Six Island Circuit
January 23 - February 9, 2020
Visit six different islands, the best of Patagonia and Antarctica combined into one, to see penguins, albatross, seals and more. Trek through the most diverse wildlife habitats in the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas). Take in the abundant seabird colonies of the western Falklands including gentoo, Magellanic, and rockhopper penguins. Explore Sea Lion Island, the most species-rich site in all the Falklands with time to watch South American sea lions and observe orcas patrolling for unwary southern elephant seals. Witness Magellanic penguins as they ride the surf in to the beach and then waddle to their underground burrows. With two days on Steeple Jason Island, weather permitting, – a place very few have the opportunity to stay – you’ll have ample time explore on foot and to sit quietly alongside the black-browed albatross colony and watch as they take off, land, court, and preen each other. Pebble, Bleaker, and Volunteer Point on East Falkland Island round out this complete Falklands wildlife experience.
• Visit six diverse islands: Carcass, Sea Lion, Steeple Jason, Bleaker, Pebble, and East Falkland Islands.
• Two days and nights on Steeple Jason Island, weather permitting, for up-close views of the earth’s largest black-browed albatross colony.
• Discover the largest accessible king penguin colony outside of South Georgia along the turquoise waters of Volunteer Point.
Itinerary Updated: November 2018
|Jan 23||Depart home.|
|Jan 24||Arrive in Santiago.||Santiago Airport Holiday Inn, Santiago, Chile|
|Jan 25 - 26||Fly to Stanley, Falkland Islands. Full-day excursion to Volunteer Point.||The Malvina House Hotel, Stanley||B, L, D|
|Jan 27 - 29||Fly to Bleaker Island. Explore Bleaker Island’s rockhopper penguins, king cormorants, and waterfowl.||Bleaker Island Lodge||B, L, D|
|Jan 30 - 31||Fly to Sea Lion Island. Enjoy the most wildlife diverse island in the Falklands.||Sea Lion Lodge||B, L, D|
|Feb 1||Fly to Pebble Island. Explore its varied landscapes and wildlife habitats.||Pebble Island Lodge||B, L, D|
|Feb 2||Fly to Carcass Island. Discover Carcass Island’s variety of bird species.||Managers House, Carcass Island||B, L, D|
|Feb 3 - 5||Sail to Steeple Jason Island to explore the world’s largest Black-browed Albatross colony.||Steeple Jason Island House||B, L, D|
|Feb 6||Sail back to Carcass Island and spend the rest of the day exploring.||Managers House, Carcass Island||B, L, D|
|Feb 7||Spend the morning exploring Carcass Island, and then fly to Stanley for city tour and museum visit.||The Malvina House Hotel, Stanley||B, L, D|
|Feb 8||Fly to Santiago to connect to flights home or fly to Punta Arenas if continuing on our Antarctic Peninsula voyage.||B, L|
|Feb 9||Arrive home, or if continuing on our Antarctic Peninsula voyage, optional day excursions in Punta Arenas.|
Our Trip Leaders
Expedition and Trip Leader, Naturalist, Geologist, and Photographer, Hugh has over 20 years of professional guiding experience. The vast landscapes and incredible wildlife of Alaska and the Polar Regions are his subject and passion, evident in his inspired leadership and stunning professional photos. Hugh receives unending praise for his amazing knowledge, delightful and accommodating personality, and attention to every trip detail.
A glimpse into our journey
Arrive in Santiago, Chile
Arrive in Santiago, Chile. Transfer to our hotel for a free day to rest or explore historic and colorful Santiago.
Fly to Falkland Islands, then full day excursion to Volunteer Point
Jan 25 - 26
Take the once-weekly flight from Santiago to Mount Pleasant Airport in Stanley, Falkland Islands (not included in trip cost). Upon arrival, you will be greeted and transported to your hotel to rest and relax or wander the town of Stanley, capital of the Falkland Islands.
