A little bit of England in the Southern Hemisphere, the Falkland Islands are a British Overseas Territory located off Argentina's southern Patagonian coast. The small population is mostly of British origin and engaged in sheep farming, fishing, oil exploration, and tourism. Both large cruise ships and expedition vessels call here regularly during the summer months, when visitors can experience the wildlife, hikes, and charming ambiance of Stanley, the capital.
What We Love
Stanley: You'll go ashore at the island's capital, which has just over 2,000 residents. Spend the day visiting the cathedral, whalebone arch, government house, pubs, and the museum, a repository of the islands' wildlife and history in photographs.
Rockhoppers: Take an excursion to see this enchanting species of penguins. They leap out of the sea to get to their nesting sites and play follow-the-leader along the cliffs. If the leader stops, so do those behind until it's ready to continue.
Best Known For
Wildlife: You may come into contact with flightless steamer ducks, albatross, and many species of penguins, including the Magellanic. They live in burrows and, if you're hiking, may pop up to see who's coming down the path.
The Falkands War: If you have a chance to speak to the locals, ask them about the 1982 war with Argentina, and be sure to listen and not argue with their positions. They've chosen to live under the Union Jack.
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Who It's Best For
Collectors of Remote Places: Quite a few ships do call during the summer season, but most of the time, the Falkland islanders live a remote life. Arrive on a one-ship day to see what a delightfully peaceful place it is.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
The Weather Could Prevent a Visit: Storms arrive, sometimes with great intensity (see the shipwrecks in the harbor and historic accounts in Stanley's museum). If the wind is strong, your cruise ship may not be able to disembark passengers into tenders.
Theodore W. Scull is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has written several books on crossings.