This little gem of a country in the South Atlantic isn't a true Latin American travel destination, but because it has recently become a popular extension for visitors to southern Chile's Torres del Paine region in southern Patagonia and several cruise lines have added calls at capital city Stanley as well as wildlife-rich West Point Island to their Patagonia and Antarctica itineraries, we have included the Falkland Islands at LatinTravel.com.
This destination offers much variety. Visitors can opt for a pampered "camp" (anywhere outside of capital city Stanley) visit, enjoying hearty home-cooking and peaceful surroundings with golf and fishing nearby. Or they can visit untouched areas where animals have no fear of humans and can be closely approached. Featuring deluxe accommodations these remote locations allow visitors to view local colonies and rookeries of animals in their natural habitat. Guests are free to wander the cliffs and coasts on foot or in the less strenuous comfort of a lodge's Land Rover.
Tourism to the islands has blossomed in recent years due to the new Mount Pleasant airport 30 miles from Stanley. LanChile flights arrive weekly from Punta Arenas, Chile, a one-hour flight, and twice weekly from Oxfordshire, England, a 16-hour flight with a short stopover at Ascension Island.
The Falkland Islands Government Air Service (FIGAS) makes visiting "camp" and the eco-destinations on the smaller islands convenient. This network of eight-passenger planes (Britten-Normen BN2B "Islander" aircraft) operates daily flights that connect the islands' many airstrips on an "as needed" basis. Each evening a schedule of the following day's flights, compiled from reservations received, is broadcast over the radio and made available via fax-on-demand. Flights arrive according to schedule and follow strict safety procedures. The Indiana Jones aspect of island hopping via FIGAS planes is thrilling and allows breathtaking views of the landscape below.
Accommodations are plentiful. Stanley's two first-class hotels, the luxury "camp" lodges and a wide selection of bed and breakfast establishments and self-catering cottages throughout the islands provide lodging tailored to the interests and activities of guests.
Military buffs will find monuments and memories of the 1982 war with Argentina. Nature enthusiasts will enjoy the easy access to huge colonies of nesting birds, breeding penguins, seal and sea lions. During the Spring and Summer tourist season photographers will delight in the long, clear daylight hours and the opportunity to get quite close to animals that have not yet developed a fear of man. And everyone will enjoy the warm welcome and exceptional hospitality extended by the Falkland Islanders.
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