The following morning depart Stanley for a full day excursion. After a roughly 2.5-hr drive by Landrover, you’ll arrive at the white sandy beach and turquoise waters of Volunteer Point, a destination with almost a Caribbeanesque feel to it, but the king, gentoo, and Magellanic penguins will bring you back to the Falklands. Discover the largest accessible king penguin colony in the Islands, outside of South Georgia, containing approximately 1,000 adults. You may also find other wildlife such as long-tailed meadowlarks, austral thrush, South American snipe, South American tern, blackish and Magellanic oystercatchers, and upland, kelp, and ruddy-headed geese. Enjoy the spectacular scenery as you traverse the north of East Falkland.
Fly to and explore Bleaker Island
Jan 27 - 29
You’ll spend your time on Bleaker hiking along this small, wildlife-rich island, including Long Gulch, which is just one of a number of the dramatic inlets in the rocky cliffs. The top of the cliff-top is bordered with tussock grass where about 9,000 pairs of imperial (king) cormorants group together and are joined by a colony of about 750 pairs of rockhopper penguins, a Bleaker Island highlight. Other highlights you may experience are a gentoo penguin highway, Magellanic penguin burrows dotted across the island, and waterfowl at Big Pond.
Fly to and explore Sea Lion Island
Jan 30 - 31
Sea Lion Island is one of the smallest in the Falklands archipelago (just five miles long and just over one mile wide at its widest point), and the most southerly-inhabited island. The sheer abundance of wildlife makes it a must on any Falklands itinerary. Sea Lion Island hosts over 47 species of bird, including rockhopper, gentoo, and Magellanic penguins; you will be graced by some of the 2,800 breeding pairs of gentoo penguins with hatched chicks, and scatterings of southern giant-petrels. Other birds you may encounter are South American snipe, rufous-chested dotterel, the endemic Cobb’s and sedge wrens, small birds that have recently been afforded protection from the tall grass that has been allowed to grow after the removal of sheep from the island. The biggest attraction is the large number of southern elephant seals that breed here, principally on the white sandy beach at the appropriately named Elephant Corner. In January and February, the young pups and recently weaned are plentiful on the beach, making for great behavioral watching. South American (or southern) sea lions are found at East Loafers, and pods of orcas are also often seen circling close offshore (usually a treat for the early risers) attracted by the prospect of penguins and seals.
Fly to and explore Pebble Island
Pebble Island is the third largest offshore island and is home to the longest sand beach in the Falklands. Pebble was named in the 1760’s after the beautiful semi-precious pebbles that were discovered on its western beaches. The landscape of Pebble Island varies greatly from pristine beaches, moor lands, and rocky peaks to an extensive area of ponds and wetlands, and dramatic coastal cliffs. All of these provide vital breeding habitats for an incredible list of resident bird species. The deep ponds on the east of the island, many of which are within walking distance of the lodge, are home to Chiloe wigeon, silvery grebes, black-necked swans, and multitude of other wildfowl and wading birds. Thousands of gentoo, rockhopper and Magellanic penguins breed on Pebble Island each summer.
Fly to and explore Carcass Island
Lying to the northwest of the Falklands archipelago, Carcass Island is one of the most picturesque outer islands. In its 100+ years of habitation this island has had only three owners, all environmentally conscious, and an absence of cats and rats makes the luxuriant, well established hedges and trees an attractive home to many small birds such as the Cobb’s wren, black-chinned siskins, and austral thrush. The sandy beaches, rolling hills and low cliffs are superb platforms from which to view the multitude of birds that either breed or feed on and around this island, which include gentoo and Magellanic penguins, yellow-billed pintails, Falkland (or flightless) steamer-ducks, Magellanic oystercatchers, and striated caracaras. A growing colony of southern elephant seals can be found at the far north-west point of the island. Both the north and south of the island provide great hiking opportunities, taking in interesting flora, long white sand beaches (some good beachcombing), penguin colonies, and sheltered dunes which make great picnic spots.
