Start: October 21, 2020, RAF Mount Pleasant, Falkland Islands
End: October 31, 2020, RAF Mount Pleasant, Falkland Islands
Guide: Mike Reyfman
Price: From USD $5550
Described as “a photographic extravaganza”, Falkland Islands really have something for everyone. Wildlife is the most obvious theme and even without a telephoto lens, the birds and marine mammals make fascinating subject material. The opportunities are endless. Gentoo penguins carefully stealing nesting materials from neighbors; punk rockers of penguin world stylish Rockhoppers marching up and down theirs penguin highways; beautiful King penguins emerging from the water; Magellanic penguins peering from burrows; seabirds graceful in flight; a stunning Striated Caracara simply looking straight at you; huge Elephant Seals basking in the sunlight, lazily flicking sand with their enormous flippers; Sea Lions rearing their heads amongst the tussac grass;. With even the smallest zoom, birds and mammals are brought into sharp or fuzzy focus to create an amazing image.
This photo-expedition will be an unforgettable voyage and spectacular experience for photographers of all levels.
This is our first trip on such itinerary and we offer an INTRODUCTORY PRICE that won't be available in the future.
This exclusive expedition is designed for a strictly limited number of only 11 participants, and we kindly recommend an early booking to secure your spot.
Welcome to the place, where penguins outnumber people by the hundred-thousands.
Located about 300 miles (500 kilometers) off the coast of South America in the southern Atlantic Ocean, the Falkland Islands are remote, wild, and beautiful. They offer an ultimate birding experience with large, easily accessible colonies of some of the world's rarest and most enchanting birds. There are plenty of species for the amateur birder and the enthusiast alike. Best known for penguins, the antics of these birds never fail to delight both at sea and onshore. Majestic King, feisty Rockhopper, raucous Gentoo and shy Magellanic penguins are easy to find with the more elusive Macaroni penguin and even hybrids blending into Rockhopper colonies in some locations.
More than 70% of the world's population of black-browed albatrosses nest and breed in the Falkland Islands and the largest of those colonies can be found at Steeple Jason. Other striking seabirds include the southern giant petrel which also sweeps majestically along the shores, storm petrels and diving petrels. Rock cormorants and imperial cormorants breed in the Islands, skuas and gulls are plentiful, terns can be seen in some locations. Oystercatchers, plovers and kelp geese inhabit many shores.
These are just a few of the birds you will find on the Falklands. Endemic species are the Cobb’s wren, found on a number of small islands, and the Falklands’ Flightless Steamer Duck with its distinctive call. The striking Southern Caracara has colorful plumage but it’s the inquisitive nature of the Striated Caracara that will bring this bird to your attention!
The Islands are also home to sea lions, fur seals and the world’s largest pinniped, the elephant seal. Dolphins play in the surf and love to follow boats. Orcas are frequently seen along the coast, on the look-out for their next meal.
We are visiting in October - one of the prime months on Falklands. October is egg-laying time for Gentoo and Magellanic penguins. Rockhopper penguins, breeding King penguins and Black-browed albatross return, the latter laying eggs mid-October. This is one of the best times to see elephant seals as young are born and suckled.
During this trip, we will be exploring the north-west area of Falklands - the part of the archipelago that offers the most diverse wildlife experiences and at the same time is the most remote and difficult to access. Weather permitting we are planning to land on Pebble Island, Carcass Island, Saunders Island, West Point Island, New Island, Steeple Jason and Grand Jason islands. Wildlife experiences are guaranteed and with only a few visitors in many locations, the up-close-and-personal experience is second to none.
Volunteer Point is home to the largest King penguin colony in the Falkland Islands of over 2000 breeding pairs. You can also find numerous Gentoo and Magellanic penguins and a large variety of other birdlife, as well as boasting a long white sand beach on which you can occasionally find a Sea Lion lurking.
