The Falkland Islands (FAQs)

We have found that we often get many questions when we reveal where we live. These are, of course, quite understandable and the information below is intended to address the most common questions that people have asked us about our home:

 

Where are the Falkland Islands? The Falkland Islands is a remote archipelago consisting of over 700 islands lying approximately 150 miles off the coast of Argentina and 600 miles north of the Antarctic peninsular at 51° south.

How do you get there? The easiest way for civilians to get to the Falklands is a twice-weekly 18-hour Royal Air Force flight from RAF Brize Norton to Mount Pleasant Airport (commonly called the ‘Airbridge’). It can be booked through the Falkland Islands Government’s London office, but at £2200+ per person return it isn’t a cheap option! LATAM also fly to/from the Falkland Islands each Saturday from Santiago & Punta Arenas in Chile (again, not cheap options but cheaper than the Airbridge). At the time of writing, LATAM are also in the process of starting a second flight to South America which flies to Sao Paulo, Brazil. It was promised to be cheaper. Time will tell. For complex political reasons, Argentina demands that the flights to the Falklands stop in one of its airports once per month, so it is also possible to fly from Rio Gallegos (or Cordoba on the upcoming 3rd flight) if you time it correctly.

Stanley from the Islander

How many people live there? There are approximately 3,300 people living in the Falklands. The vast majority of those live in the capital city, Stanley (often incorrectly called Port Stanley), with several hundred living in remote outer settlements or on outer islands (locally referred to as Camp).

What is life like there? Just as this would be a difficult question to answer if you asked it of anyone, it’s not easy to describe life in the Falklands easily. Some words we might use would have to include but would not be limited to: windswept, wild, safe, relaxed, close-knit, surprising, bizarre, frustrating (at times), surreal, beautiful and unforgettable. Everyone will, however, have their own views and, like so many places, it’s fair to say it helps to be of an outgoing/adventurous mindset to live here.

What is the landscape like? It varies! The landscape of the Falklands can often look bleak as it has no native trees, but the rolling countryside, windswept coastline and hilltops adorned with weathered quartzite  rock make for a wild and pristine landscape. Often you can’t see any signs of human influence as far as the eye can see in any direction. The large West Falkland island tends to be slightly drier with more rolling hills, the outer islands have their own distinct looks and the lower half of East Falkland (Lafonia) is remarkably flat!

Who owns the Falkland Islands? The Falkland Islands have been claimed by many nations and private enterprises over the years (France, Spain and Argentina among them) but they have been under continuous British rule since 1833 (with a brief 74-day interruption in 1982).

Does Britain rule over and pay for the Falklands then? In short: no. Thanks to their small population and impressive wealth, the Falkland Islands are entirely self-financing and self-governing (they have a democratically elected government of 8 Members of the Legislative Assembly). The UK Government does take care of the Falkland Islands’ Foreign Affairs through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the UK Ministry of Defence does pay for the RAF base at Mount Pleasant to defend the islands.

Are there native people? Like, who lives there? Unlike mainland South America, there was no native population in the Falklands so the current inhabitants are all either descendants of immigrants or immigrants themselves. Consequently, although the majority of the population speak English and have British roots, there is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural population in the islands. At the last census, over 60 different nationalities are identified in the islands.

What do most people do there/what are the main industries? Economically speaking, the majority of the Falklands’ GDP comes from fishing, with tourism (and oil exploration) making up recent significant additions to the islands’ budget. Traditionally, sheep farming (mostly for wool but also some meat) was the islands’ main source of income. Although farming is still a strong part of the island culture, its percentage of the Falklands’ GDP has diminished drastically in recent years. As for jobs, the largest employer in the Falklands is the Government, who need to employ people to run all aspects of a modern society. They employ everything you could reasonably imagine them needing: doctors, teachers, skilled tradesmen, accountants, policy advisors, farming specialists, fisheries observers, a harbour master, water engineers, police, magistrates etc.

Why have I heard of the Falkland Islands? Most people will have heard of the Falklands as a result of the 1982 conflict. Britain and Argentina fought a short but bloody war over the islands following the illegal occupation of the islands by Argentina. The War changed everything for the islands the consequences are still very much alive today. There’s a tab at the top of the page you might want to look at, as well as numerous posts from us about the War throughout the blog.

What brought you there? See the ‘about us’ page. In short: jobs and personal interest.

What’s the best thing about living there? Probably the wildlife: it is PLENTIFUL (with around 500 penguins to every person living here ) and has evolved without a fear of humans so it’s possible to get close to species that you would otherwise never expect to encounter in the wild: 5 different species of penguins, elephant seals, sea lions, fur seals, whales, dolphins (including orca/killer whales – yes, they’re dolphins), albatross, vultures, hawks and so many other incredible birds.

Hopefully this has addressed the main questions that you might have about the Falkland Islands, but if you do have others then please don’t hesitate to comment below or on any of the blog posts (we’ll usually email you back privately once you comment for privacy reasons).

2 thoughts on “The Falkland Islands (FAQs)

  1. David I agree that it is not appropriate to mention your teaching. It was lovely to have Hannah here on Thursday and Naomi, Tasha,myself, Dad and Matthew all manged to see her. We had lunch down at the Harbour which was nice. Hannah will soon be joining you. I have written this reply once and lost it (not sure how that happened). Tasha is away to Tenerif until Thursday. Hannah Bailey has returned to London today so lots of people journeying. I will be going to Lourdes tomorrow so I will add further next week. Meanwhile enjoy Stanley and try not to drive yourself too hard or the children you are teaching. Love Mum

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