1. When is the best time to go to the Falklands?
The best months to visit the Falklands are during the southern hemisphere summer. November, December, January, and February are most ideal, with warmer weather and an abundance of wildlife. Visits at this time may also be coordinated with an Antarctica cruise. However, the shoulder months--September-October and March-April--are less busy, traveler-wise, yet still offer good weather and many wildlife-viewing opportunities. The shoulder season is also ideal for those interested in Falklands fishing.
Average daytime temperatures during high summer measure around 60 degrees, while average nighttime temps are in the lower 40s. Prevailing winds blow from the west, and tend to be stronger in the summer than the winter. The islands are relatively sunny, with about 7.5 hours of daily sunshine in December and January. The west Falklands are generally wetter than the east, and all four seasons can be experienced in the course of one day, so keep this in mind while packing!
2. Are these trips suitable for kids?
These tours are not ideal for young children, as there is a fair bit of travel involved (internal flights, 4x4s on bumpy roads, etc.) and the excursions to historical sites and bird nesting spots will be of more interest to adults. However, these tours can appeal to older children (12-13 and above), and family accommodation is available on most of the islands.
3. Are these trips good for solo travelers?
Absolutely! There is a small single supplement, but overall the costs are comparable for a solo traveler. The intimacy of the islands and shared interests in wildlife, nature, and history allow travelers to easily meet others. Solo travelers should also take a look at our exclusive Solo Traveler Departures.
4. Do tour rates include international flights?
Tour rates do not include international flights. We find that it is usually less expensive for travelers to book these separately and this also allows you the flexibility to choose the schedule and routing that is most convenient for you. You can purchase international flights directly through a number of online options. Alternatively, we can help you arrange these flights with an airfare consolidator who specializes in South America flights.
5. Do tour rates include internal flights and/or hotel before or after the tour?
Yes, these rates do include the inter-island flights. Packages do not include hotel nights in Santiago or Punta Arenas, but we are happy to arrange these if you wish.
6. How do I get from the airport to the hotel when I arrive?
Our representative will be waiting for you when your flight arrives at the Mount Pleasant Airport and will transfer you to your hotel or lodge.
7. How much should I budget for tips?
Unlike Latin America, tipping is not really part of Falkland Islands culture and is not expected. Tipping in restaurants is common but not the standard. If you feel that you've received exceptional service from a guide, you may give him or her a tip, but again, this is not required.
8. How far in advance should I book?
Although you can book your Falklands tour anytime, we generally recommend at least 3-4 months notice, particularly for Christmas and spring break departures. Travelers who book early will have more flexibility in their tour arrangements.
Last-minute travelers can also be accommodated but may have limited options. For last minute bookings, it helps to be flexible and organized. Your first choice tour may not be available for your selected dates, but your trip coordinator can probably recommend some other similar options that would be equally enjoyable. You may be asked to send your registration form and trip payment in right away to secure your spaces.
9. Can I extend my stay?
Absolutely! Travelers commonly add tours to Chile, Argentina, or Antarctica to their Falkland Islands tour. Extra days can also be arranged in the Falkland Islands, but the once-a-week flight schedule restricts flexibility somewhat. Check out our Stanley Day Tours page for more information.
10. What airport do I fly into?
The international airport in the Falkland Islands is the Mount Pleasant Airport (MPA) on East Falkland, about a one-hour drive from Stanley. It is a military facility that handles both military and commercial flights to the Islands. There is only one commercial flight per week; it arrives from and returns to Santiago, Chile, each Saturday.
11. Are meals included?
Most meals are included on our Falklands excursions. We have tried to balance flexibility and convenience regarding meal options. Most of the accommodation is full board, and the lodges provide travelers with generous portions for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and "smoko"--homemade cakes with tea and coffee taken in the mid-morning and mid-afternoon. In Stanley, where there are various restaurant options, we have not included meals, to allow our travelers the flexibility of choosing their own food preferences.
Meals served in the Falklands encompass a wide variety of food. Generally British in character, ingredients often include local, organic meat (mutton, lamb, beef, pork) and vegetables. Falkland seafood is also excellent. As accommodations outside of Stanley provide catering on a set menu (as opposed to a la carte), it is particularly important that travelers advise us of any special dietary requirements or food allergies.
12. What are the tour leaders like?
You will have multiple local guides on your Falkland Islands tour. For each excursion, your driver or guide will be local to that particular destination--Sea Lion Island, Stanley, etc. On unstructured days you will be picked up and transferred to your lodging by your hosts, and they will be happy to give suggestions and recommendations for things to do in the area.
13. What are the accommodations like?
In Stanley, multiple hotel and guesthouse options are available. Outside of Stanley, accommodation is generally in converted farmhouse lodges. These lodges are cozy and comfortable, and you will find your hosts to be friendly and accommodating. Most of the rooms have en-suite bathrooms, but often the single rooms share one or two bathrooms. For travellers interested in going further off the beaten path, there are self-catering cottages scattered across the more remote islands. Food can be bought in the settlement or pre-catered meal packs can be brought from Stanley. Because these accommodations are more isolated, they are especially ideal for prime wildlife viewing or simply taking a break from the bustle of modern life.
