The Falkland Islands, comprised of two main islands and several hundred smaller islands in the South Atlantic, is an archipelago located 300 miles (500km) off the east coast of southern South America. It has an internal self-governance, being a British overseas territory, with the United Kingdom taking responsibility for their defence and foreign affairs. The islands' capital is Stanley on East Falkland. The islands lie on the boundary of the subarctic oceanic and tundra climate zones, with both major islands having mountain ranges reaching 2,300 feet (700 metres). The Falkland Islands have a population that primarily consists of native Falkland Islanders, the majority of British descent, with other ethnicities including French, Gibraltarian, and Scandinavian.
The islands are home to large bird populations, although many no longer breed on the main islands due to the competition from introduced species. Major economic activities include fishing, tourism, and sheep farming, with an emphasis on high-quality wool exports.
What to see & do
Since the Falkland Islands are a biogeographical part of the mild Antarctic zone, it also has connections to the flora and fauna of Patagonia in mainland South America. Enjoy the sights of land birds that comprise most of the Falklands' avifauna; 63 species breed on the islands, including 16 endemic species.
Visit Christ Church Cathedral; follow the Maritime History Trail, where you’ll gain insight about Stanley Harbour’s most interesting ship; visit Falkland Islands Museum, Stanley Cemetery & Memorial Wood, and Government House, as well as landmarks like the 1914 Battle of Falklands Memorial and 1982 Battle of Falklands Memorial.
How to get around within Falkland Islands
Air transit is one way to get around the islands. It is generally done using the Falkland Islands Government Air Service (FIGAS) via Britten Norman Islander aircraft (capable of carrying eight passengers plus pilot). With the exception of Stanley and Mount Pleasant, all airstrips in the Falklands are either dirt strips or grassy fields. FIGAS flights leave twice daily from the airstrip just outside of Stanley and travel to a variety of locations throughout the islands. You must make reservations and book your destination at least 24 hours prior to ensure travel. Although regular ferry service has not been available since 2010, there’s a regular passenger ferry between New Haven, a two-hour car journey from Stanley to Port Howard. The most common way of getting in the islands, however, is by large cruise ships. Most will make several landings at various islands.
How to get there
There are two ways of getting into the islands: by plane and ferry. Most international flights arrive at the Mount Pleasant (MPN) Airport, which also functions as a military base. The only international carriers that use this airport are Lan Chile (weekly flights from Santiago de Chile via Punta Arenas, monthly flights from Rio Gallegos) and the UK Royal Air Force who carry commercial passengers direct from RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire in the United Kingdom. There is also an airport in Stanley (PSY) but it has a smaller runway and is used primarily for flights within the Falklands. There are large cruise ships that stop at Stanley's port throughout the summer.