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Visiting the Falkland Islands

Updated: Dec 21, 2023

Stanley, Falkland Islands

Welcome to the Falkland Islands, which now sits in our top ten destinations, and we have only just realised it is not the easiest to visit. Of the three attempts we had with Oceania Cruises on our 110-day voyage around South America, only once was the weather kind enough to enable us to go ashore.

The Falkland Islands is a British overseas territory full of charm and captivating surprises. Let's start with the sheep and penguins outnumbering humans, believed to be half a million sheep and 1 million penguins! We also think we have found a contender for the world's most pristine white sand: move on to White Haven Beach.


As mentioned above, we were due to visit Stanley earlier on the cruise as we returned to Antarctica on the ship. Still, the tenders could not safely transport us to Stanley due to high winds, so the ship re-navigated for the Drake Passage.


This time, the weather was on our side as we sailed northbound from Antarctica, with the smoothest crossing of the Drake passage; passengers were even a little disappointed they missed out on the rock and roll of the Drake Shake.


Wayne and I made our way across to Stanley; the first up was to source some wifi, as Chile required another Visa. Our recent one had already expired. They neglected to read our finer details about returning on the ship and looking to generate more income from Aussies, the only nationality needing Visas!!

After bobbing up and down the short, windy passage across to Stanley in the tender, we arrived in the Capital. We found a cosy boutique hotel called The Waterfront Boutique Hotel, where we could access wifi, submit our application again, and enjoy a delicious British breakfast. The connection was via satellite, so you could purchase a voucher for £5, which gave you 200MB, so after 20 minutes, you were back buying another voucher. Ensure your photos are not syncing, which will instantly swallow up the data. After about one hour, we successfully submitted the application, and it is back in the hands of Chile to approve - fingers are crossed they are speedy, and in two weeks, when we return, we will have our green light for Chile.

Now it was time to explore this charming little town steeped in history and wildlife; it's the second-largest and most accessible colony of king penguins in the world. Falklands is home to about 3000 residents, of which nearly 400 live on the British military base on East Falkland.

Argentina also claimed the islands as the Islas Malvinas and was the site of a significant conflict between the two countries in 1982. Sadly, there were 1000 lives tragically lost during this battle between Argentina and Britain.

The Falkland Islands are located 650 km off the southeast coast of South America and consist of nearly 740 islands. The largest islands are called East Falkland and West Falkland, with the Capital Stanley located on the former. The total land mass of the Falkland Islands is approximately half the size of Wales. The landscape comprises mountain ranges, flat plains, rugged coastline, sandy white beaches (rivalling the best in the world) and cliffs.

After seven days of not venturing on land, it was time to get the body moving, so we spent the next few hours strolling the waterside and back streets, capturing the moments of this historical place. We loved being back amongst the British influence and seizing some candid moments.

Once we found our way back to the waterside where the ship was tendering, it was time to source a local gin, as they do have a gin distillery; unfortunately, it was not yet open. As we were considering our next plan of attack, our lovely friends Judy and Pete spotted us and invited us to visit the penguins. They had found a private driver (Mark Stroud 0050055100, sue.mark@horizon.co.fk) who could guarantee penguin sightings in a hidden cove called Yorke Bay, a bay difficult for the larger tour groups to access via a bus.

After a short scenic drive of 20 minutes, enjoying the panoramic view of the islands, including a stop in Whalebone Cove to capture the shipwreck of Lady Liz and tackle the dunes, we arrived in Yorke Bay.

After a short walk and as the horizon appeared, we were spellbound by the penguins all hanging out by the beach. Beneath them was the whitest and finest pristine sand we have ever seen. We were in the company of Gentoos, Magellanic, and even two King Penguins; what a treat.

We were all exploding with joy and even a few tears of delight; how precious it was to be so up close and personal with this colony of penguins where we could observe quietly. We, of course, respected their home and kept our distance. Recently, they have needed to place boundary flags due to Chinese tourists feeling it was okay to encroach on them and disrupt their homes!! Only recently have they also cleared the area of mines, which is now safe to visit.

We soaked up the atmosphere and enjoyed the experience, watching the penguins waddling, feeding, resting and playing; they have quirky little personalities and are fun to watch—cuteness overload.

At one stage, we all looked up, and we were visited by a pod of dolphins on the water's edge leaping out of the crystal blue waters. Magical!

It's a perfect day in the Falklands; it doesn't get much better. Although we were blessed with a stunning sunset this evening with a surprise delivery of the most delicious chocolate-dipped strawberries, a heartfelt thank you to our dear Ismail:-)

Our next adventure is 'Chile'. Join us as we revisit the Chilean Fjords and continue our 110-day journey with Oceania Cruises, the circumnavigation of South America.

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We hope to be doing this later this year,2024, very much looking forward to it, and so glad to have found your site, hopefully it will provide us with lots of information

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I am glad you are enjoying all the content,

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