Falkland Islands


Overview

Falkland Islands travel guide, including map of the Falkland Islands, top Falkland Islands travel experiences, tips for travel in the Falkland Islands, plus whe

An archipelago of more than 740 islands just 480km east of Patagonia, the Falkland Islands are a natural paradise in the South Atlantic Ocean. Half the size of Wales, the islands boast white sandy beaches, clear turquoise waters and an abundance of native and migratory wildlife with over 227 species of bird and 14 species of marine mammal.

Stanley is a colourful seaside capital, home to 85% of the population, but if it’s a walk on the wild side you’re after, head to the outlying islands and settlements.  Each spring, beaches are crowded with breeding elephant seals and sea lions and up to five breeding species of penguin.

Wanderlust recommends

  1. Hang out with tufty rockhopper penguins and lolling elephant seals
  2. Go horse trekking at Crooked Inlet, a sheep and cattle farm
  3. Pack your binoculars and head to Carcass Island; an idyllic place (despite the name) with superb birdlife
  4. Take a Land Rover safari to Sparrow Cove and Kidney Cove
  5. Visit the Falkland Islands Museum in Stanley, an Aladdin’s cave of island artefacts

Wanderlust tips

 

For added adventure, consider arriving by ship. Island shipping has a regular service to Punta Arenas in southern Chile. Pick up the weekly Penguin News, out on Fridays, to get a handle on island life.

Further Reading

Travel in the Falkland Islands: vital stats

  • Capital of the Falkland Islands: Stanley
  • Population of the Falkland Islands: Around 2,500 excluding military garrison
  • Languages in the Falkland Islands: English
  • Time in the Falkland Islands: GMT-4 (Sep-Apr GMT-3)
  • International dialling code for the Falkland Islands: +500
  • Voltage in the Falkland Islands: 220/240V 50Hz AC – plugs are identical to those in the UK
  • Visas for the Falkland Islands: UK visas
  • Money in the Falkland Islands: Falkland Islands pound (FK£), pegged at FK£1 to the UK£. The Standard Charter Bank in Stanley can cash travellers cheques and issue cash advances against Visa and Mastercard credit cards. There are no ATMs in the Falkland Islands. UK sterling notes and coins are often accepted. Changing any South American currencies while you’re out there is nigh on impossible.
  • Falkland Islands travel advice: Foreign & Commonwealth Office
  • Falkland Islands tourist information: Falkland Islands Tourist Board

When to go to the Falkland Islands

Oct – March is the summer season with plenty of sunshine and average temperatures reaching 15?C. December and January offer the longest days. Expect changeable weather and bring clothing to cope with wind, rain and cold – the Falklands are as close to the South Pole as London is to the North. September is the month when wildlife starts to return to the island to breed. There are few visitors in the winter months between April and August.

International airports

Fly from RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, or British Airways to Santiago and connect with a LAN Chile flight.

Getting around the Falkland Islands

The Falkland Islands Government Air Service operates light aircraft flights between Stanley and most settlements and islands. Flights are scheduled according to demand, with departure times and passenger lists announced by radio on the evening prior to your flight. The Falkland Islands Company has 4WDs for hire, including Land Rover Defenders. Taxis and airport transfers are available, and there is also a ferry service between East and West Falkland.  Cycling is hard work thanks to strong winds, stony gravel roads and a lack of drinking water along routes. 

Falkland Islands accommodation

Accommodation is scarce in the Falklands Islands and you’ll need to book ahead, especially on the smaller islands. Stanley has a choice of B&Bs, guesthouses and a few hotels. Further out, you’ll find homestays, self-catering cottages and some very basic ex-military Portakabins. Try the one at The Neck on Saunders Island: it’s right next to the penguin colonies. Camping is only possible with the permission of landowners.

Falkland Islands food & drink

Mutton is cheap and plentiful and likely to appear in various forms on every menu you read. Seafood is not particularly popular on the Falkland Islands, but local squid, mullet and sea trout are usually excellent when you can get hold of them. Look out for the wonderfully named diddle-dee berries – used in jams – and the sweeter teaberries baked in cakes and pies. English staples like fish and chips, pasties and sausage rolls can be washed down with a glass or three of Chilean red wine. Vegetarians are not particularly well catered for.

Health & safety in the Falkland Islands

There are no major health issues, but you need to drive slowly on gravel roads, observe minefield warning signs and keep at least 6m from potentially dangerous male elephant seals. Always stay on the outside of bird and seal colonies to avoid disturbance.