Reed Travel Features
WASHINGTON DEPOT, Conn. -- The Falkland Islands Tourist Board is
making a concerted effort to attract tourists and has appointed
Tread Lightly to represent the islands' interests in the U.S.
tourist market. In addition to promoting the islands, the
Connecticut-based tour operator also will assist agents with
commissionable FIT arrangements for their clients' travel to the
Falklands, a visit that can be combined with itineraries in
Patagonia and the Chilean Lake District. Additionally, Tread
Lightly scheduled a Falkland Islands tour, starting on arrival at
Mount Pleasant Airport Saturday, Jan. 31, and departing the
following Saturday, Feb. 7, for the Chilean mainland.
Audrey Patterson, director of Tread Lightly, is known for her
travel products that feature nature and cultural eco-friendly tours
and travel arrangements to many Latin American countries.
Frequently a speaker on many aspects of sustainable tourism, she
described the Falkland Islands as "perhaps the next Galapagos:
undiscovered, unpolluted, abundant with wildlife." Only 300
visitors came to the Falklands last year, said Patterson, including
65 from the U.S. Another 6,000 cruise visitors came, but she said
"brief shore excursions miss the heart and soul of the
According to Patterson, the islands (some 700 of them) are
virtually uninhabited. There are 1,800 residents in the town of
Stanley, and 341 people --mostly sheepherders -- living in the
countryside and on 15 inhabited islands. She added that there is no
poverty, litter, traffic lights or violent crime in the Falklands
but neither are there any fast food restaurants and travel is by
Land Rover on gravel roads. Most important to travelers, of course,
is that the Falklands are a haven for penguins --there are five
species, including the majestic King Penguin -- as well as sea
elephants, seals, dolphins, whales and innumerable birds.
Getting to the islands means leaving the mainland on Saturdays
when Lan-Chile operates the one commercial flight a week serving
the Falklands airport at Mount Pleasant (code MPA). The flight
departs from Santiago, Chile, and makes intermediate stops at
Puerto Montt and Punta Arenas, returning on the same routing.
On the seven-night Tread Lightly tour, clients will spend the
first night at the Blue Beach Lodge on San Carlos and the next day
will visit Fanning and Rabbit Islands, which feature abundant
wildlife populations. In the afternoon, tour members will fly to
Port Howard in the West Falklands, a sheep town of 30 inhabitants,
where there will be nature hikes, a visit to a museum devoted to
the British-Argentine war, fishing for those who want to try and
golf -- nine holes -- for others.
On Tuesday, travelers fly to Sea Lion Island, spending two days
on this most southerly inhabited island in the Falklands that
serves as a nesting ground for 47 bird species, including all five
penguins. From Sea Lion Island, onward travel to Stanley for two
nights is by air, and accommodations are at the Malvina House
Hotel. During the stay here, there will be a full day Jeep tour on
Friday, visiting several wildlife sites in the area. Lan-Chile's
flight back to the mainland departs at 6:15 p.m. on Saturday.
The price per person, double occupancy, is $1,295. This includes
all accommodations, transfers, dinner on arrival and all meals
except on Fridays and Saturdays in Stanley, tours and local air
aboard Figas. Air from the U.S. to Chile and from Chile to the
Falklands is not included. The roundtrip cost is $610 to $700 from
Santiago to Mount Pleasant, $420 to $490 from Punta Arenas to Mount
Pleasant. For further information, call (860) 868-1710.