14. What type of transportation is used?
Inter-island transportation is provided by the Falkland Islands Government Air Services (FIGAS). FIGAS operates 8-seater Britten Norman Islander aircraft from the Stanley airport and between the various islands. The aircraft land on grass strips or beaches on the islands. The flying is relatively low, and offers stunning views of the Falkland archipelago. Due to the small size of the plane, passengers are limited to 14 kg (~30 lbs) of luggage, including carry-ons. There are no fixed schedules for FIGAS; flights are arranged on a day-by-day basis subject to demand.
On the islands, you will most often be transported by 4x4 vehicle, as the roads meander over rough terrain--be prepared for a somewhat bumpy ride on your way to see the wildlife! Private vans or cars will transport you to and from the airport and around Stanley.
15. What should I pack?
After you book your tour, you will receive a detailed packing list with your departure packet. Casual clothing is the order in the Falkland Islands. Bring clothing that would be comfortable to wear in the northern U.S. or England in the spring. Think layers! Absolutely essential are a fleece or sweater, a windproof jacket with a hood or hat, and a sturdy pair of walking boots or shoes for crossing over rough terrain. Shoes or slippers for indoor use are also handy. Sunscreen, chapstick, and sunglasses are recommended for protection against the wind and sunshine. Binoculars always enhance wildlife watching; a lightweight, compact pair would be ideal.
Make sure to bring personal toiletries, as these items are not usually provided in the hotels, lodges, or bed and breakfasts. Such items can be purchased in Stanley but are generally more expensive than you would find them at home. If you use a film camera, make sure to bring plenty of film, as it is becoming less available with the advent of digital photography. Also bring sufficient memory cards, as facilities for downloading photos from digital cameras are not available at all locations.
16. What immunizations are required?
No immunizations are required for entry into the Falklands. Travelers extending their stay in Chile or Argentina should check the immunization/ health recommendations for these respective areas. Hepatitis A, Typhoid, and Tetanus are generally recommended for any South American travel. Talk to your doctor or visit the Center for Disease Control
website for more information.
17. How safe are the Falkland Islands?
There are probably very few places that are safer than the Falklands. Stanley prides itself on being the safest capital in the world; there has never been a case of mugging or pick-pocketing there. The one thing visitors need to keep in mind is that vehicles drive on the left-hand side of the road, and thus traffic may seem to come from an unexpected direction. Make sure you look both ways before crossing the street!
18. Do I need a converter/adaptor for electricity?
North Americans will need both a converter and adaptor, as the Falklands use the United Kingdom standard system, 240 volt/50 Hz with a type G rectangular plug (not the same as in North America).
19. Is the water safe to drink?
Yes, the tap water is safe to drink. Travelers wanting bottled water can purchase it in Stanley.
20. What is the local currency?
The Falkland Islands use the Falkland pound, which is equivalent to the British pound. English sterling is universally accepted. U.S. Dollars and Euros are also widely accepted in Stanley at the prevailing rate of exchange.
21. Should I bring cash or traveler's checks? Are ATMs available? Can I use credit cards?
If you want to use cash, it is best to bring it with you, as there are no ATMs in the Falkland Islands. You may want cash to use at the smaller stores in the settlements outside Stanley, as well as to pay the departure Airport Tax (currently GBP 22 per person, but subject to change). This tax can be paid only in cash or traveler's checks.
Traveler's checks, Visa, and MasterCard are widely accepted in Stanley. Currency exchange and cash back on credit cards are available at the Standard Chartered Bank in Stanley (open 8:30 am to 3:00 pm M-F). No South American currencies are accepted or exchanged in the Falkland Islands.
Note: There are no ATM/automated cash facilities in the Falkland Islands, and no foreign cash exchange facilities at the international airport.
22. Can I use my cell phone?
Check with your cell phone provider. Each company is different and they can give you the most up-to-date information. There is only limited cell phone coverage which currently covers only the top half of East Falkland.
International calls can be made from your lodge or hotel, from the Cable and Wireless store, or from Stanley's numerous public phones, which require a pre-paid phone card. These cards can be purchased in numerous places in Stanley.
23. Is there internet access?
Currently there are four places in Stanley that provide internet access: the Jetty Visitor Center, the Waterfront, Zaks Computers, and the Lighthouse Seaman's Centre. There may be more options in the future.
24. Do I need a visa/passport?
Travelers will need a passport valid for at least 6 months after they depart. Citizens of the U.S., U.K., and E.U. do not need a visa in order to visit the Falkland Islands. However, entry requirements change with surprising frequency. It is each traveler's responsibility to check with the consulate for the most up-to-date visa information.
All arriving travelers must possess a return air ticket or other evidence of prepaid onward travel arrangements. Travelers must also have evidence in the form of cash or major credit card of sufficient funds to cover their expected stay in the Falklands. Pre-arranged accommodation in the Islands is also required.
25. In what time zone are the Falkland Islands?
The Falklands are 4 hours behind GMT (same as EST). The Islands do observe Daylight Savings Time from September to April, and are then only 3 hours behind GMT.
26. Is travel insurance recommended?
Absolutely!!! It is essential that prior to your arrival you obtain medical insurance which also provides for aero-medical evacuation. We work with a company called TravelGuard that provides reasonably priced insurance for trip cancellation, medical expenses, medical evacuation, lost bags, etc. They have two different types of insurance available, depending upon whether or not you will need the cancellation coverage. Check out our Once You're Booked page for more information.