Sail to and explore Steeple Jason Island
Feb 3 - 5
Weather permitting, sail to Steeple Jason Island. We will do everything in our power to get the group there, but rough seas can delay or cancel this departure. Steeple Jason is the outermost northwest island, now a reserve owned by Wildlife Conservation Society. Albatross are the main attraction, their nests thickly wrapping around the base of the striking island. More black-browed albatross nest here than anywhere else on earth, at least a quarter million birds! From a distance, the immense colony on the lower shores looks like freshly fallen snow. As you approach, you’ll see thousands of birds circling in the air and rafting on the water like tiny icebergs, and once ashore, maneuver through the tall, wispy tussock grass to arrive at the colony and experience albatross flying very close overhead.
Return to Carcass Island
Carcass Island is different from anywhere else in the Falklands. The active habitat restoration work, by owner Rob McGill, and lack of predation has created a breathtaking and beautiful environment. You will have plenty of time to explore this very special island with your leader or at your own leisure.
Return to Stanley for city tour and museum visit
Bid the outer islands farewell and return to Stanley (the timing of your charter flight depends on weather and other flight schedules). With a population of around 2,000, Stanley is the smallest and most remote capital city in the world. The city is built on a north-facing slope to catch sunlight throughout the year and looks across Stanley Harbor, with its wealth of seabirds and trickle of shipping boats. Stanley’s historical interest is associated with the great age of sail, when rounding Cape Horn was the most daunting nautical passage on the planet. Some of those ships still lie in the harbor, abandoned after a Cape Horn battering. A self-guided Maritime History Trail has been set up in Stanley and guidebooks are available from local shops.
Stanley depicts a new vibrant Falklands and is home to many successful businesses, with deep-sea fishing, tourism, farming, and most recently oil prospecting being the principle earners.
Depart Mount Pleasant Airport and transfer to international flights homeward in Santiago or to Punta Arenas if you are joining our Antarctic Peninsula voyage.
Visit six different islands, the best of Patagonia and Antarctica combined into one, to see penguins, albatross, seals, and more.
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Cost & Payments
Costs (in US$)
|Type||Cost Per Person|
|Trip Cost, double occupancy||$10,590|
Costs are per person, double occupancy, not including international airfare, singles extra. See Included and Not Included sections for more details.
We reserve the right to charge for cost increases that occur between when we set tour prices and the date of travel, for example, changes due to the cost of lodging and transportation. If you are a single traveler and you desire, we will find a roommate for you. If we cannot find you a roommate, we may charge you a single supplement fee. Single rooms are subject to availability and cannot be guaranteed throughout the safari.
|Payment||Due Date||Amount Per Person|
|Deposit||Due now to reserve your space||$500|
|Second||February 1, 2019||$2,000|
|Final||August 1, 2019||Remaining Balance|
Payments will be due based on the schedule above. All reservations require a deposit to confirm reservation of your space. For reservations made after a due date, all past payments will be due with registration. By sending your initial deposit, you agree to accept our payment schedule and cancellation policy as a contract. If payments are still outstanding two weeks after the due date, your space may be forfeited.
Until the Final Payment due date, deposits are refundable except for a cancellation fee of $150 per person, which can be applied toward another tour if reserved within six months of the cancelled trip’s departure date. Cancellations are non-transferrable. No refunds are given after the Final Payment due date.
- All leaders, transport, landing fees, and permits for all activities unless described as optional.
- Internal flights in the Falkland Islands.
- Accommodations for the nights of January 24 through February 7.
- Meals from breakfast on January 25 through lunch on February 8.
- Airport transfers on January 25 and February 7 between the Malvina House Hotel and Mount Pleasant Airport.
- Trip Materials – information about flights, packing, entry and departure requirements, airport transfers, gratuities, etc.
- International airfare, airport and departure taxes, and excess baggage fees. 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.
- Passport and visa fees.
- We can arrange extra hotel nights in Santiago for an extra cost.
- Gratuities – Tipping is, of course, discretionary, however we suggest budgeting about $200 total per participant for the lodge staff, drivers, sailors, and local guides throughout the safari.
