And Beyond

Located 300 miles off the coast of Argentina, the Falklands are some of the most remote inhabited islands on earth. The total area of this sparsely populated, 200-island archipelago is roughly that of Connecticut, although its climate is more reminiscent of Maine during spring.

Port Stanley, the world’s smallest capital city, is a charming English-style village of stone cottages, pubs, red mail boxes and fluttering union flags. Although the British have continuously occupied these islands since 1833, London is as far north of the Equator as the Falklands are south. Stanley’s highlights include its 19th Century cathedral, history museum and the Maritime History Trail, which points out several of the Falklands’ record number of visible shipwrecks.

In the late 1800’s, Scottish shepherds brought their flocks to the islands. These immigrants were soon influenced by the horse culture of local gauchos. Today, Falklander horsemanship is exhibited at the annual Sports Days, a two-day event that also includes bull rides, sheep-dog trials and woolen-goods sales.

When Charles Darwin visited East Falkland in 1833, he was awed by the abundant animal life. Today, visitors come to view southern fur, leopard and elephant seals; southern sea lions; killer whales and six species of dolphin. In addition, more than 40 bird species can be seen here, including black-browed albatross, giant petrels and six species of penguins.

As the penguins can attest, the islands are excellent fishing grounds. Deep sea charters can be arranged, as can river fishing trips seeking sea trout, mullet and smelt.

The Falkland Islands can be reached via weekly flights departing Puerto Montt and Punta Arenas, Chile. Several cruise lines also drop anchor here. Once in Stanley, the outer islands can be accessed by boat. The best time to visit is from October to March, when long daylight hours coincide with wildlife breeding seasons.