Falkland Island/Islas Malvinas
Located off the coast of Argentina, British occupied Falkland Islands is a barren, isolated island popular as a stop for those on Antarctica cruises. The real draw to the islands is its diverse wildlife.
The island has five different breeds of penguins alone. In addition to penguins, the Island is popular for sighting sea lions, albatross, a variety of sea birds and seals.
The Falkland Island is remote and fairly inaccessible. Despite being closer to Argentina than Chile, there are no direct flights to the island from Argentina. The only way to access the islands international airport in Mount Pleasant on East Falkland is either through Puntas Arenas, Chile (via Santiago) or from England on a military flight that makes a quick stop at Ascension Island on the route. The airfare costs approximately $1,000 roundtrip (return flight) from Chile, on LAN airlines, alone, and only fly’s on Saturday. A sample airfare from NYC to Mount Pleasant (via Chile) was approximately $2,300 as of January 2010.
The main city on the Island is Stanley, the only place on the island where amenities such as a bank can be found. Accommodations must be booked prior to entering the island and there are not many budget options. Because of the extreme weather during the Southern Hemispheres winter (and lack of wildlife) it is not really worth visiting the islands other outside the months of October through March. The best months to go (and also the most expensive) are November, December, January, and February.
There are two major tour companies that organize trips on the Falkland Islands from the United States, but Adventure Life, located in Montana offers the better deal for just Falkland trips without any additional cruise added on. Even so, an eight day wildlife tour on the island started at $3,050, including accommodations, some meals, tours on the island and internal flights on the island.