Wander In Stanley Falkland Islands

Wander In Stanley Falkland Islands.jpg

Much To See On A Wander In Stanley Falkland Islands

After our great day in Punta del Este in Uruguay, we headed south and took the time to wander in Stanley Falkland Islands on our visit for the day. And we did not leave before we saw penguins on our stop in Stanley. We were sure excited when we moved into this exciting part of our cruise around South America.

It was a rough two day cruise south from Uruguay to the Falkland Islands. Many cruise ship passengers never got to see the Falkland Islands because the seas were too rough and the tender couldn’t make it into the port. We watched the weather and were happy when the captain of Oceania Cruises Marina announced that the weather was good for our visit.

Even if the skies were grey, the winds were calm. The tender boat ride into Stanley was uneventful. Although it was a little rougher on the way back to the ship. We were happy we went in early and had a chance to wander in Stanley Falkland Islands before our excursion. And our trip to visit Bluff Cove Lagoon for penguins was a huge success.

Falkland Islands History

The Falkland Islands was historically a spot used as a stopping point before the trip around Cape Horn. When the Panama Canal was opened, much of the ship traffic no longer had to do that trip. So businesses in the Falkland Islands floundered.

Over time, many different nations governed the Falkland Islands, including France, Spain, USA and Argentina. But, although legally governed by British since 1833, the Argentinians believed this set of islands belonged to them. The population was loyal to the Queen when in 1982, Argentina executed a surprise invasion of the island to wrest control from the British.

After a deadly war, the island remained in the hands of the British. In a 2013 referendum, an overwhelming 99.8% of the Falkland residents voted to remain British citizens. Although Argentina still believed Islas Malvinas was theirs. When we visited it was still occupied by a British Army Garrison of about 1200 personnel.

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As we walked in Stanley, we stopped at the 1982 Liberation Memorial. This memorial was installed to commemorate the British Forces, lead by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, that fought in the Falklands War. That war saw the cruise ship Queen Elizabeth 2 refitted to be a military troop carrier. And resulted in almost 1,000 dead.

1982 Liberation Memorial - Wander In Stanley Falkland Islands.jpg

1982 Liberation Memorial - Wander In Stanley Falkland Islands.jpg

1982 Liberation Memorial.jpg

1982 Liberation Memorial Margaret Thatcher - Wander In Stanley Falkland Islands.jpg

We learned about the various facilities the Stanley residents built to support the garrisoned troops. The history of the Falkland Islands was interesting to hear from the locals as we toured and visited Bluff Cove Lagoon for penguins in Stanley.

Walking Around Town

The ship was anchored in the bay and the tender docked just outside the small town of Stanley. We donned our rain ponchos and explored the town. Everywhere we looked, there were signs and reminders that we were in penguin land.

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Penguin Telephone Booth - Wander In Stanley Falkland Islands.jpg

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But on a wander in Stanley Falkland Islands the strong British heritage in this town was very easy to see. We saw many iconic sights we remembered from visits to London.

British Heritage.jpg

British Heritage Town Hall - Wander In Stanley Falkland Islands.jpg

Visiting The Churches In Stanley

Our first stop was the Anglican Christ Church Cathedral from 1892. We took the iconic photo of the church with the Whalebone Arch. A reminder of what part of the world we visited.

Christ Church Cathedral.jpg

Christ Church Cathedral WhaleBone Arch - Wander In Stanley Falkland Islands.jpg

Big signs outside the church welcomed the Oceania Cruises Marina guests. We went in and admired the many beautiful stained glass windows.

Christ Church Cathedral Stained Glass - Wander In Stanley Falkland Islands.jpg

Christ Church Cathedral Stained Glass.jpg

Christ Church Cathedral Stained Glass - Wander In Stanley Falkland Islands.jpg

A woman played on the large organ as we wandered. There were well written headstone-like plaques on the inside walls to read.

Christ Church Cathedral Organ.jpg

We moved along the main street and passed the austere St Mary’s Catholic Church. This one was closed so we did not go inside.

