The Falkland Islands are about as remote as you can get.
Located in the South Atlantic Ocean close to the bottom of the South American continent, this archipelago is a world of stunning, undisturbed and unbridled nature.
There’s an abundance of wildlife on the Falkland Islands including penguins and other bird species.
Whale and dolphin sightings are common here and seals and sea lions are popular coastal inhabitants.
These islands are a paradise for wildlife lovers who are eager for an adventure like no other.
Although the archipelago is typically tricky to get to, one eco-friendly expedition cruise have built it into their Antarctica trips to make it a bucket list experience of a lifetime.
Here’s how to see the best of the Falkland Islands wildlife with Hurtigruten Expeditions.
Why the Falkland Islands are a wildlife haven
The Falkland Islands are an important territory both for rare endemic species and migrating marine life.
Located in the South Atlantic, the Falklands are a remote archipelago made up of approximately 740 islands.
The rugged terrain, dramatic cliffs and pristine beaches make the territory a haven for migrating and breeding seabirds and a refuge for penguins.
The abundance of seals, sea lions and penguins make the waters around the Falklands a prime spot for orca.
Endangered whales feed here and dolphins inhabit the coast, allowing them to avoid being caught in fishing activities in nearshore waters.
Want to know how to get that perfect photo? Read our Essential Lessons From A Wildlife Photographer
Wildlife you can see in the Falkland Islands
The Falklands are home to 219 animal species and 175 types of plant, so they are a top spot for wildlife and nature spotting. Below are just some of the animals you can expect to see during your visit.
There are five species of penguin that inhabit the Falkland Islands. The most famous is the king penguin followed by Gentoo, rockhopper, golden and Magellanic penguins.
It’s thought there are approximately a million penguins living on the Falklands and the archipelago is a top spot for breeding.
You can see the fluffy chicks for yourself from December right through to January.
The main animals in the Falklands are birds, making the islands a paradise for bird watchers. Over 220 bird species have been spotted on the islands over the years.
There are several endemic species to look out for including The Falklands Brassemer, a grey flightless bird, the Cobb’s Wren and the Falklands Steamer Duck, another flightless bird known to locals as the Logger Duck.
Keep an eye out for the rare Striated Caracara and the black-browed albatross too.
Although there aren’t many mammals in the Falklands (the native wolf went extinct in 1876), the waters surrounding the archipelago are teeming with marine mammals.
You can see black and white orca, seals and sea lions and plenty of dolphins such as the hourglass dolphin, Peale’s dolphin, Commerson’s dolphin and pilot whales (which, despite the name, are in fact dolphins!).
Other whales you can spot are sperm whales, humpback whales, minke whales, fin whales, southern right whales and the occasional giant blue whale.
Another resident is the endangered sei whale.
The focus of dedicated research by Falklands Conservation, the sei whale and its unpredictable behaviour has made it difficult to study and the Falkland Islands are one of the few localities worldwide where they can be regularly observed.
Best Falkland Islands cruise experience
Depending on which Hurtigruten Expeditions cruise you choose (there are two cruise itineraries below), the Falkland Islands are the first or last vestiges of human civilisation after the icy wilderness of Antarctica.
Hurtigruten Expeditions’ itineraries make sure to include the best natural scenery that the Falklands have to offer as well as a chance to experience the local culture.
During the trip, the cruise will dock for the day at Stanley, the capital of the Falklands. There you can wander the streets on foot, taking in the red phone boxes, old pubs and a look around in the Historic Dockyard Museum.
The iconic whalebone arch at the entrance of Christ Church Cathedral is another must-visit during your trip.
From Stanley, you can join an excursion exploring the local area and meeting some of the local animal residents.
As the cruise moves towards the westernmost outposts in the Falklands, you’ll be able to spot remote farms that have been in the same families for generations.
You’ll also be invited to go ashore and hike across the islands and visit beaches that are particularly popular with penguins. These inquisitive creatures will even waddle right up close to you so make sure to bring along a good camera!
Why Hurtigruten Expeditions is the perfect Falkland Islands wildlife cruise
Hurtigruten Expeditions is not your standard cruise company.
They favour learning, adventure and personal growth over luxury. In operation since 1893, Hurtigruten Expeditions pride themselves on being the leading sustainable expedition cruise in the Polar Regions.
They offer their passengers unique and educational experiences in some of the most remote corners of the world in a way that leaves the smallest environmental footprint possible. Their whole philosophy is about leaving an impact on you rather than the planet.
