When you are planning your next family vacation, you may want to consider a destination that is a little out of the ordinary. After all, there are so many places around the world that are much better than a Disney theme park or a local beach on the East Coast, but you need to keep an open mind and find them. If you truly want your kids to experience a fascinating vacation with you, considering the isolated Falkland Islands might be an incredible idea that will give you brownie points with the rest of your family.
The Falkland Islands
The Falkland Islands may be slightly off the beaten path, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a bunch of stuff to do once you arrive. Add in the miles upon miles of gorgeous beaches, stunning landscapes with even better views, and the opportunities to see wildlife around every turn and you may have found the piece of paradise you have always been looking for!
Where are the Falkland Islands?
When you look for the Falkland Islands on a map, you will see that they are an archipelago within the South Atlantic Ocean. These islands sit on the Patagonian Shelf, approximately three hundred miles to the east of South America and the Patagonian coastline. The two main islands are East Falkland and West Falkland and then there are about seven hundred and seventy-six smaller islands.
The United Kingdom owns the Falkland Islands and the capital of the Falkland Islands is Stanley, which is over on East Falkland. All the Falkland Islands people are born on these islands and the current Falkland Islands population is approximately four thousand.
Falkland Islands Travel
When it comes to Falkland Islands travel, getting there is easier than you could ever imagine. While you can arrive via sea, the most popular way to get to the Falkland Islands is by plane. The Falkland Islands airport is the Mount Pleasant Airport, MPN, which is on East Falkland Island. Once you arrive at the airport, you can board a shuttle bus, which will take you into Stanley and directly to your hotel.
If you do not plan on spending too much time in the Falkland Islands, or you simply want to include this destination in with many others, then a cruise is the way to go. There are at least forty different cruise ships that stop at the Falkland Islands during the summer months, so you can always choose one of those for your Falkland Islands adventures.
The Falkland Islands Weather
The Falkland Islands have two seasons, but don’t ever expect the weather in Falkland Islands to be too warm. These islands have a low temperature of thirty-two degrees Fahrenheit, while the high never gets over fifty-seven. While the sun does shine during the summer months, it is rarely out during the winter.
There is always a chance of rain when it comes to the weather in Falkland Islands, but the months of December through May are often the rainiest.
The Best Time to visit the Falkland Islands
Since it is almost always cold and rainy in the Falkland Islands, the best time to visit would actually be during austral summer. Those months are December through February and yes, you will still see rain. It is best to pack warm clothes, even during this time of the year, because there is still an excellent chance that you will be cold during your stay.
Where to stay on the Falkland Islands
The best place to stay on the Falkland Islands is Stanley, because this is the capital of the islands and where most of the people live. If you choose to stay in the capital of Falkland Islands, you will most likely see yourself staying in a hotel. While the hotels are wonderful, you have a better chance of immersing yourself into the lives of the locals when you choose to stay in a guest house or farmhouse.
Another option is to choose a cozy cottage out in the countryside, but please know that you will need to find a way to get there from the airport and also find a way to get to wherever you want to go. The locals can be helpful in this regard, so do not hesitate to ask them for recommendations.
What to See and Visit in the Falkland Islands
The small villages throughout East Falkland are quite fascinating, which is why this must be at the top of your list of things to do while in the Falkland Islands. I recommend starting your journey in Port Louis and branching out from there. Start at the least visited village of Salvador, because there is a plethora of wildlife to see. Don’t forget about Darwin though, as this is where you will see many horses. This little village was named after Charles Darwin, who happened to survey the land at one point.
Back in Stanley, there are multiple cemeteries to wander through. As you are walking around the tombstones, you will see quite a few monuments as well. A few of the more important monuments are the Cross of Sacrifice, Victory Green, the 1982 Liberation Memorial, and the Battle Memorial.
Over in Port Stanley Falkland Islands, you can spend an hour or two going through the Historic Dockyard Museum. This museum opened in 2014 and it mostly focuses on the maritime history of these islands. Take the time to check out the different buildings surrounding the museum which includes a blacksmith shop, storehouse, and a house that is filled with farm equipment.
The Christ Church Cathedral and Whalebone Arch is an interesting place to see when you are in Stanley Falkland Islands. This church is considered the Anglican church that is to the furthest south in the world and it was consecrated back in 1892. The entire church was constructed out of stone and it is one of the few buildings on the islands comprised of this material. The Whalebone Arch was constructed from two massive whalebones, which were found in 1933 and designated to be used for this project.
If you can get over to South Georgia Island, then a stop at the South Georgia Museum is a must. This was only a whaling museum when it opened back in 1991, but it has since changed to incorporate the history of the entire island.
What to Do in the Falkland Islands
One of the best things to do in the Falkland Islands is island hopping. While you can explore the main islands of East and West Falkland Islands, the smaller islands have quite a bit to offer too. A few of the better islands to explore include Bleaker Island, Carcass Island, Saunders Island, Pebble Island, Sea Lion Island, and Weddell Island.
Here is a breakdown of the beauty of each of those islands:
- Bleaker Island – This island is easy to walk around and during your stroll, you will see many animals. Those animals will include penguins, swans, caracara, sheathbills, and skuas.
- Carcass Island – This is a smaller island with beautiful beaches, sparkling bays, and hills that are easy to climb. During your visit, you will have ample opportunities to see sea lions, elephant seals, and penguins.
- Saunders Island – Saunders Island is larger and there are a few more accommodations than other islands. Numerous species of penguins live on this island, as well as albatross.
- Pebble Island – If you are looking for long strolls on a beach, then the four miles on Pebble Island is just what you have been looking for. You can also climb to the summit of a few mountains, when you are not relaxing in the sand watching the penguins and sea lions.
- Sea Lion Island – As you can probably imagine, this island has plenty of sea lions to see. But there are also penguins, seals, and numerous birds living in the long tussock grass.
- Weddell Island – This massive island has many new accommodations being constructed, so you will have even more options during your stay. Explore the rocky coves and bays filled with penguins, caracaras, hawks, and petrel before sitting down to watch the waves roll in.
When you are island hopping, it is recommended that you start to the north and work your way south. You can take a boat to these islands, but your best option is to take one of the Falkland Islands Government Air Service aircrafts. These aircrafts are similar to air taxis and you basically take off from the island when you are told.
It is also recommended that you stay on each island for two nights or more, as that will give you enough time to explore everything. Plus, since you never know what time you are being dropped off and picked up, you may not have enough time if you try to do it all with a quick overnight.
Day Trips in the Falkland Islands
There are going to be days when you do not want to see one island after another and spend so much time away from the main Falkland Islands. However, there will also be days when you will not want to stay in one place, especially if you have explored that area in depth already. This is where a few amazing days trips in the Falkland Islands can be helpful.
You may want to begin with a quick trip to Volunteer Point. This is where more than fifteen hundred King penguins live, and breed, and it is quite the sight to see. You would need to take a 4×4 to this part of the island and it will take about two-and-a-half hours to get there.
Cape Dolphin and Cape Bougainville are both to the north and they are both areas that are perfect for seeing numerous animals. Kelp Point is the best place to see elephant seals on the mainland and it involves quite the scenic drive across the island.
A family vacation to the Falkland Islands is definitely an experience that everyone in your family will remember. No day will ever be the same during your trip and you will see so many incredible destinations and attractions that will pique your attention as soon as you arrive. Memories that last a lifetime are the best thing that you will take away from a Falkland Islands vacation.