Pebble Island. Named for the attractive, unusual pebbles found on some of the beaches, Pebble Island offers a good mix of penguin colonies and Falklands War remains, as well as spectacular Elephant Beach, the longest beach in the Falklands at 6.4km long. It is an Important Bird Area with Gentoo, Magellanic and Rockhopper penguins; the latter occasionally interspersed with Macaroni penguins. The ponds and lakes in the east are home to waterfowl including the largest concentration of black-necked swans.
Carcass Island is a true gem, situated in the north-west of the Falklands. Named after a ship, HMS Carcass, the island is perfectly sized for exploration and has a variety of habitats, from sandy beaches to tussac grasses and rocky cliff tops. Magellanic penguins nests, gentoo penguin colony, elephant seals, imperial cormorants, night herons, and short-eared owls can be found on the island. Keep a wary eye on your belongings as the striated caracara, known locally as Johnny Rook, comes to investigate. Birds are amazingly tame. Southern caracara perch around the settlement, the endemic Cobb’s wren is easy to spot hopping along the shore, long-tailed meadowlarks regale you with song and the tussac bird will definitely find you. An Elephant seals favorite beach is located far from our landing points and we will contact a local farm to get a Land Rover ride.
Saunders Island. No Falklands itinerary would be complete without a visit to Saunders Island and its main feature – The Neck. The Neck is named for the broad sandy beach lying between Mount Harston and Mount Richards. This location boasts a diverse array of seabird species and spectacular landscapes. Gentoo and king penguins nest on the beach in between the mountains. Extensive Magellanic penguin burrows and predatory caracaras can be found on the grassy hillsides. There are also Southern Rockhopper penguin rookeries plus more Black-browed albatross nest areas. Sunsets are particularly spectacular, as the setting sun’s rays bathe the Gentoo colonies on the beach with warm golden hour light.
West Point Island is situated off the north-west tip of West Falkland. It was initially named Albatross Island due to the thousands of nesting black-browed albatross. West Point Island has spectacular scenery and impressive wildlife. The “Devil’s Nose” is a rocky promontory with dramatic sandstone cliffs, where rocky ledges and areas of tussac grass are home to black-browed albatross and rockhopper penguins.
New Island. Ruggedly beautiful and remote, New Island is located at the extreme west of the Falklands’ archipelago. Dramatic cliffs contrast with sheltered sandy bays and natural harbors. Over forty species of birds breed on New Island including four species of penguin. Thin-billed prions are a highlight along with skuas, striated caracara and peregrine falcons. The rockhopper colony is located at the top of seacliffs several hundred feet above the ocean, in a small bowl-shaped depression. Black-browed albatross and imperial shags (cormorants) are mixed in and around the colony as well. To the right of the colony, cut through the cliffs, is a gully that runs steeply down to the water. It is a way for rockhoppers to pass from the sea to their colony above. There is also a picturesque shipwreck on one of the sand beaches.
The Jason Islands are located in the extreme north-west of the Falklands’ archipelago, towards Patagonia. This small group of islands, named after the survey vessel HMS Jason, forms a rocky-ridged chain with some of the most breathtaking scenery and wildlife you can imagine. Names include “Steeple”, “Grand”, “Elephant” and “Flat”, conjuring alluring and romantic images.
Steeple Jason rises steeply from the shore to a series of dramatic rocky peaks, the highest at 290m (952 feet), with an isthmus separating two main areas of land. The island is a haven for bird lovers. Here you will find the world’s largest colony of black-browed albatross, beautiful birds who soar gracefully on the sea breezes, occasionally performing a clumsy landing onshore. Amongst the albatross are rockhopper penguins and king cormorants. Striated caracaras nest nearby along with skuas, both aggressive in the breeding season. They may even come to you! Similarly, respect the breeding areas of southern giant petrels, the largest of all petrels. These magnificent birds also fly elegantly along the shoreline but are quick to leave nests if disturbed, exposing their young to the predatory caracaras and skuas. Gentoo penguins breed on the island along with many small bird species. This tiny island is remote, even by Falklands standards, and it isn't easy to get to but we will give it a try.