Hurtigruten Expeditions trips are led by the UN Sustainable Development Goals framework and they frequently collect data to monitor their impact as closely as possible.
They’re the first major travel company to remove single-use plastic from their entire fleet and hotels. What’s more the team are dedicated to conservation through training, the Hurtigruten Foundation and taking part in beach cleanups every year.
They’re also building the first ever hybrid-electric cruise ships. One of which, the MS Roald Amundsen will be carrying passengers on the ‘great explorer’ cruise this December.
Hurtigruten Expeditions’ cruises are all about getting you immersed in the destinations you visit rather than flitting through them.
They invest in educating their guests on culture, the natural world and the effects of climate change on the places they visit. Every cruise has a dedicated team of experts who provide lectures and presentations onboard during your days at sea.
Hurtigruten Expeditions cruise itinerary highlights
Here are just some key itinerary highlights of the Hurtigruten Expeditions Falklands and Antarctica cruise to get excited about:
The Falkland Islands
Teeming with wildlife, the territory is a must-visit for wildlife lovers and adventure-seekers who are keen to explore the frontiers of Antarctica.
Here you can go ashore and explore the capital of Stanley and get a taste of what it’s like to live in one of the most remote archipelagos in the world. You’ll also hike across pristine landscapes and meet resident penguins that aren’t afraid to find out what you’re all about. The Falklands is truly a place like no other.
Antarctica is one of the most intrepid and unique places in the world where nature reigns supreme. Hurtigruten Expeditions pull out all the stops to make sure your visit is a memorable one.
Their Expedition Team will lead an adventure through the ice to a chilly world laden with icebergs. If the conditions are good, you’ll be invited to come ashore and explore Antarctica’s impressive scenery on foot.
Hurtigruten Expeditions will attempt landings at several spots in the South Shetlands and on the Antarctic Peninsula so you can observe the region’s diverse, dramatic and pristine wilderness. You’ll also get a chance to spot whales from the deck of the ship.
Total solar eclipse
On 4 December 2021, Antarctica’s icy waters will play host to a rare celestial event, a total solar eclipse. The likes of which will never be seen again in that exact spot for another 400 years.
During a total solar eclipse, the moon completely covers the sun for a few minutes. The sky goes dark and the birds fall silent as if holding their breath. Those that witness it say it’s a truly unforgettable experience.
Hurtigruten Expeditions plan to make sure it is with experts and professional photographers ready to help you get a memento of this special event.
Falklands Islands cruise itineraries
There are two Hurtigruten Expeditions cruises visiting the Falkland Islands. Both of them also include a trip to Antarctica and a chance to see the total solar eclipse. One cruise is called the ultimate expedition, a 23-day cruise on MS Fram starting in Buenos Aires. The other is the great explorer, an 18-day cruise from Santiago de Chile.
Check out the itineraries below:
Ultimate expedition cruise
The ultimate expedition cruise cruise has a jam-packed itinerary with the Falklands being the first stop to look forward to. Next, it’s across the ocean to South Georgia, another wildlife haven, then onwards to Antarctica and the total solar eclipse.
Day 1 – Buenos Aires
Days 2-3 – Buenos Aires to Ushuaia
Day 3 – Across the open sea
Days 4-5 – The Falkland Islands
Days 6-7 – Across the South Atlantic
Days 8-10 – Visit South Georgia, the ‘Galápagos of the Southern Ocean’
Days 11-12 – Lectures and scanning for wildlife on deck
Day 13 – South Orkney Islands for the total solar eclipse
Days 14-15 – Full steam ahead to Antarctica
Days 16-20 – Exploring Antarctica on land and sea
Days 21-22 – The Drake Passage
Day 23 – Ushuaia to Buenos Aires
Great explorer cruise
Sailing from Santiago de Chile, the MS Roald Amundsen crosses the Drake Passage and reaches the outskirts of Antarctica in time for the eclipse. Then it’s a trip to the Falklands before heading back home.
The MS Roald Amundsen is also the first ever hybrid-electric cruise ship.
Day 1 – Santiago de Chile
Day 2 – Santiago de Chile to Punta Arenas
Days 3-4 – The Drake Passage
Days 5-6 – Visit Antarctica on land and sea
Day 10 – Relax on board MS Roald Amundsen
Day 11 – South Orkney Islands for the total solar eclipse
Days 12-13 – Lectures and scanning for wildlife on deck
Days 14-16 – The Falkland Islands
Day 17 – The Magellan Strait
Day 18 – Punta Arenas to Santiago de Chile
Book your once in a lifetime cruise to the Falkland Islands or find out more about