St Marys Church - Wander In Stanley Falkland Islands.jpg

Other Sights On A Wander In Stanley Falkland Islands

All along the main street we stopped and looked at the sights. Colourful houses with flowers still in bloom greeted us.

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Views out over the harbour drew us in to look at the cannons and the old ship’s mizzen mast from the multi-masted sailing vessel “Great Britain”. We wished we had time to visit the maritime museum.

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Town Great Mizzen Mast - Wander In Stanley Falkland Islands.jpg

Town Dockyard Museum - Wander In Stanley Falkland Islands.jpg

We had enough time to find “The Narrows” pub for lunch. Of course we had the local fish and chips. But were a bit disappointed when the locally brewed beer Falkland Beerworks, made next door, was all sold out. We missed out on beers with names like London Pride and Rock Hopper made by probably the world’s most remote microbrewery. Lunch was extra enjoyable as Oceania’s Cruise Director Paul joined for some camaraderie.

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We enjoyed a wander in Stanley before we visited Bluff Cove Lagoon for penguins.

Drive From Stanley To Bluff Cove Lagoon For Penguins

At the port, we were divided into 16 person groups and put in mini buses. The drive from Stanley to Bluff Cove Lagoon for the penguins took about 45 minutes. Along the way we learned more about Stanley and the Falkland Islands. Mini buses from the company passed by regularly as they headed back to Stanley after their penguin excursions.

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We were surprised when we learned that there were more than 500,000 sheep on the island. And as many as one million penguins nested on the island in season. These numbers far outweighed the local population of about 3,500 and the tourist population of about 7,000. Along our drive we saw birds and horses. But not a single sheep. The farms were on another part of the island.

On our drive, our guide pointed out Boot Hill. At one point, one lone boot was found and put on a stake. Over the years, many other boots were added.

Boot Hill - Wander In Stanley Falkland Islands.jpg

The islands had a fascinating geology. It was explained that the Falkland Islands used to be part of the African continent. So many of the geological features were similar to sights we saw when we visited Africa. There were rough and ragged mountain peaks along the spine of the island.

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It was great to see more of the island on our drive to visit Bluff Cove Lagoon for penguins in Stanley.

Off Road To The Bluff Cove Lagoon

When we left the main highway, we drove along a rough road. On each side of the road we saw fields of large stones. This was called the River of Rocks (or Stone River) when Darwin visited the Falkland Islands. The stream of angular blocks of quartzite was said to be caused by freezing-thawing cycles. It was interesting to see accumulations of boulders with no finer material between them.

Stone River - Wander In Stanley Falkland Islands.jpg

Stone River.jpg

When we arrived at a parking lot at Bluff Cove Lagoon, we were transferred to small Land Rover jeeps in groups of four. The jeeps took us right to the penguins.

So Many Penguins At Bluff Cove Lagoon

We saw so many penguins at Bluff Cove Lagoon as we moved about the site. The first very large group of Gentoo Penguins ran about on the grass seemingly for our entertainment.

Bluff Cove Lagoon Gentoo Penguins - Wander In Stanley Falkland Islands.jpg

Bluff Cove Lagoon Gentoo Penguins - Wander In Stanley Falkland Islands.jpg

It was great that a group of King Penguins were still resident on the island and we saw them tending the young.

Bluff Cove Lagoon King Penguins - Wander In Stanley Falkland Islands.jpg

When we wandered to the cove, we found yet another group of Gentoo Penguins as they frolicked by the water.

Bluff Cove Lagoon Gentoo Penguins - Wander In Stanley Falkland Islands.jpg

We were delighted when we found so many penguins at Bluff Cove Lagoon. We just wished our visit was longer.

Plan To Wander Stanley Falkland Islands

It was great to have some time to wander Stanley Falkland Islands. It ensured we learned a little more about this area. And we were so happy we booked an excursion to visit Bluff Cove Lagoon for penguins in Stanley. We saw so many more penguins than we expected.

