Five Island Circuit
November 11 - 28, 2021
Visit five 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, king, 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. Bleaker and Volunteer Point on East Falkland Island round out this complete Falklands wildlife experience.
- Visit five diverse islands: Carcass, Sea Lion, Steeple Jason, Bleaker, and East Falkland Islands.
- Two days and three 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.
Begin your journey early on our South Georgia and Antarctic Peninsula tour from October 21 to November 12, 2021. Spend six days on South Georgia Island and six days in the Antarctic Peninsula to see curious penguins and seals, icebergs, and more.
Itinerary Updated: November 2019
Print Trip Safari Options
|Nov 11||Travel to Punta Arenas, Chile.|
|Nov 12||Arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile from our South Georgia and Antarctic Peninsula tour or from home.||Hotel Cabo de Hornos, Punta Arenas, Chile|
|Nov 13-15||Fly to Stanley, Falkland Islands, and then fly to Sea Lion Island. Enjoy the most wildlife diverse island in the Falklands.||Sea Lion Lodge||B, L, D|
|Nov 16-18||Fly to Bleaker Island and spend two full days exploring Bleaker Island’s rockhopper penguins, imperial cormorants, and waterfowl.||Bleaker Island Lodge||B, L, D|
|Nov 19||Fly to Carcass Island. Discover Carcass Island’s variety of bird species.||Managers House, Carcass Island||B, L, D|
|Nov 20-22||Sail to Steeple Jason Island to explore the world’s largest black-browed albatross colony.||Steeple Jason Island House||B, L, D|
|Nov 23-24||Sail back to Carcass Island and continue to discover this island.||Managers House, Carcass Island||B, L, D|
|Nov 25-26||Explore Carcass Island before flying to Stanley for city tour and museum visit. Take a full day excursion to Volunteer Point.||The Malvina House Hotel, Stanley||B, L, D|
|Nov 27||Fly to Punta Arenas, Chile and connect to flights home.||B|
|Nov 28||Arrive home.|
Our Trip Leaders
Hugh has over 20 years of professional guiding experience and has been a key member of the Cheesemans’ Antarctica staff since 1998. 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 Punta Arenas, Chile
Arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile from our South Georgia and Antarctic Peninsula tour or from home. Transfer to your hotel for a free day to rest or explore this quaint city.
Fly to Falkland Islands, then fly to and explore Bleaker Island
Pick up your packed lunch at the hotel before you go to the airport to take the once-weekly flight from Punta Arenas to Mount Pleasant Airport in Stanley, Falkland Islands (not included in trip cost). Upon arrival, you will be greeted and transported to your flight to Bleaker Island.
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 is bordered with tussock grass where about 9,000 pairs of imperial (king) cormorants group together alongside 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
Sea Lion Island is one of the smallest in the Falklands archipelago (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 courting and laying eggs and scatterings of southern giant-petrels. Other birds you may encounter are South American snipe, rufous-chested dotterel, and the endemic Cobb’s and sedge wrens, small birds that have recently been afforded protection from the tall grass that reestablished 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 sand beach at the appropriately named Elephant Corner. 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 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, making 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
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.
Sail back to and continue to explore 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.
Fly to Stanley for city tour and museum visit and full day excursion to Volunteer Point
Bid the outer islands farewell and return to Stanley (the timing of your charter flight depends on weather and other flight schedules). With 2,000 people, 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. You may take a self-guided Maritime History Trail and find guidebooks in 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.
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 Punta Arenas, Chile to connect with flights home
Enjoy a free morning before you fly back to Punta Arenas, Chile to connect with your flights home.
Visit five different islands to see penguins, albatross, seals, and more.
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Cost & Payments
Costs (in US$)
|Type||Cost Per Person|
|Trip Cost, double occupancy||$10,350|
Costs are per person, double occupancy, not including airfare (except four internal flights in the Falklands listed as included), 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 tour.
|Payment||Due Date||Amount Per Person|
|Deposit||Due now to reserve your space||$500|
|Second||June 1, 2020||$2,000|
|Final||June 1, 2021||Remaining Balance|
Payments are 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: Stanley to Sea Lion Island, Sea Lion Island to Bleaker Island, Bleaker Island to Carcass Island, and Carcass Island to Stanley.
- Accommodations for the nights of November 12 through November 26.
- Meals from breakfast on November 13 through breakfast on November 27.
- Transfers from Punta Arenas Airport to Hotel Cabo de Hornos, regardless of arrival day, from Hotel Cabo de Hornos to the Punta Arenas Airport on November 13, and to the Mount Pleasant Airport on November 27.
- All airfare (except flights listed as included), airport and departure taxes, and excess baggage fees. Airfare is approximately $950–$1,300 between the US and Punta Arenas, depending on origin, plus approximately $820 for Punta-Arenas-Mount Pleasant-Punta Arenas flights.
- We can arrange extra hotel nights in Punta Arenas 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 tour.
- Emergency medical and evacuation insurance, but it is required for you to purchase. Read more about travel insurance.
- Trip cancellation insurance. Read more about 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 Form.
Daytime temperatures are generally 40–50°F (4–10°C) with almost constant wind.
This tour 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.
Unless listed as included, airfare is not included in trip costs. 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 as we are happy to assist you with any extra overnights that you might want to arrange.
Flights you (or a travel agent) book: Arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile (PUQ) by November 12. Depart Punta Arenas, Chile in the afternoon of November 27.
Flights we book for you: Flights between Punta Arenas (PUQ) and Mount Pleasant (MPN) on the once-weekly LAN Airlines flight. We’ll add the cost of this roundtrip booking to your final trip balance. Also,internal flights: Stanley to Sea Lion Island, Sea Lion Island to Bleaker Island, Bleaker 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 your travelmates 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 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.
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"Very well organised, helpful Cheeseman's staff. We had limited time to travel so we appreciated the short trip focusing only on the Falkland Islands. We like small group travel and really appreciated Cheeseman's not cancelling despite not filling all places. The small group was a real bonus. The wildlife and landscape were wonderful, we have always wanted to visit the Falklands and we were not disappointed. We loved the Hans Hansson and being on such a small intimate ship."