We built this itinerary trying to make our Falkland expedition effective yet affordable and will concentrate our efforts on North-West part of the archipelago. In our opinion, the selection of islands that we are planning to visit represents most of Falklands' incredible wildlife potential. Our passage will depend not only on our desires but also on the current weather conditions and we will be very flexible to make the most of our time spent on Falklands.
The main connection to Falkland Islands is the LATAM flights to Mount Pleasant airport in the Falkland Islands from Santiago, Chile (on Saturdays) and from Sao Paolo, Brazil (on Wednesdays). In most cases, you will need to stay overnight in Santiago or Sao Paolo. We can recommend you the travel agent from Falkland islands and she would be happy to provide you with the recommendation and bookings for all your flights.
Arrive at Sao Paolo international airport (GRU). Our recommended hotel is TRYP (Transit Hotel São Paulo Airport). This Hotel is located inside the INTERNATIONAL DEPARTURE TRANSIT AREA at Terminal 3. Guests with international trips will have access to the Hotel, STRICTLY under the following conditions: Guests DEPARTING in international flights must have on hand the boarding pass (flight check-in via web applicable), and only carry hand luggage. Check with your Airline about the advance to accept the baggage as access to the International Departure is not allowed with baggage to be checked.
We board the early morning LATAM flight to Mount Pleasant airport in the Falkland Islands. After a brief landing in Cordoba (Argentina), we continue the flight to Mount Pleasant international airport in the Falklands. Upon arrival and clearing customs, we will be transferred via SUVs (about 3-hours bumpy ride) to Volunteer Point - home to the biggest King penguin colony on the Falkland Islands. We are planning to arrive early enough to have our first photo-session here at sunset. Accommodation in tents. Tents, sleeping bags, mats, and meals are included.
We'll spend the whole day from sunrise to sunset In Penguins Kingdom.
After another morning with the Kings we'll be transferred to the New Haven, located on the East Bank of the Falkland Sound an will embark on our home for the next week - expedition ship MV Hans Hansson.
After landing at Pebble Island, we will sail to Saunders Island. After lunch, we will do long, late afternoon landing on The Neck. Back after sunset. Dinner. Night at anchor.
Please note: The whole itinerary is tentative. We will evaluate current weather conditions and do our best to make this trip as interesting and productive as possible.
For the next five days, we will be exploring the north-west area of Falklands - the part of the archipelago that offers the most diverse wildlife experiences. Weather permitting we are planning to land on Pebble, Carcass, Saunders, West Point, New, Steeple Jason and Grand Jason islands.
Today, after morning landing on one of the islands we'll sail back to New Haven. We will have a final dinner, pack for tomorrow's flights and spend the night alongside the Jetty.
Transfer to the airport with an optional visit to Darwin Cemetery/Goose Green. Return flight @ 14:55.
*Airfare is approximately $800–$1,200 round trip from the USA to Santiago, Chile, plus approximately $1,200 for the Santiago and Mount Pleasant round-trip flights.
**Tipping is discretionary. However, we suggest budgeting around $15 per participant per day aboard the Hans Hansson ($100 total per participant).
Book the tour on-line » and after our confirmation make a deposit payment;
Registration is completed when World Photo Travels (WPT) has received the initial payment of US$ 2000 per person along with a signed booking form.
The final payment must be made on or before May 23-rd, 2020. The entire participation fee shall be paid in full within ten business days in cases where registration is completed later than May 23-rd, 2020.
Special conditions for booking cancellation
WorldPhotoTravels reserves the right to cancel an itinerary before departure for any reason whatsoever, including too few participants or logistical problems such as strikes, wars, acts of God, or any other circumstances which may make operation of the trip inadvisable. All trip payments received will be promptly refunded, and this refund will be the limit of WorldPhotoTravels liability. WorldPhotoTravels is not responsible for any expenses incurred by trip members in preparing for the trip, including non-refundable or penalty-carrying airline tickets, special clothing, visa or passport fees or other trip related expenses.
