In practise, however, if you want to spend any substantial time visiting the islands, the Falklands are only really accessible by plane.
|Cruise ship Veendam off Stanley|
|Expedition cruise ship, Plancius|
If you want a slightly more circuitous (but a bit cheaper) route to the Falklands your only option is to fly into Santiago in Chile, and then fly on to Mount Pleasant. There are several flights each day between Europe (mostly from Madrid) into Santiago, but only one flight a week (operated by LAN Chile) from Santiago to the Falklands. This flight isn’t direct, but includes a stop in Punta Arenas and sometimes an additional stop in Rio Gallegos in southern Argentina.
Overall this route takes longer than the direct flight route from the UK, and any costs savings are likely to be largely eaten up by the overnight stops in Santiago that are required in each direction. It is however a good option if you want to spend some time in Chile as part of the same trip. The flight via Rio Gallegos can get caught up in politics occasionally – the Argentine authorities have been known to claim that the flight between Rio Gallegos and Stanley is an internal Argentine flight. If you choose to leave the flight in Rio Gallegos en route from the Falkland Islands you could find yourself tangling with the immigration authorities when you do finally try to leave Argentina.
|Falkland Land Rovers|
|FIGAS at Sea Lion Island|
These local flights are, of course, prone to weather disruption so recommendations will also include advice to be flexible about your travel plans, and you will always be advised to get back to Stanley a day or two ahead of your flight out the islands.
For more about my trips to the Falkland Islands in 2009 and 2011, follow the links.
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