because of the conflict that was fought here by armed forces from Argentina and the UK in 1982, but there is so much more to the Falklands. Inhabited since 1764, these remote islands have been colonized and claimed by many countries - France and Spain have claimed them (and Argentina since its formation and former Spanish colony) although it’s the British descendants who make up the majority of the islands’ 4,000 population. As a British Overseas Territory, the Falklands are self-governing, but the UK is responsible for defense and foreign affairs. Argentina still disputes the sovereignty of the islands they call the Malvinas. Made up of two large islands (East and West Falkland) and over 700 smaller islands and islets, the Falklands are as beautiful as they are rugged and remote. Despite its history as a base for South Atlantic whalers and sealers, and more recently extensive sheep farming, the Falkland Islands have retained great biodiversity, and modern conservation has ensured many previously struggling wild species are now returning. The Falklands is home to important populations of albatross, having some of the largest breeding sites in the world. They are also home to the rare striated caracara, 63 species of nesting land bird, and 5 penguin species. Seals, whales, dolphins, and other marine life are also abundant. Finally, the rugged landscape itself has a stark beauty, and the islanders, although hardy, offer everyone the warmest of welcomes, usually accompanied by a hearty Falklands Tea. Fishing and farming account for the vast majority of the Falklands Islands income, although tourism is increasingly important. Many of the farms on the islands are now managed with wildlife conservation in mind, and the Falklands is a wildlife management success story.
New Island - also known as Isla de Goicoechea in Spanish - is one of the Falkland Islands. A long, thin island with both steep cliffs and sandy bays, it’s 150 west of the Falkland’s capital, Stanley. Despite its position on the westerly edge of the islands, New Island was one of the first to be visited and colonized. There is some evidence that whalers from America may have landed here as early as 1770. In 1813 a ship from Nantucket was wrecked here and the crew survived for two years before being rescued. They built a simple stone shelter which now forms part of the oldest building in the Falklands. With stints as a base for guano miners and whaling companies, New Island proved to be uneconomical to exploit in these ways and was left for the wildlife to thrive. Now a wildlife reserve and registered Important Bird Area (IBA), New Island is a beautiful sanctuary for many Falklands and Antarctic species to breed and live. Penguins, in particular, take advantage of the shallow beaches and rolling shores on the eastern coast. Five species can be seen here, including large breeding colonies of gentoo and southern rockhopper penguins. King penguins are also found here, as well as petrels, shags, dolphin gulls, Falklands skuas, and many more. Sea lions and elephant seals can also be found hauled up on the beaches or swimming idly in the sheltered bays.
Embark in Port Stanley
Embarkation will usually begin in the afternoon. You'll get to know your ship and friendly, professional crew as well as meet your fellow adventurers. You'll receive an overview of the expedition as well as safety briefings and the opportunity to ask questions. You'll set sail in the evening, heading south from Port Stanley to the open sea and Antarctic waters.
Animals in The Falkland Islands
Southern Elephant Seal
South American Sea Lion
Falkland Flightless Steamerduck
Our trips to The Falkland Islands
Minimum PriceUSD 500
Maximum PriceUSD 17000