- Emergency medical and evacuation insurance, but it is required for you to purchase. For more information see www.cheesemans.com/travel-insurance
- Trip cancellation insurance. For more information see www.cheesemans.com/travel-insurance
- Items of a personal nature such as laundry, telephone calls, medical costs or hospitalization, room service, alcoholic and other beverages, and items not on the regular menu, etc. If you have special dietary needs, please indicate them on your Reservation/Release Form.
Daytime temperatures are generally 40 to 50°F (4 to 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.
This safari requires the ability to hike moderate distances, perhaps up to three miles, with small elevation gains. To visit Steeple Jason, you must be able to easily get in and out of a Zodiac and climb over boulders while carrying your gear. You must be able to get into and out of a Landrover. Please contact us if you have any health concerns that may make this trip challenging.
International airfare is not included in trip costs, but internal flights in the Falklands are included. Detailed logistical information and the contact information for our recommended flight-ticketing agent are included in the Trip Materials we will send you. Please let us know if you are arriving earlier or staying later.
Flights you (or a travel agent) book: Arrive in Santiago, Chile (SCL) by January 24. Depart Santiago on the evening of February 8 for flights home. If you are joining the Cheesemans’ Antarctic Peninsula expedition, arrive in Punta Arenas by February 9.
Flights we book for you: Round-trip flights between Santiago (SCL) and Mount Pleasant (MPN) on the once-weekly LAN Airlines flights. The cost of this round-trip booking is not included in the tour cost and will be added to your final trip balance. We also book the internal flights from Stanley, Falkland Islands to Bleaker Island, Bleaker Island to Sea Lion Island, Sea Lion Island to Pebble Island, Pebble Island to Carcass Island, and Carcass Island to Stanley. The cost of these internal flights is included in the tour cost.
The accommodations vary among the islands and outside communication is limited. We cannot guarantee private rooms/baths in our lodging on Steeple Jason, as the lodging consists of three rooms with various group sleeping arrangements and two bathrooms shared with the other Cheesemans’ travelers and leader. Be prepared to help with cooking and cleaning, loading your luggage, etc.
Motion sickness is usually not an issue, but you have a full-day boat excursion, sail to and from Steeple Jason weather permitting, and fly on small aircraft. The key to avoiding motion sickness is to take action before you experience nausea. As with all medications, do your own research and consult with your doctor before taking any drugs (even if they are over-the-counter) and especially if you are taking other drugs. Read our suggestions for coping with seasickness at www.cheesemans.com/seasickness and contact us if you have any concerns.
You’ll travel by bus, Landrover, small boat, and small plane.
- Non-smoking policy: We have a strict non-smoking policy. Smoking is not permitted at any time or any place during our tours.
- Maximum time in nature: We try to spend as much time in nature as possible, sometimes resulting in long days but giving you a more in-depth experience.
- Itinerary route: The itinerary route, stops, and plans are subject to change by unforeseen circumstances beyond our control, such as weather or road conditions.
- Additional forms: For some of our tours, you may be asked to fill out additional forms (e.g., medical questionnaire).
- Medical conditions and travel risks: Travel to remote places is exciting, but it is important to understand and accept the risks, both medical and logistical. Minor medical problems can usually be treated, but because we are often far from medical facilities, there can be no expectation for immediate medical treatment or evacuation, even in cases of trauma. Anyone with health problems needing close medical supervision should not consider going on this tour. Bring enough medication for the duration of the trip for any chronic medical needs, since pharmacies are usually not available. When you send your deposit and signed Reservation/Release Form, you certify to us that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions that would create a risk for yourself or for other trip participants.
- Use of drones/UAVs on tours: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), AKA drones, are not suitable for use on most Cheesemans’ Ecology expeditions due to logistical constraints and in many cases, local and national laws or regulations. In some cases, such as on our polar voyages, we operate under environmental regulations that ban the use of recreational drones. Do not bring a drone on safari without contacting us first.