THERE’S EVERYWHERE ELSE, and then there’s the Falkland Islands. This almost treeless archipelago, sitting in the South Atlantic 300 miles from mainland South America, is a place like no other. Whichever way you arrive, your journey will be long and possibly rough, and you will finally set foot in a wild, blustery place containing 3,000 people; 700,000 sheep; a million penguins; and 20,000 land mines.
The figure that will impact you most is the number of people. This is a territory approximately the size of Connecticut with the population of a village. As outsiders, you and your family will be noticed … and welcomed.
A recent boom in tourism has largely been stimulated by a dramatic rise in cruise ship arrivals during the southern summer (October to March). Visiting as part of a cruise provides a flavor of the islands, but you miss out on the immersive experience of staying in local accommodation and becoming part of the community.
By air, weekly flights arrive from Santiago, Chile, with LATAM. Once a month the flights route via Argentina in order to pick up the families of Argentinian soldiers who died on the islands during the Falklands War. The war continues to overshadow life here, not least in the form of all those land mines. The British Royal Air Force operates two flights a week from Brize Norton airbase near Oxford, England; civilians (including American citizens) can book seats through the Falkland Islands Government Office in London. The round-trip flight currently costs £2,222 (about $2,910) for adults and £1,111 (about $1,455) for children.
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