The Falkland Islands are composed of an archipelago off the coast of Argentina in the Atlantic Ocean, 280 miles northeast of the Tierra del Fuego. West Falkland and East Falkland are the two main islands, bisected by the Falkland Sound, and there are a staggering 766 smaller islands that make up the territory. The total land area is only about the size of the U.S. state of Connecticut, but travelers will be excited to find that the Falklands have a combined coastline that measures nearly 800 miles. Beautiful sandy white beaches reaching off the edge of clear blue waters are around almost every corner!
East Falkland is an excellent place to begin a Falklands cruise. It boasts the highest point on the islands; Mount Usborne reaches to 2,313 feet, and is the peak in Wickham Heights, one of the two mountain ranges on the islands. The rest of the countryside on East Falkland is made up of rolling meadows and bogs, with sandstone slopes showing through. Stone runs, quartzite boulders descending from ridges, are a common geological feature. There are two deep fjords cutting through the island, leaving Lafonia in the south, which is connected by an isthmus less than a mile wide.
East Falkland is also home to the capital city of Stanley is the capital of the Falkland Islands. It resembles an English village, and has only about 2,000 inhabitants. Stanley used to be a busy port town, as well as rehabilitation for boats and ships that had just rounded the treacherous Cape Horn. There is an excellent Maritime History Trail around the Stanley, and a cruise to the Falklands may provide the opportunity to search some of the most astonishing shipwrecks in the world.
West Falkland is hillier than its neighbor, with the mountain range of Hornby Hills running through its middle. Most of the meadows on this island are dedicated to sheep pasture. In fact, there are no native trees on the islands; shrubs and grasses dominate the landscape. The picturesque rivers Warrah and Charles make their way through West Falkland. A cruise through the Falklands will reveal the gorgeous inlets and numerous bays that characterize both large islands.
Other islands worth visiting are Carcass Island, known for the gardens in Port Patterson; Beaver Island with the impressive wreckage of a French yacht; Barren and George Islands for their penguin colonies; and New and Keppel Islands for their nature reserves. The Falklands are dotted with numerous other islands for travelers looking for a quiet getaway.