Our visit to the Falkland Islands was a great stop on our cruise around South America. We pulled anchor and headed next for a trip around the Cape Horn and a visit to Terra Del Fuego from Ushuaia in Argentina.

Did you wander in Stanley Falkland Islands? Or did you head straight out for an excursion?

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  1. I like that the Falkland Islands don’t appear to be very touristy, but laidback and unimposing. I remember hearing about the history of the war in the Falkland Islands when watching “The Crown” — too bad so many lives had to be lost defending them. Obviously the best part of visiting the islands has to be seeing the penguins. So cute!

  2. The penguins really win it for me! the Falkland islands are so fascinating and really look like a tiny piece of England in South America. The Penguin news and travel is so adorable, you had a great time in Stanley!

  3. I wasn’t aware that the seas can be so rough that many cruise lines can’t make it to the Falkland Islands. How lucky you were to be able to visit, when so few can say they’ve been to. Funnily I learned the most about Falklands from watching the Crown.
    I was surprise to read that there were more than 500,000 sheep on the island, and that there are close to a million penguins – how incredible!

  4. Wonderful post about the Falkland Islands, a destination that has been on my radar for a long time. I would not go on a cruise though, but try to spend one or two weeks travelling around. We met a guy in New Zealand a few years ago, who had been hiking for a few weeks there and it sounded amazing. Great penguin pictures by the way!

  5. I remember that Falklands incident when I was in school. It is really cool that you can see penguins there. I would love to see penguins in the wild, especially without the ice and snow.

  6. You had me at penguins! I love that you were able to see them running around playing, taking care of their babies and in the water. It sounds perfect. I wasn’t aware of the interesting history of Falkland Islands, thanks for sharing

  7. The Falkland islands is such a beautiful place to visit. Loved to read about the geological history of Falkland islands and how the quartzite rocks were formed to be called the River of rocks. Also pleased to read about the growing population of Gentoo penguins.

  8. Oh, I remember Malvinas War and I think Prince Andrew went to war there. Anyway, the island looks pretty and the penguins are just amazing. I also like the River of Rocks. It looks unique, just like the Boot Hill.

  9. Hahahaha – there she is, Ms Thatcher – and I’m old enough to remember her well. As well as the falkland war. I still find these enclaves like Ceute and Melilla, Gibraltar, or the Falkland Islands crazy – and causing a war is even tragic. When I was in Patagonia, it was very touching how present this scar is still there. In all the small places were monuments. I think in Europe, it’s totally forgotten.

    • I agree that it was well remembered when we were in Patagonia. And definitely sad that a war was fought over this spot so remote to the UK. But we were glad we finally got to see a bit of the Falkland Islands.

  10. Stanley is so adorable! If my kids saw these pictures, we would be booking a trip to the Falkland Islands to see the penguins! What an incredible experience! Thank you for sharing!

  11. Some of these little British outposts have a real charm to them and of course lots of history. At least the Falklands are easily accessible, weather permitting, unlike Pitcairn in the Pacific. That church was just gorgeous and the penguins must surely have been the highlight. So nice when you can explore a place at leisure without it being crowded or being hassled to buy stuff. Stanley feels like it has a lovely ambiance to it and I would love to visit the Falklands one day when we are in the South Atlantic region. Nice post.

    • I hope you do get to visit the Falkland Islands one day. We were glad the weather let us get in. The town visit was fun and the penguins were definitely a highlight.

  12. I wasn’t familiar with Stanley Falfkland Islands prior to reading your post. This was very informative and learned something new today. Looks like this is a great place to visit if nearby. How amazing you got to see penguins here. I’ve always dreamt about seeing penguins in person so I have to add this place to my bucket-list.

  13. That looks like a charming trip! I love penguins so much and the penguins at the Bluff Cove Lagoon look so adorable. I would love to be able to see them!

  14. Great article. I didn’t know the history of the Falklands. But I’d love to go there to see the penguins. They are wonderful. I have no idea that Bluff Cove Lagoon is a perfect spot for penguins.

  15. It looks like a great place to visit! I have never been to Falkland Islands, so I will add it to my list. I would love to see the penguins at Bluff Cove Lagoon.

