Tread Your Own Path in the Falkland Islands
With Autumn fast-approaching, it’s the perfect time to start planning your adventure to the Falkland Islands, located 400 miles off the south-eastern tip of South America. The latest edition of Footprint’s infamous South American Handbook is hot off the press, providing an essential resource for anyone heading to the Falklands - packed full of advice on how to get off the beaten track.
The Falkland Islands are a must for intrepid travellers passionate about wildlife, wilderness and discovery. Whether you’re interested in walking, wildlife, photography or history, you’ll find everything you need in this new Handbook: comprehensive listings for hotels, B&Bs and restaurants, activities, events listings plus photography and handy maps. Author, Ben Box, parts with his wisdom and first-hand experience of the destination with suggestions of where to go and what to do. One thing’s for sure, the Falkland Islands are full of surprises and here are the top five experiences not to miss off any Falklands itinerary - the ‘must-sees’ as well as some of the more unusual experiences: 1. See the Penguins at Volunteer Point: Home to the world’s most accessible colony of nesting king penguins, join a guided 4WD excursion to the turquoise waters and white sandy beaches of Volunteer Point. At just over 2.5 hours’ drive from the capital Stanley, visitors are guaranteed to see gentoo and Magellanic penguins, while sea lion and dolphins can often be seen in this wildlife sanctuary. 2. Island Hopping, Falklands-style: Travelling in a Falkland Islands Government Air Service 9-seater Britten Norman Islander aircraft is the way to take in this stunning archipelago. Where else would your pilot also be the postman and your lodge host double up as your airport baggage handler?! Flights operate to major settlements and islands including Sea Lion, Bleaker, Saunders, Pebble and Carcass Islands; each has a diversity of flora, fauna and natural beauty to discover. 3. Revisit Falklands History: Take a guided or self-guided historic walk around the capital, Stanley, to unveil a maritime history that spans back to the seventeenth century. The Falkland Islands Museum in Stanley shows a fascinating insight into the Islands’ past. A battlefield tour of Goose Green or Mount Tumbledown, led by local people with expert knowledge, will evoke memories of the 1982 conflict. 4. Boat Trip to West Point Island: Experience vast numbers of black-browed albatross, rockhopper penguins and superb cliff scenery on an excursion to this island off the most north-westerly point of West Falkland. During the hour-long boat journey dolphins will keep you entertained and on arrival you can explore the picturesque settlement. 5. Explore Camp: Camp is the local term for everything outside Stanley, derived from the Spanish for countryside, el campo. A Camp visit is a must for anyone wanting to experience the real Falklands – from working sheep farms to spectacular beaches bursting with plant life and wildlife, including elephant seals, sea lions and penguins. Tailor make your own Falklands adventure with Journey Latin America (www.journeylatinamerica.co.uk / 0208 747 8315), which offers an eight-day itinerary visiting Darwin, Pebble and Sea Lion Islands and Stanley from £1,261 per person. The price includes accommodation, domestic flights, some meals and most guided excursions. International flights excluded. Notes for Editors: • The Falkland Islands have a raw, unspoilt quality that entices locals and tourists back time and again. Visitors to the Islands are spoilt for choice with more than 227 species of identified birds (including several of the world’s largest endangered breeding colonies), as well as whales, dolphins, elephant seals, sea lions, delicate flora and rugged geographical formations. • The best time to visit the Islands and experience the local culture and wildlife is October to April. The average summer temperature (December to March) is 15º Celsius (59º Fahrenheit) and the Falklands has more sunshine hours and less rainfall than the UK. • There are over 40 international tour operators offering tailor-made packages and escorted tours to the Falkland Islands. See www.falklandislands.com for the latest list. • Visitors can reach the Falklands on the weekly LAN Airways flight via Chile or the charter flight operated twice weekly from RAF Brize Norton in the UK by the Ministry of Defence. • Footprint Handbooks has been publishing guides for independent travellers since 1924. The latest South America Handbook, released in September 2010, is the 86th edition. The guidebook includes 1,872 pages including 32 pages of colour photography and maps. • An inspiring mini-guide to the Falklands has been produced by the Falkland Islands Tourist Board and Footprint in conjunction with Wanderlust. For a hard copy please contact Keene on the number above or download from www.falklandislands.com.