*The full refund will be issued if we/you will find a full-paying customer taking over your spot.**We understand that unforeseen circumstances may force you to cancel your participation in our trip. Please let us know as soon as possible if you have to cancel and we will try to find replacement on your spot.
Participating in this voyage does not require a high level of physical fitness, but please be sure that you can:
Once on shore, you can walk for short or long distances - it is up to you. Landing details will be given in advance of each landing.
Don't let a fear of seasickness scare you away! For all but the most sensitive, seasickness is rarely a problem in this region. It’s a good idea to bring medication if you get seasick or are unsure, but you may find that you do not need it after a couple of days once you have your “sea legs.” Even those who have experienced seasickness reported that the incredible wildlife and overall experience were well worth the temporary discomfort.
In the Falkland Islands, average temperatures range from nighttime lows of about 35°F (2°C) to daytime highs of 50°F (10°C). Wet, penetrating cold is not usually a problem, but you will need to protect against almost constant wind and sea splash, especially when riding in the Zodiacs. In Santiago, the average temperatures range from nighttime lows of about 45°F (7°C) to daytime highs of about 75°F (24°C).
Entry to the Falkland Islands is controlled by the Customs and Immigration Department of Falkland Islands.
All travellers must hold a visa except the following:
1. Travellers with Falkland Islands Status with passports or any other official certificate endorsed 'Falklands Islands Status'.
2. Travellers with British passports endorsed:
2.1. 'British Citizen,' or
2.2. 'British National (Overseas),' or
2.3. 'British Overseas Territories Citizen' showing place of birth as 'Stanley' or another place in the Falkland Islands'.
3. Citizens of the European Economic Area member countries, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Israel, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Paraguay, San Marino, South Africa, Switzerland, Uruguay, United States of America, or Vatican City.
4. Travellers with passports issued by Hong Kong (A Special Administrative Region of China).
5. Travellers with a permanent residence permit issued by Falkland Islands
6. Travellers with International Travel Documents issued by the International Committee of the Red Cross
7. Travellers with a 'Laissez Passer' issued by the United Nations.
8. Travellers with a written authorization issued by the Government of Great Britain, the Falkland Islands Government or a British Consulate.
Accommodation and food options on the Falkland Islands are somehow limited therefore as a mobile base for our trip we will use a small exploration ship, MV Hans Hansson.
It will also provide us with great flexibility as no booking of on-land accommodation required and we can build our itinerary according to weather and wildlife current conditions.
Built in Norway in 1960, Hans Hansson was a rescue vessel for 35 years, assisting more than a 1,000 vessels and saving 161 lives. Refitted to accommodate guests in comfort, Hans Hansson is a working boat with a personality all its own. As a small exploration boat, it boasts the unique ability to reach special, out of the ordinary destinations that are otherwise inaccessible.
26.m long, HH can comfortably take up to 12 passengers and 6 crew and has all necessary equipment and inflatable boats for landings and exploration.
Accommodating just 12 passengers, sailing aboard the Hans Hansson is a delightfully intimate and flexible adventure experience.
Due to the expedition nature of this trip and the vessel size, we cannot accommodate a 100% vegan and gluten-free diets as meals are all prepared together in one small area. Lunch is usually vegetarian, but dinner is usually non-vegetarian (usually containing meat or fish) with a vegetarian side dish. As long as you are happy separating from the main dish the food that you don’t like, and you are aware that all meals are prepared on the same galley with the risk of contamination with gluten, you’ll be fine, and our chef will do his/her best to make you feel at home!
For the accommodation on board, we have four Twin cabins and two Superior cabins. All cabins have upper and lower berths. Twin cabins are smaller and share two WC and showers. Superior cabins are bigger and have private WC and a shower.
Cabins are assigned on the "first-come, first-choose" basis.
To register for the tour please fill the form below. We will notify you about the availability and payment options. If there are no available spots, your registration will be automatically placed to the waiting list.