  16. South America seems like such a mystery to me. This island really looks so much like Iceland or something, in landscape and architecture. It challenged what I think I know about Argentina, seems like a very diverse place. I would die if I saw one of those penguins up close too cute! Love the whale bone arch too.

  17. When I was growing up I remember watchingMaggie Thatcher talking about us at war with the Falklands and now it all looks such a lovely place to visit. Such a long way from anywhere and yet lots to see on the island. I’d love to see the penguins! It seems funny that all the British influences are still there and that microbrewery is a classic brewing London Pride!

  18. I’d love to visit the Falkland Islands! What a fascinating trip to learn about the nature of the island. I adopted a Falkland Island penguin for my partner, it would be an incredible experience to see them in person – thanks for the great guide!

    • Adopting a Falkland Island penguin sounds like a fun thing to do. So it would be fun to see where it hangs out! We planted a cacao plant on one trip and have often thought about going back to visit !! We were sure glad our ship got to land for this new discovery.

  19. What an exciting adventure! The history is fascinating and I didn’t realize it is part of Britain. It looks like a wonderful place to visit no matter the weather. The Boot Hill is hilarious and the penguins are so adorable! Seeing the different types of penguins and watching them interact would be the highlight.

    • We have indeed cruised to some of the most interesting places. But every cruise adds so many great spots like the Falkland Islands that we want to re-visit for a longer stay.

  20. I am sorry our South America cruise did not stop in the Falkland’s. It looks very interesting..a little bit of jolly ole England at the bottom of the earth. Looks like you had pretty good weather too, I have heard it can be pretty nasty. I hope to get there some day.

    • The weather can indeed be nasty to get to the Falkland Islands. So we were really happy when we got that stop. It was fun to do a good mix of things on our day trip.

  21. I think you were very lucky to be able to get to the Falkland Islands. I have heard that the port is often missed due to rough seas. And yes, I think Argentina does still believe the islands are theirs (I’ve talked to Argentinians and seen several memorials to the war in Argentina).

  22. I had heard about Stanley Falfkland Islands but didn’t know much about it. So it was nice learning the history and getting a great view. Watching the penguins from close would be so wonderful. These lovely birds have always fascinated me.The River of Rocks looks such a different site. And the drive to the Laggon looks so pretty. Love to be there sometime.

  23. Your picture of the penguins coming out of the water was so cute. I hadn’t thought about visiting the Falkland Islands before, but next time I head to South America I am going to try to visit and visit Bluff Cove Lagoon so I can see the penguins in their natural environment.

  24. Would love to see the penguins at Bluff Cove Lagoon and The Boot Hill is such a strange sight lol I haven’t heard much about the Falkland Islands before, but now I’m excited to visit!

  25. I recall the Falkland War so clearly. I would love to visit the Falkland Islands and see those places we heard about on the news at the time. It was a part of my history. I always think it seems odd when I see bits of the UK in other parts of the world – the buses, the phone boxes, the post boxes! Boot Hill would be high on my list of places to see too. Must not forget an old boot!

    • I am sure this would bring all that history to you. It was history I remembered very little about. But interesting to learn more from the locals. A fun reminder of UK.

  26. It seems that Falkland Islands are a special place to visit because of its British heritage, nature and because of penguins! I love them! Thanks for sharing!

  27. I’m glad the seas were smooth enough for you to visit. I’m struck by how “British” the islands feel in your photos. Must be a little strange to find a slice of the U.K. off of South America!

  28. I loved reading the history on Stanley Falkland Islands – so interesting. I’m dying over how cute the penguins are though! What an amazing experience.

  29. I remember vaguely reading about the Falkland Islands, maybe back in school while studying geography and I honestly don’t know anyone personally who has been there so it was exciting for me to read your post about Stanley. I would love to visit Bluff Cove Lagoon and see all those penguins there!

    • The Falkland Islands were just a historical spot for me too until we visited. We loved the chance to learn more about the country and of course could not miss the penguins!

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