Discover the Falkland Islands
A stepping stone for Polar voyages
Falkland Islands Holidays
Lying 490km east of Patagonia, the Falkland Islands are a natural stepping stone for polar voyages to South Georgia and Antarctica. Equally rewarding is a dedicated, land-based holiday. Island-hopping by light aircraft, you’ll stay in friendly rural lodges located in some of the archipelago’s wildlife hotspots, including Carcass Island, Saunders Island and Sea Lion Island.
As well as incredible encounters with spectacular penguin, albatross and seal colonies, our Falkland Islands holidays also include a chance to experience the fascinating capital, Stanley and visit the battlefields and memorials of the 1982 Falklands War.
Wildlife of the Falklands
Peninsula, Falklands and South Georgia
About the Falkland Islands
With rows of brightly coloured ‘wriggly tin’ rooftops, Stanley has the cheerful look of a town made from Lego blocks. You’ll find old-fashioned red telephone boxes, a row of Victorian terrace houses, half a dozen pubs, gift shops selling cuddly penguins and the Governor’s house, spick and span behind its white picket fence. For a settlement of its size (inhabited by 85% of the Falkland’s civilian population of around 2500), Stanley is crammed with character. The small cathedral has an archway crafted from the jawbones of two blue whales, while just across the road, in a small seafront park, you’ll find the mizzen mast of the SS Great Britain, salvaged when the great ship was beaten back from Cape Horn and took refuge in the Falklands.The Liberation Memorial commemorates the losses of the 1982 conflict.
A fabulous rural-island retreat, Carcass promises superb hill-walking and birdwatching. Along with Magellanic and gentoo penguins, which nest in the soft peaty soil, the island is a good place to spot the endemic Cobb’s wren and the striated caracara – one of the world’s rarest birds of prey. A two-hour boat trip takes you to the wedge-shaped island of West Point where the base of the 380m-tall sea cliffs have been worn smooth in places by rockhopper penguins scrabbling from the sea to begin their Herculean ascents to clifftop rookeries. They share this prime real estate with over 14,500 pairs of black-browed albatross. Spending time sitting quietly at the edge of this seabird city is a truly unforgettable experience.
Saunders Island was the site of the first British settlement in the Falklands and is now a working farm. This scenic island is made up of two large peaks divided by a thin sandy isthmus called the Neck. One of the archipelago’s wildlife hotspots, Saunders has over 11,000 pairs of breeding black-browed albatross, large colonies of gentoo, magellanic and rockhopper penguins, as well as elephant seals, cormorants, petrels and even a few king penguins. Separated from West Falkland by only a very narrow channel, Pebble Island also boasts concentrations of gentoo and rockhopper penguins, plus a substantial sheep population.
About the Falkland Islands (continued)
SEA LION ISLAND
A Sub-Antarctic Galapagos, Sea Lion Island is teeming with wildlife, including elephant seal, sea lion, penguin, orca and numerous wildlfowl and waders. The most southerly inhabited island in the Falklands, it measures five miles long and just over a mile at its widest point – perfect for exploring on foot. The island is home to the largest colony of elephant seals in the archipelago, with up to 2,000 of these grumpy animals hauled up on the dazzling white sand beaches at the height of the breeding season. Small groups of the rare southern sea lion also breed here and can be seen on the rocky coastal ledges as well as in the spectacular tussock grass plantations that cover one fifth of the island. Rockhopper, gentoo and Magellanic penguins can also be seen, while pods of orca are often spotted offshore- occasionally they have been spotted hunting elephant seal pups in large tidal pools on the island’s southeastern coast
The privately owned nature reserve of Volunteer Point, an impressive peninsula to the north of East Falkland, can be reached overland by 4×4 vehicle. The beach of the same name is two miles long with white sand bordered by high grassy banks, leading down to rolling greens. This provides the ideal habitat for three species of penguin to breed – most notably, over 1,200 breeding king penguins – the largest such colony in the world outside of South Georgia. A lengthened breeding cycle means that there are always fluffy brown chicks to be seen. Gentoo and magellanic penguins also nest along the peninsula and over 40 species of bird have been recorded in this area, including South American terns, rock cormorants and Falkland skua.