Embrace your adventurous side and fly to this faraway archipelago in the middle of the mighty Atlantic Ocean. On the Islas Malvinas you will find rugged landscapes, vast empty white sand beaches, huge blue skies - and an amazing array of bird and marine life.
The Falklands remain something of a mystery to many of us, a blustery and remote outpost fought over by colonial powers. This group of more than 700 islands sits a few hundred miles from the South American coast in the southern Atlantic, and has similar wildlife to that of Patagonia. There are no native reptiles and the only native mammal (the warrah, a type of fox) is now extinct. Small bushes and grasses thrive on the islands as there are no native trees, providing a perfect microclimate for birds and insects.
The small yet hardy British population (civilian and military) is joined by five penguin species (King, Rockhopper, Magellanic, Gentoo and Macaroni) and all kinds of birdlife including albatrosses, geese, herons, egrets, grebes and steamer ducks. The chilly waters surrounding the Falkland Islands are home to a variety of marine life, from whales and dolphins to seals and sea lions. Nature is very accessible here, and not overrun with tourists.
Rarely will you have the opportunity to see such fascinating creatures in their very wild, natural environment.
To be on the islands for the peak of the wildlife action and the warmest weather, visit between December and February. Other times of year have their highlights too, with adorable elephant seal pups prevalent in October/November and Magellanic penguins crowding the beaches in March/April ready for their journeys overseas.
East and West Falkland are the main islands and international flights land at Mount Pleasant Military Complex (MPN) close to the capital Stanley, on the East island. Flights generally come via Chile with LAN Airlines who have partnerships with major international carriers. Many visitors to the Falklands are on cruise holiday excursions. If you're travelling independently make sure you pre-book your accommodation, which can range from homestays, lodges and hotels to hostels or wilderness camping. Take a look at the Falkland Islands Tourist Board website which has comprehensive information on accommodation, tours, boat trips and travel across the archipelago.
Gypsy Cove, a small white sand bay with a colony of Magellanic penguins, is the easiest wildlife hotspot to reach from Stanley. One of the most popular sites for bird watching is Volunteer Point, home to the largest king penguin colony on the Falklands. Bleaker Island and Bull Point also have a healthy choice of penguin species to observe. Hiring a guide for off-road wildlife watching is recommended.
Falklands weather conditions can change fast, so always carry plenty of layers and waterproofs, plus sun protection gear for those fierce rays. It's worth noting that there is only one bank on the islands (in Stanley) and no cash machines anywhere, at all. Cash and credit cards essential!
Depending on your interests and tastes, you could visit the Falklands in style by booking an excursion on a South American voyage with Princess Cruises...or a bespoke Falkland Island holiday might be more your thing. For an unforgettable journey to the Islas Malvinas, take a MOD flight from RAF Brize Norton in the UK to Mount Pleasant with a stop at the gob-smackingly isolated Ascension Island.
Have your camera with you at all times on the Falkland Islands, and don't miss those spectacular island sunrise and sunset shots!
Wildlife-watching, camping, hiking or fishing...a holiday on the Falkland Islands will take your bucket list off the beaten track and into the wild.