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If you could only describe Port Stanley and the Falkland Islands archipelago in a few words, they would be “mysterious, remote, and pristine”. On a South America cruise, you might be expecting most of the stops to be glitzy metropolises, beachy resort towns, or lively capitals, but Falkland Islands is none of these things. Instead, you’ll feel like you’re at the edge of the earth, surrounded by colonies of species like sea lions and rockhopper penguins.
Port Stanley, the capital, is a jumping-off point for day trips to Gypsy Cove or Cape Pembroke, where you’ll be able to hear yourself think, blissfully. Take in the fresh air one big gulp of breath at a time. When you’re ready to explore on your Falkland Islands cruise, head to Pebble Island or Sea Lion Island to get up close and personal with the wildlife. Discover the island’s dramatic history over the centuries, repeatedly changing hands among multiple occupiers, at the Falkland Islands Museum. Climb to the top of the Cape Pembroke lighthouse and enjoy the fact that paradise on earth takes many unexpected forms.
You could walk the entire four mile long Elephant Beach of Pebble Island and still wish you had further to go. It’s the longest beach on all of the Falklands, and it’s a perfect place to commune with nature and spot exotic birdlife along the way.
Not just for sea lion sightings, Sea Lion Island is open from September to March each year, where huge populations of elephant seals and Rockhopper penguins live, too. Wildlife lovers will be inspired by the eclectic mix of animals that have made Sea Lion Island their habitat.
This privately owned nature preserve is another spot to see the protected species of the Falkland Islands. It’s also home to a beautiful, secluded white sand beach.
Discover the history of the Falkland Islands dating back hundreds of years all in one museum. It’s the perfect introduction to the rich stories of the islands and includes much-needed background information on the local landscape.
Hop in a taxi and head 15 minutes from the center of town to Gypsy Cove, a wildlife sighting area where you can frequently spot Magellanic penguins in the bay. You’re sure to leave with a new appreciation of wildlife after visiting the Falkland Islands.
A three-hour hike will get you to the stately black-and-white lighthouse located at the easternmost point of the Falklands. Get a lighthouse key from the museum and climb to the top for a panorama of the archipelago.
British cuisine has greatly influenced the Falkland Islands and the Port Stanley area, so expect plenty of hearty British dishes like stews, bangers and mash, and meat pies, as well as a cultural emphasis on teatime. Biscuits, tea ceremonies, and coffee are an important social aspect of daily life here. Try Globe Tavern for pub food like fish and chips and cold beer. Head to Bittersweet for sweets, coffee, bagels, and pastries for breakfast. On the weekend evenings, it turns into a lively, classy wine bar.
The remoteness of the Falkland Islands, also known as the “Islas Malvinas,” makes this archipelago a fascinating destination to explore. The population of the islands and islets was less than 4,000 people in 2016. The Falkland Islands are an overseas British territory, but they mostly regulate their own government. In the past, however, Argentina has tried to make multiple claims of ownership of the island, causing an ongoing argument between Britain and Argentina for decades. The islands were uninhabited when Europeans arrived in the 1600s, and colonizers included both the British, French, and Spanish at different times. Today, ecotourism is a huge reason why people flock to Port Stanley and the islands on a Falklands cruise. Today, the culture of the Falkland Islands is greatly influenced by British culture.
From your Falklands cruise ship, the tender boat will drop you off right in front of the visitor information center. There’s an information desk, maps of the island, phones, and internet so you can check in back home should you need to. This is a good spot to get additional information about island tours as well.
The town of Port Stanley is small enough to walk throughout the town to the destinations of your choice. There’s a three-day minimum requirement for renting a car in the Falkland Islands, so it’s not feasible for cruise passengers to rent a car here. Taxis are available throughout Port Stanley and are mostly concentrated at the cruise pier.
Falklands cruise passengers will find a gift shop near the port in the Visitor Center, which sells t-shirts, hats, trinkets, and other souvenirs to memorialize your Falkland Islands cruise.
The official currency of the Falkland Islands is the Falklands Islands pound. Note that there aren’t any ATMs in Port Stanley. Tipping isn’t common in the Falkland Islands, though you can round up to the nearest pound at restaurants or for a taxi driver if you wish.