The Falkland Islands are a British Overseas Territory inhabited by
about 3,000 British descendents. The land is barren and barely
able to support sheep grazing. The economic base is founded on
fishing and military. There is also significant support from the
production of wool and from cruise ship visits. Recently, limited
quantities of oil have been discovered off shore. Once you leave the
port town of Stanley,
everything else is referred to as "Camp", which is an
appropriate reflection of its isolation. For more information on the
Falklands, visit the Falkland
Island Tourist Board web site.
When you witness firsthand how desolate and empty the Falkland Islands
are, you will wonder why anyone wants to live there, let alone go to war
over it. The history of the Falklands occupation by the
French, British, Americans and Argentines is not clear. In 1982
Argentina decided to take back Las Malvinas (the Falklands) and a war with
Britain ensued that included many lost lives on both sides through sunken
naval vessels, air battles and infantry skirmishes. The Argentine
navy did poorly, but their air force almost defeated the British by nearly
exhausting their munitions. Today the Falklands are protected by the
HMS Dauntless, a ship that cost Britain more than a billion dollars.
Many British citizens in the UK feel this is not a justified investment,
but more than 99% of the population on the Falkland Islands want to remain
Christ Church Cathedral, Stanley
Cruise ship passengers leaving the same day do not require a
visa. For longer stays, check your specific country at VisaHQ.
For a list of exempt countries, visit Project
The official currency is the
British pound sterling (GBP). Visitors will not be able to use any other currency.
The climate of Falkland Islands is influenced by Antarctica and the
South Atlantic, making it cool year round with temperatures rarely going
below freezing. At the height of
summer in January and February, highs average 60 F (16 C) while lows
average 45 F (7 C). In winter, from June - August,
average highs are 40 F (5 C) while lows average around freezing.
Precipitation is slightly higher in the summer months. January
through March are the best months to visit to the
Most visitors arrive in the Falklands by cruise ship during the summer
season in the Southern Hemisphere. The anchoring location for ships
is quite far from the pier and there is approximately a 40% chance that
tendering will not be possible at all during a scheduled visit.
There are also rare cases where cruise ship tenders could not get back to
the ship the same day and visitors were forced to overnight on the
island. As recently as 2013, marine workers have delayed cruise ships
from departing for the Falklands from Argentina as a form of political
Access by air is limited both by the isolation of being 300 miles off
the mainland of South America and by the strained relationship with
Argentina. The Mount Pleasant Airport (MPN) is used by LAN Airlines,
which offers weekly flights to Santiago via Punta Arenas, Chile.
There are monthly flights to Rio Gallegos in Argentina. The British
military has a base at Mount Pleasant with regular connections to the UK
via Ascension Island. The military flights allow some non military
personnel on board.
Mount Pleasant is approximately 45 minutes from Stanley and a shuttle
bus operates between these locations.
Burned out Argentine helicopter frame from Falklands War
Things to see and do in the Falkland Islands:
Christ Church Cathedral - built in 1892 this is the southernmost Anglican Church in the world. In the gardens a statue of two jawbones
from whales was erected in 1933 to commemorate the centennial of British rule.
Victory Green - on the waterfront of Stanley is a park which displays the mizzenmast of the
SS Great Britain, which was the first iron vessel with a screw propeller.
Falklands Islands Museum & National Trust - most of the museum's
collection is on display at the Historic Dockyard Museum on Ross Road
between Victory Green and the 1982 Liberation Memorial.
1982 Liberation Memorial - commemorates defeat of Argentina in the 1982 war. It's located .6 miles west of the pier on the waterfront.
Government House - the governor is appointed by London and lives on the Ross Road waterfront .6 miles west of the pier.
World War I Memorial - commemorates the defeat of the Germans in 1914. It's located .5 miles west of the pier on the Ross Road waterfront.
Cartmell Cottage - built in 1849 and included in the Falkland Islands Museum. It's located at 7 Pioneer Row and .6 miles south of the pier.
Cross of the Sacrifice - the cross at Stanley Cemetery commemorates World War I & II veterans.
Cape Pembroke Lighthouse - get the key from the Falklands Museum and head to the lighthouse 8 miles east of the pier.
The Falkland Islands have four varieties of penguins: Gentoo,
Magellanic, Rockhopper and King.
There is a large colony of King Penguins at Volunteer Point near
Stanley. To access "Volunteers", a team of 4x4s
is required to travel through the bogs and pull each other out, if
necessary. There are 4 major companies running tours when cruise
ships are in town, but there is little difference between them. They all use privately owned local 4x4s to create multiple convoys to
the penguins. This makes each vehicle a unique encounter with a
local Falkland Islander. Each 4x4 typically carries one
passenger up front and 3 in the back. Cruise lines don't always
offer an excursion to Volunteer Point, because the off roading is so
rough and many tourists aren't up for the excitement of being towed
out of the mud. The trip takes more than 2 hours one way and is
extremely bumpy for the last hour of off roading. The penguin
colony is located entirely on Johnson's Harbour Farm and the number of
vehicles per day is restricted by the owner. King Penguins
do not live on the mainland of South America or in Antarctica.
There prefer islands near Antarctica such as the Falklands and South
Georgia. They breed in November or January and don't make any
form of nest. The eggs are balanced on top of their feet and are
insulated by their fur. They huddle together for protection
from the wind. The young are great big balls of brown fur that
do no resemble their majestic parents in any way. Check out Take
That Vacation's recommendation of Estancia
Excursions and view our slideshow of the Kings that we saw in late
December of 2015. Read
about our trip to Volunteer Point in our forum too.
King Penguins, Volunteer Point
Bluff Cove Lagoon - a poplar tourist destination for penguin viewing 25 minutes from
Stanley by 4x4. The main penguin population at Bluff cove
is about 3,000 Gentoos, but there are a few Magellanic and Kings
too. The penguins are located on private land belonging to Bluff
Gypsy Cove - 300 pairs of Magellanic penguins on Yorke Bay, 4 miles northeast of the pier.
Rockhopper Penguin Colony at Murrell Farm - access these unique penguins by a combination of 4x4 and minibus.
In addition to penguins, the Falklands also have black-browed
albatross, southern giant petrels, Orca killer whales, sea lions,
elephant seals and Patagonian foxes.
Adolescent King Penguins look nothing like their parents, Volunteer Point
Boot Hill - on Darwin Road in the Camp, west of Stanley.
Leave one boot if you are staying and two if you are leaving the
Fitzroy and Port Pleasant - see memorials to the Welsh Guards & Royal Fleet Auxiliary 30 miles southwest of the pier.
The Sir Galahad and Sir Tristram were bombed by the Argentines here.
Long Island Farm - observe sheep farm operations at a farm an hour from
Fishing - Brown trout and sea trout have been introduced to the
Falklands. Zebra trout are endemic but nearly extinct. The
fishing season runs from the 1st of September to the 30th of April and
no license is required. Much of the fishing is on private lands
and permission must be requested in order to fish. Refer
to the Falkland Islands Tourist Board fishing page.