Falkland Islands Holidays
The easiest way to get a mental image of the Falkland Islands is to think of the natural and wind-swept beauty of Tasmania. Visitors travel to this remote archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean mostly to see the wildlife. There are 778 islands, with the two largest being West Falkland and East Falkland. Most of the 3000 inhabitants live in the village-like capital city of Stanley, on East Falkland.
The majority of them are of British descent and clearly proud of it. Many visitors say that travelling there is to see a little slice of Britain. The Falkland Islands are self-governing but the UK takes a hand in matters such as defence and foreign affairs. Both the UK and Argentina lay claim to the Falkland Islands, resulting in the Falklands War in 1982.
The British military presence is still visible with soldiers on patrol and there are no-go zones in areas that are land mined. These are well signposted and fenced off and do not pose an impediment to general tourist movement or detract from the natural rugged beauty of the islands with their low mountains, boggy plains and rugged coastline.
Sea Lion, Pebble, Carcass, Bleaker, New, Saunders, West Point and Weddell islands are popular for their wildlife. They are the places to go to see penguins (the species include king, gentoo, rockhoppers, macaroni and magellanic), seals, orcas and thousands upon thousands of birds such as petrel, albatross and geese.
In Stanley, the main attractions are the battle monuments, the old architecture at places such as Christ Church Cathedral, and Whalebone Arch, made from the jawbones of two blue whales in 1933 to commemorate 100 years of British administration.
The Falkland Islands Museum is another major attraction, showcasing the culture, natural beauty and war history of the islands. The museum moved to a new and appealing location in 2014 and is now housed in historic dockyard buildings.
Eat and Drink
The Falkland Islands are known for sheep farming, so you’ll find a lot of mutton and lamb on the menu. Toothfish (Chilean sea bass) is another popular menu item. There are a handful of restaurants of high quality that serve local produce, as well as imported products like Uruguayan steak.
Many of the islands have catered guesthouse accommodation where the chefs prepare local produce. There are seven pubs in the Falklands, in which a pint of locally brewed Maiden Bitter or Peat Cutter Oatmeal Stout begs to be sampled.
Where to Stay
Stanley accommodation varies from hotels to guesthouses and home stays, where you stay in a private room in a Falklands Island home. Further out, at various island settlements, there are guesthouses as well as self-catered accommodation. The self-catered properties are the most affordable option.
The shops in Stanley are within walking distance of each other. There are quite a few gift stores that sell locally made things such as wool jumpers, as well as souvenirs. The town also has two supermarkets. Some settlements around the Falklands also sell their own locally made products. Look out for the beautifully knitted hats.
Falkland Islands Like a Local
Locals have many different sayings and slang. Often they call each other che, which is a take-off of the Spanish word for friend. If you really want to be part of things, participate in what the locals call a “two nighter”.
These occasions occur only a couple of times each year and are hosted by various settlements, with people getting together to socialise and take part in farm competitions and games. The “two nighters” are not widely known or advertised, but visitors are welcome.