Top events in Falkland Islands

December
08

This is a national holiday that commemorates a event during the First World War when a small British fleet destroyed the German South Atlantic...

December
26

Organized by the Stanley Sports Association, this is a fun event for the entire family. A Christmas tradition, a horse race has been held in...

Penguins in the Falkland Islands
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Penguins in the Falkland Islands

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Falkland Islands Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

12,173 sq km (4,700 sq miles).

Population

2,912 (UN estimate 2016).

Population density

0.2 per sq km.

Capital

Stanley.

Government

British Overseas Territory, which is not recognised by Argentina, as it considers the Falkland Islands to be part of Argentina.

Head of state

Queen Elizabeth II since 1952, represented locally by Governor Colin Roberts since 2014.

Head of government

Chief Executive Barry Rowland since 2016.

Electricity

240 volts AC, 50Hz. British-style plugs with three square pins are used.

Nineteenth-century shipwrecks and a plethora of marine life are among the attractions awaiting visitors to the Falkland Islands. Although these islands are perhaps best known as the battleground of the eponymous 1982 war between Britain and Argentina, but this archipelago in the Atlantic is an intriguing and relaxing holiday destination.

Situated nearly 500km from Patagonia, the Falklands – or Islas Maldivas, depending on who you talk to – are a frequent stopping point on Antarctic voyages, and with such an abundance of rare animal life, it's not hard to see why. There are two main islands, East and West Falkland, as well as several hundred islets. Wildlife lovers will find strewn among them five different species of penguins (including macaroni, king, Magellanic, gentoo, and rockhopper), as well whales, and sea birds. Head to Volunteer Point for the islands' largest group of king penguins, while there are a predictably vast amount of sea lions to be found on Sea Lion Island.

Reminders of the 1982 conflict do remain, with battlefields, such as Goose Green and Pebble Island, now tourist attractions. Also claimed by Spain, France and Argentina over the years, the Falklands have been British Overseas Territory since 1833. Argentina famously still contests this status and there have been recent political ramblings on the matter by that country's government. However, a recent referendum found that an overwhelming majority of the 3,000 or so islanders want to remain under British rule.

Most of the Falkland Islands' population live in the capital Stanley, over whose harbour much avian life can be seen circling above the waves. More than a thousand members of the British military live at the Mount Pleasant Base. There's a rural feel to the islands, with hamlets and sheep abounding, while you'll find no traffic lights on the Falklands' country roads. There are more than a dozen endemic plants, including Felton's flower, thought to be extinct in the wild until recently, which gives off a whiff of caramel. Also, look out for the ubiquitous snakeplant.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 13 March 2017

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.


Weather

The weather can change rapidly and it is often possible to experience several seasons in a single day. The sun can be very strong, wear good sunglasses, a hat and high-factor sunscreen.

Air travel

You can fly between the Islands with the Falkland Islands Government Air Service (FIGAS) who operate four Britten Norman ‘Islander’ aircraft from Stanley airport; book directly through FIGAS or with a local tour operator. Check that your flight has been confirmed the afternoon before you are due to fly. In bad weather, check your flight is going ahead before you travel to the airport.

LAN Airlines of Chile operate a once weekly service to Mount Pleasant Airport from Punta Arenas in southern Chile. Onward air connections from Punta Arenas are available to Puerto Montt and Santiago de Chile, and onward from Santiago to other international destinations. Once a month this service stops in Rio Gallegos, on the southern coast of Argentina. The service will pick up passengers in Rio Gallegos on one week (usually the second Saturday of the month), and drop off passengers in Rio Gallegos the following week. Check with LAN in advance for up to date information on Chile/Falkland Islands air services.

The RAF operates a fare-paying service from RAF Brize Norton (via Ascension Island) to Mount Pleasant Airport twice weekly. This service can be subject to delays due to poor weather, especially during the southern hemisphere winter. Total journey time is approximately 22 hours. For further information and how to book this service visit the Falkland Islands website or contact the Falkland Islands Government Office. Carry some US dollars in case the flight is diverted to South America or North Africa.

Other charter aircraft from the UK occasionally operate a route to the Falkland Islands depending on demand. The Falkland Islands tourist board can advise further.

Road travel

Four wheel drive vehicles are most commonly used. Roads in Stanley are surfaced, as is some of the 35-mile Mount Pleasant Airport to Stanley road. There are around 600 miles of unsurfaced roads on the Islands. Coach, local bus and taxi services to and from Mount Pleasant Airport are available and can be booked in advance. Taxis are available in Stanley. Speed limits are 25mph in the Stanley area and 40mph on other roads.

Because of the condition of most roads, and the strong winds, you should take great care when driving outside Stanley, especially on the road between Mount Pleasant Airport and Stanley. Deaths have occurred on this road and accidents are commonplace. Self-drive four-by-four vehicles are available for hire and a UK driving licence is sufficient. Laws on the wearing of seat belts and drink driving are strictly enforced.

Mines

Unexploded ordnance from the 1982 conflict remains on the Falkland Islands and occasionally can be found on any of the major battle fields. All mine fields have been identified, are well mapped and fenced-off. The fences are hung with red warning triangles stating ‘mines’. It is an offence, punishable by imprisonment or large fine, to enter these areas, remove, damage or obscure the signs, or cut or remove any part of the fence. Detailed maps of minefield locations are available locally.

Falkland Islands Government London office

The Falkland Islands Government maintains an office in London that can provide further information for visitors:

Falkland Islands Government Office

Falkland House

14 Broadway

Westminster

LONDON

SW1H OBH

Telephone: 020 7222 2542

Fax: 020 7222 2375

Email: representative@falklands.gov.fk

Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.