Overview

The Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) lie 500km east of the coast of Argentina. Many people know a bit about their history, but few are aware of the wilderness beauty of this remote archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean. The islands have an unpolluted hilly environment with sprawling, wind-buffeted, tree-less landscapes and white sand beaches. A huge variety of wildlife inhabits or visits the archipelago and the fauna outnumbers the human population by 10-1. At least five species of penguin crowd the shores of the Falklands - gentoo, macaroni, rockhopper, king and African penguin. Elephant seals, sea-lions and seals, an abundance of birds, minke and killer whales can be spotted here, their mournful cries carried on the incessant winds.

Port Stanley, the capital, resembles a small English town fifty years ago, with squat, white, pitched roofed cottages, an Anglican seafront church and familiar red phone boxes. The hulks of ships abandoned a century ago lie in rocky coves, testament to an era when the islands were a port of call for passing ships before the opening of the Panama Canal. Nowadays, the 3,000 islanders remain British in outlook and descent, adhering to British laws and buying British goods.

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The weather in Falkland Islands is wide and varied

The remote wind-swept Falkland Islands lie exposed to the elements in the South Atlantic Ocean some 300 miles east of South America’s Patagonian coastline and 800 miles from Antarctica. Consisting of two main islands, East Falklands and West Falklands, and approximately 750 smaller islands this rugged, sparsely populated archipelago offers superb close-up wildlife encounters and some stunning wild landscapes. Although some visitors come for the fly fishing (September - April) or for battlefield tours to learn about the 1982 conflict, the vast majority of tourists come for the fabulous and abundant wildlife. Wildlife activity starts in the spring months of Sep and Oct but the long austral summer days between November and February, when the weather is at its best and the migratory birds, penguins and mammals have all arrived, is the best time to visit. The average temperature over these months is 13°C although on a clear sunny day, when the wind lets up, it can get as hot as 20-25°C. The wind is a constant most of the time and it’s common to experience all four seasons in the same day with a wind-chill that can make it feel colder than the average temperatures suggest. The autumn months of March and April still provide some good wildlife watching, but the days are shorter with less sunshine, it gets colder and by the end of April most migratory species have headed out to sea. Annual rainfall is relatively low and pretty evenly spread throughout the year. In fact, the islands get less rain and enjoy a similar amount of sunshine as the south coast of England, with an average of 6 - 7hrs a day between October and March. There’s little reason to visit between May and August as it’s very cold (2°C average in June and July), days are short and whilst you can still see Gentoo penguins (in reduced numbers), King penguins and smaller non-migratory birds there’s little other wildlife.

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