For some travelers, the luxuries of cities, first-class accommodations, five star dining, and plushy comforts are the only way to travel. For others it’s the buoyant motion of a cruise ship on the high seas, whether in the Caribbean, along the eastern coast of South America, the western coast of North America, or the Mediterranean. And for others still is the call of the wild, the unknown, the untested, and the absolute remoteness of hidden islands and undeveloped countries that draws them in. Enter the Falkland Islands.
A remote series of islands in the South Atlantic Ocean just off the eastern coast of South America, the Falkland Islands are a British territory that most travelers never even hear about. Even today the total population of the islands is only around 3000 people, with nearly half of that made up of British military personnel at the Mt. Pleasant base. The other half are native Falklanders, called Kelpers. These are a rural people who wander the craggy landscape of the islands herding sheep, which outnumber the population nearly 200 to one.
At first glance there’s not much here, but as you dig deeper you will discover that the five species of penguins, the four species of seals, the giant colonies of albatrosses, and the various other fauna combine with the scenic beauty of the hilly, peat-based terrain to make for the perfect hiking expedition.
The island has a troubled history, with both Argentina and Britain claiming ownership of the island, even today. The Falkland War in 1982 was the last skirmish between the two countries, and the British have maintained a military base on the island since then, even though Argentina still claims the islands are theirs. In any case, getting to this remote series of islands will require some forethought and planning, and it’s absolutely not something a first-time traveler should undertake. However, if you love adventure and are willing to go out of the way to see some of the most unique specimens of seals, albatrosses, and penguins, then the Falkland Islands simply cannot be passed up.