Port Stanley from the Ship
Language and Currency
What are the Falkland Islands Like?
What is the Weather Like?
Where Does the Ship Dock?
Where is the Shopping?
What is There to Buy?
What is There To Do?
Is There Anything of a “Don’t Miss Quality?
Are There Any Great Restaurants or Bars?
English is the official language of the Falkland Islands and the currency is the Falkland Island pound (equivalent to the British Sterling).
The Falkland Islands consist of 2 main islands and a group of small landmasses located 300 miles east of the Argentine Patagonian coastline and 480 miles northeast of Cape Horn. It is the most accessible of the sub-Antarctic islands. With a population of approximately 2000, 2/3 of which live in Port Stanley, Falkland Island is the smallest, most remote capital city in the world. This very British island was invaded by Argentina in 1982, but a counter-invasion by Britain led to reclamation of the island within 3 months. Its’ pubs, neat gardens, British ‘bobbies’, red mailboxes and the Union flag flown over the Government House leave no doubt that British roots run deep. This very unique port is built on the north facing slope of the island to catch the sun year round and overlooks Stanley Harbour. Houses with brightly corrugated metal roofs dot the hillside and are a striking contrast to the surrounding countryside. The residents are extremely hospitable as they welcome you to this very isolated, but not insular, part of the world.
The climate is temperate, but generally cold, wet and windy. Even in summer the maximum temperature is 75°F. It was a pleasant, mild day on my visit, but locals informed me that this was an unusually nice day
Ships anchor in Falkland Sound and passengers are tendered through Narrows to a small pier in Stanley Harbour. It takes about 20 -25 minutes to reach the pier by tender.
This very small harbor town is easily navigable by foot and shopping is scattered about the 3 “downtown area” streets that run parallel to the harbor (Ross Rd, John St, and Fitzroy Rd.). All 3 streets intersect Philomel Hill, directly across from the pier.
Choices are somewhat limited here, but every imaginable form of penguin paraphernalia, and Falkland Island wool products, particularly the popular ‘Falklander Sweater’, are good choices. (The Falkland Wool Center very near the pier is your best bet for wool purchases).
The only excursion that some ships offer is a city tour and many cruise ships offer no excursions at this port. Available tours and activities are limited at this port of call, as are taxis. It is, however, very easy to see most of the islands worthwhile sites on a short walking tour. Stop at the tourist station at the pier for a town map and follow the Stanley Harbour Maritime History Trail. Information panels document the shipwrecks that surround Port Stanley. As you walk along the harbor, don’t miss the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the black-browed albatross, giant petrels and steamer ducks that inhabit the port in summer. While on the trail you will also pass Christ Church Cathedral and the adjacent Whalebone Arch which was erected in 1933 to celebrate 100 years of British rule. Continuing on Ross Road you will see the 1982 granite War Memorial, and just pass the Government House; off Ross Road is the Falkland Island Museum.
Whale Bone Arch in Port Stanley
Here you can learn about island history and origins. That brings you to the end of the tour, with plenty of time left over to wander into the gift shops, and visit the numerous pubs scattered throughout the town. If you have a need to see more penguins, you can hire a cab (if one is available) for the 20 minute ride to the penguin colony at Gypsy Cove. Here anywhere from a few to 100 penguins can be seen.
Actually, although there is not much to see or do, don’t miss the opportunity to talk to the locals. The local tourist board works very hard to put out the welcome mat for visitors and you will find the hospitality and friendliness refreshing.
Enjoying a hearty draught and some British-style ‘fish and chips’ is a must and I would suggest you sample both at the Victory Bar on Philomel Hill. Be aware that it can get very crowded and this small establishment has limited seating, but definitely worth a stop.